My latest for TNGG, as originally published here, and subsequently on boston.com too!
With websites such as Craigslist andStubHub, we are able to find just about anything we need online. We’ve come up with websites to share our text messages, tell the world about our embarassing moments or just tosay we’re average, so why not a website to get our errands done? That’s just what Leah Busque did.
Three years ago, Busque was headed to dinner with her hubby when she realized that she needed to buy food for her dog, Kobe. Thinking about poor Kobe being hungry, a lightbulb went off in her head and she had a plan. With her every trusty iPhone, Busque registered the domain name RunMyErrand.com. The business model concocted in her head in the back seat of a cab has evolved into a full time job and the next great American start-up as TaskRabbit.com.
Millennials have been using the site to get their errands done in LA, San Francisco, Orange County, Boston and New York City (many more cities are soon to come). It’s not surprising that average users are the 25-35-year-old set, because in three easy and free steps, anyone is able to post an errand and find someone to get it done — and yes, there’s an app for that!
Step One — Post a Task
Since we’re not all mind readers, describe the task, specifying where the “TaskRabbit” will need to go, what they will be doing, if they need to spend any money while doing it (which you will reimburse them for later), and most importantly, how much you are willing to pay someone else to get it done.
Step Two — Mission Complete
A TaskRabbit gets assigned to your task and works with you to get it done. After you post a task, TaskRabbits put in offers to complete your task and state how much they want to be paid, kind of like bidding. TaskRabbit then assigns a Rabbit to your task to get it done for a price that pleases everyone.
Step Three — Time to Pony Up
Once your task is done, you need to pay your TaskRabbit. Instead of paying the person who completed your errand, you pay the company by credit card and then the TaskRabbit gets paid by the site. (And it’s the same way you reimburse them for any expenses during the task.) In addition to paying the person who did your task, TaskRabbit charges a service fee (usually 15% of what you are paying the runner) for their administrative costs.
When I first heard about the site, I was skeptical. Why would I pay a stranger to do my errands for me? I mean, I usually ask my parents to do my errands for me if I can’t get them done while I’m at work (I know, I know…). Plus, the Craigslist rapist popped into mind. But TaskRabbit wants to be sure all of their TaskPosters are safe, so they do a background check (via SSN, name and address) to make sure they have a clean record, plus TaskRabbits need to go through a rigorous application process before they can have any tasks assigned to them.
So far reviews for the site are mixed. Shanza B. of San Fran says that “TaskRabbit is pretty much the best” while Jimmy D. wasn’t thrilled with the whole process and thought it was too confusing. TaskRabbit’s reviews in Boston are equally as mixed; some like having their unwanted jobs done for them, while others seem to have tasks that have gone undone. Reviews aside, even with background checks and all, I’m still creeped out by a stranger doing my errands for me.
What about you? Would you use TaskRabbit? Or have you? Tell us in the comments!