Fatema is the founder of SmartGiggles and a technology writer living in San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter @FatemaYasmine. Fatema is the founder of SmartGiggles and a technology writer living in San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter @FatemaYasmine.
Not everyone can afford a maid or a full time assistant. But most of us have certain tasks that we would pay for others to do, either because we don’t like it or because we can’t do it.
TaskRabbit is a service that allows you to outsource your personal tasks. It was founded in Boston by husband and wife team Leah and Kevin with the help of their dog Kobe.
Some users create tasks (TaskPosters) others register to do the tasks (Runners). Once you have a task that needs doing, like having your dog walked or your laundry done, you post it on the site stating how much you are willing to pay. Runners can offer a counter offer or bid with lowering prices (reverse auction).
Runners and TaskPosters have profiles with reviews and ratings on the site which is good for getting to know who you could be working with. Additionally Runners undergo rigorous security screening with a phone interview and a background check. Despite safety concerns (many users invite strangers to their homes), more than 80 percent of customers return for repeat tasks.
Once a suitable Runner and offer has been accepted the Runner completes the task and gets paid via the website.
I recently tried the service to find someone to transcribe an audio file for me:
There were many questions asked and the price I was offering was bid down from $60 to $40:
I then cancelled the task, which was very easy to do and unlike other services such as Mechanical Turk I wasn’t charged.
There is also a RabbitReward card, post three tasks that are completed and get the third task free.
A number of my friends are using this service regularly to get their laundry cleaned and some startups in San Francisco are using it for administrative and marketing research tasks. I will be using it next to help find someone to organize my wardrobe.
TaskRabbit is currently available in Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. It will soon be coming to New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Portland and Seattle.
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