Get paid for face-time: launch of the ‘Uber’ for freelance professionals and tradesmen

9 May

Picture the scenario : you are stranded suddenly with a dinner party emergency, or your boiler has exploded, and you need to consult an expert right away. But although google has managed to put the entire world at our fingertips, tracking down a professional to give their reassuringly expert opinion, face-to-face, is a little more difficult and time-consuming.

Or maybe you want some face time with your therapist while they are on holiday; maybe you want to get some legal advice without paying the prohibitive rates charged by a corporate firm. Plenty of paralegals are fully equipped to give an initial legal consultation.

Hence, 121with, the video conferencing platform with a difference. Seekers of services can upload their card details, before browsing the listed profiles of professional service-providers by their chosen keywords. ‘Why, it’s little more than a skype call that you have to pay for,’ one invitee interjected at the launch event.

Well no, the founders patiently explained. On 121with, payment takes place automatically, almost immediately after the video call has finished. In a real-time payment system similar to Uber’s, the transfer goes through, via Stripe at a rate of T+4 (seconds), which is the UK standard. Moreover, there is a minimum charge of 50p per second, incentivising service-providers to make sure every second counts.

The advantages of the 121with system are obvious and manifold: stress, hassle-free payments, saving administrative costs on invoice issuing and bank transfers; no travel costs; and finally, the platform can act as a productivity boost to existing businesses, which may be “set in an hourly or half-hourly charge mindset”, exhorts Joint Managing Director Tom Stokely. “We think 121with is going to shake that up a bit.”

The site is live now, and 121with is looking for ‘affiliate’ partners for initial profile listing, as the platform’s pioneer professionals will be carefully screened for quality and value for money.

But it is hoped the system will become to an extent self-regulating through the organic growth of the market, as poor quality or overpriced offerings will attract negative customer reviews and fail to compete. There is also, naturally, an arbitration process offered between seeker and provider if a refund becomes necessary.


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