Outsourcing Your To-Do List
By Tracey Dowdy
Though it’s been around since 2008, I was recently introduced to the world of TaskRabbit, a site that connects your to-do list with available to-doers in your area. Got a refrigerator that needs a good cleaning? Gutters that need to be cleared? Music that needs to be cataloged? A basement that needs organizing, a dollhouse to be assembled, a dog walked, groceries delivered or help moving a piano…you get the picture. If you have a list of things that you’ll eventually get to – I’m looking at you, baby albums – chore sharing or outsourcing those jobs may be the answer.
Of course posting on a site like Craigslist is always an option, but it’s difficult to know if the individual you’re hiring is who they say they are. Credentials, resumes, references, and past clients are easy to fake and sometimes difficult to verify. These sites are reputable and have done the homework for you.
Once you sign up, just let TaskRabbit know what chores you need done and they will match you with a fully-vetted “tasker” in your area. Rates are posted with each profile with a minimum one-hour fee charged. Once the task is complete, you pay online so no cash is involved. All jobs are fully insured and you can cancel at no charge up to six hours before the task. If you cancel inside that six hour window you’ll be charged for one hour of work. Customer service is available 24/7, so you’re never left hanging if you run in to an issue or have a problem. TaskRabbit is currently available in 18 cities nationwide with plans for expansion.
Agent Anything carries the tagline “Do less, accomplish more” and helps you accomplish that task by outsourcing your to-do list to local students. Simply post what you need done, set your price, choose from the offers that come in and pay once the job is done. You can choose to award the job to the first person who responds or review the profiles before making your choice. You also have the option to allow the agent (student) to make you an offer. Once you’ve made your choice, Agent Anything runs your credit card but the amount is on hold until the task is complete. Past jobs include everything from beta testers for start-up companies to running errands for seniors. Available in New York and New Jersey.
Zaarly connects small businesses and local independent contractors with home owners looking to get home improvement projects done. Jobs can be as small as fixing a broken hinge or as big as putting in your garden. Each small business has been screened for quality and customer service and is regularly evaluated to ensure standards are maintained. Users browse the list of experts, choose the one that best meets their needs, clarify the project by answering a few questions and generally receive a response and a quote within three hours. Payment is secure – neither Zaarly nor the service expert you hire can see your credit card and the card isn’t charged until the job is complete. Zaarly even offers a message platform so you can chat and share photos with your expert. Available in Austin, Denver, Kansas City and San Francisco.
Thumbtack connects you with professionals who will do everything from hang pictures in your den to redecorate the entire room, help you move across town, plan a birthday party for your six year old or train your dog to sit. Tell Thumbtack what you’re looking for and they’ll match you with local service providers who will then send you a quote that includes a price estimate, customer reviews, contact information, a personal message and their business profile so you can have confidence you’re making the best match for your needs. Best of all, Thumbtack is available in all 50 states.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.