South Africa’s automotive gig economy is seeing an uptick in activity thanks to tech startups like Screan, an innovative digital platform that connects prospective used car buyers and dealerships with second-hand car inspection experts nationwide.
According to statistics 3.9 million South Africans already participating in the gig economy providing much needed income and employment for individuals who may face challenges in finding traditional full-time employment, such as those in rural areas or with limited access to formal job markets.
While the gig economy is nothing new what has changed is that technology is now enabling more widespread, flexible and on-demand work opportunities that both companies and individuals can benefit from. Statistics SA’s employment outlook has found that temporary employment rose from 2.6 million in 2017 to 3.9 million in 2018, and after taking a substantial knock due to the pandemic it is now making a comeback.
The online used car sales market has disrupted the traditional dealership model by changing the way people buy and sell used cars. With approximately 11.2 million vehicles in circulation in the country, the number of used vehicles is still more than double the number of new vehicles.
“There is so much opportunity out there for qualified car mechanics to make extra money by offering their services. Unemployment is at crisis level and by connecting these men and women to used car buyers I know we can contribute to putting food on the table for many families who are struggling.” says Mike Schlebach, CEO and Founder of Screan.
Screan launched in 2022 after Schlebach became the victim of a scam while attempting to buy a new family car. He says that Screaners are crucial to the used car market not only because it saves the public money and lots of headaches, but they also help to solve the greater problem of consumer trust and transparency.
Like other popular online marketplaces for digital giggers like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com or TaskRabbit in the US, Screan is hoping to impact the gig economy in South Africa on a massive scale having recently partnered with AutoTrader who attract over six million viewers to their platform yearly. Because Screaners are based all over the country they can visit a car at its location making the purchase process far more accessible.
While the high unemployment rate continues to hinder our country, many experts believe that as technology advances so will the gig economy. It can only positively contribute to the country’s economic growth and increase the overall labour force participation rate relieving more people from poverty.