As the new head of the Chicago office of SpaceWays, an on-demand self-storage company, I have become much more in-tune with many of the other on-demand startups around the city.
In fact, there has been such a boom of these companies that Chicagoans rarely need to leave the house anymore (a truth for which we are all grateful during our -30 degree wind-chill days). Led by pioneers like GrubHub, Chicago is a hotbed for companies that deliver meals, groceries, clothes, cleaners, and even dog walkers, at a moment’s notice.
Here are some of my favorite Chicago-based on-demand startups:
1. Buku Now (@BukuNow) - https://www.bukunow.com/ - BukuNow takes its name from the Creole saying buku, which means many – very fitting indeed. The company is an all-in-one on demand service provider. Users can book car rentals, limo rides, lawn care – even a chimney sweep – instantly.
2. Dryv (@DRYV_Chi) - http://dryv.com/ - Dryv is perfect for when it hits you that you don’t have enough clean shirts to make it to Friday. It is a dry cleaning and laundry service with same-day pickup that can have your clothes back to you within 24 hours (so you can stop relying on Febreeze and an iron to make your “dry clean only” items look fresh).
3. ParkWhiz (@ParkWhiz) - http://www.parkwhiz.com/ - We have great public transportation in Chicago, but sometimes driving is a necessity, and parking in this town is a nightmare. Thankfully, ParkWhiz makes it easy for drivers find the right spot at the right price without driving around endlessly.
4. Schlep (@schlepit) - http://www.schlep.it/ - Schlep describes itself as “Your Neighbor With a Truck,” and that couldn’t be a more accurate description. Schlep connects people who need to move a few bulky items with a “Schlepper” who owns a truck or van. Schlep has a thorough vetting process, including background checks and in-person interviews.
5. Stylisted (@TheStylisted) - https://stylisted.com/ - I may not need a blow-out or a makeup artist, but I understand how important a service like Stylisted could be to someone who does. It lets women book in-home hair styling and makeup appointments, tapping into a network of beauty professionals. Women no longer have to rush from salon to salon to get ready for big events like weddings, proms or big parties.
6. Urban Leash (@Urban_Leash) - http://www.urbanleash.com/ - Going out of town for a last-minute getaway and don’t want to take the pooch? Urban Leash wants to be your first call. Dog owners can order up a dog walker on-demand from their smartphones. Urban Leash makes sure your pets are being taken care of, and the site even has a “meet the walker” section so you can see who’s walking your furry family member.
7. Whittl (@WhittlApp) - https://www.whittl.com/ - With everything on a busy Chicagoan’s plate, it can be challenging to eke out the time to find and book personal care appointments. The way Whittl works is twofold: it helps its users book everything from dog groomers and manicures, to fitness classes and dental exams, and it organizes appointments so you don’t miss that crucial teeth whitening or haircut before your next big speaking engagement.
Chicagoans by nature have a strong work ethic with incredibly busy schedules. And because life is unpredictable, it becomes challenging to get things done. I'm sure at least a few of the on-demand companies above will make your life easier - so why not join the on-demand revolution?