A market segment Apple has overlooked?

  • Avatar

    Posted: 01 May 2010 09:08 PM

    I am in serious sleep debt this week, and it’s my cat’s fault. The other day the hot water cylinder blew its element, so I called the plumber around (good bloke, he turned up just a couple of hours later, apologising for the delay!). He pottered around up in the ceiling for a while, and the cat took the opportunity to climb up to check things out. Then she decided she liked it up there, miaowing and knocking into things in the middle of the night,  and didn’t come down for a couple of days, insouciant as ever.

    Kell The Plumber (no relation to Joe) came back the next day to finish things off. While we were chatting, his wife rang and he whipped out his iPhone. I expressed surprise, because he’s a long-time Telecom NZ user, and this was a Vodafone phone.

    He explained that recently he had been having trouble keeping his quotes and invoices up to date, because he was having to spend too much time on them and not enough time on the job, and he and Karen didn’t want to go to the expense of hiring an office worker. He’d recently looked at a really good invoicing/job costing package and was prepared to spend $5,500 on it - the payback time would probably be about a year.

    At the same time his old phone crapped out. Instead of going into the Telecom shop, he wandered into Vodafone in Porirua instead. The chap there showed him the iPhone he was lusting after, but wasn’t very good at explaining it in a business context - however he was bright enough to send him off to another store which had a business specialist.

    30 minutes later, Kell was in the Johnsonville shop with his shiny iPhone in his hand. “So, what’s an app then?” ?seconds later? “Oh, I see - that’s simple. How do I get new ones?” ?seconds later? “Cool. I like that. Umm - are there any invoicing ones?” ?seconds later? “That’s exactly what I need - but how much is it?” Shop chappy points at the screen. “What? $6.50?”

    So now Kell goes out on plumbing jobs, shows his phone to his customer with the charges, they agree that that’s a good deal so he sends them the invoice or quote via email on the spot. And he’s saved $5,500.

    Signature

    Laurie Fleming - the singing geek

    @LaurieFleming

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 02 May 2010 08:42 PM #1

    Cool!

    I’m thinking the $5500 app was a bit more than he needed.

    Signature

    Mac switchers see my profile for switching help…

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 02 May 2010 08:56 PM #2

    I think it’s volume. I’ve worked for small s/w companies in the past where that sort of price (in $US around $3,500) wouldn’t be out of the question. A bespoke quality job-costing/invoicing package with support, written by a local company which is trying to recover costs, could come in at that sort of price. From what Kell was telling me about it, it did appear as though it was a very good package.
     
    On the other hand, Apple’s App Store, with its much wider audience, can sell many more copies worldwide. As long as the parameters can be localised sufficiently (taxes, measurements etc), there’s little limit on where it can be sold.  This can be seen as possibly not such a good thing, because it can put a lot of pressure on the local software company. The difference then is in the delivery model and the services that the smaller local company can provide.

    Signature

    Laurie Fleming - the singing geek

    @LaurieFleming

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 11 May 2010 08:29 AM #3

    What was the $6.50 invoicing app?

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 11 May 2010 07:36 PM #4

    Invoice2go - it was the first on the list!

    And I misremembered - it’s $13.99, not $6.50.

    Signature

    Laurie Fleming - the singing geek

    @LaurieFleming

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 11 May 2010 10:52 PM #5

    $13.99????

    Robbery!  wink

    Signature

    Mac switchers see my profile for switching help…