See how the company's "elite taskers" earn big money doing other people's errands
Moving is the worst. Yard work is the worst. Building IKEA furniture is the worst.
You have probably said one or more of these sentences at some point or another. And therein lies the business model for TaskRabbit, a web platform launched in 2008 that specializes in connecting people who need chores done with people willing to complete them.
Consumers in markets where TaskRabbit operates—19 U.S. metro areas and London—simply have to enter information about the task at hand, pick a date and time slot to have it done, and select from a short list of people who are oddly willing to schlep your stuff, rake your yard, or build your unpronounceable shelving unit.
Most of us hate running our own errands, let alone other people’s. So what’s in it for the 30,000-odd people who’ve signed up to be Taskers? A flexible workday is one perk of the job, according to Jamie Viggiano, vice president of marketing for the company. She notes that 60% of Taskers come to the platform wanting to be in control of their own schedules
Oh and then there’s the money, which isn’t half bad. Taskers set their own rates and those who fully commit to the platform, roughly 10% to 15% of them, can earn $6,000 to $7,000 a month, according to Viggiano.
We spoke to three of the company’s “elite taskers” to see just what it takes to earn those big bucks, the perks and pitfalls of the job, and the goofiest tasks to which they’ve subjected themselves.
Location: San Francisco
Tasker Since: 2014
Why He Started: I had a friend staying with me, and he got a job with TaskRabbit. He was always coming home every day bragging about it and wanting to show me things on his app. So I decided to close down my petition management company and start working for TaskRabbit instead.
Hours: I typically spend half the week living and working on my boat in Napa, and the other half in the city completing tasks.
His Rate: $150 an hour for any kind of job; he’s willing tackle most types of TaskRabbit jobs, from shopping to carpentry and construction.
How Much He Makes: My first week, my take home earnings were $1,500. Once I realized I could do it, I started to average a little over $2,000 a week, or $6,000 to $7,000 a month. I think I can do even better than that, too.
Craziest Job: I got paid $70 an hour to fold t-shirts for a start-up company. They were supposed to come folded, and the company was desperate to get them folded before an event. It taught me that if someone is desperate enough, they’ll pay what they need to pay to get people to help.
Best Job: The first time I got a hug from a client was amazing. I don’t remember what the task was, but it was something that was easy for me and just overwhelming for the other person. Also, the first time someone fed me. A lot of times when a task goes long, you have to clock out to go get food. This client just realized I’d been working for a long time and they brought me a sandwich. I’ve dealt with a lot of really nice people doing TaskRabbit.
What He Likes About Being a Tasker: I have the freedom to do everything I want to do. I live on a boat, and I started doing a major maintenance project on it. I can’t imagine getting a job and within a month or two pulling the boat out of the water and undertaking this project. Also, there’s always a last-minute friend gathering, and not every job can accommodate that.
What He Doesn’t: Not having any kind of backup if something goes wrong, but TaskRabbit does offer different perks from insurance groups they’ve aligned themselves with. Also, I kind of miss having coworkers. But you do end up experiencing and learning a lot of things from this diverse crowd of people you’d never normally meet.
Location: New York City
Tasker since: 2012
Why He Started: I had just lost my job in the finance industry, and a friend mentioned that he read about this website TaskRabbit in an article. Originally, I started to work with them as a way to have a little extra cash coming in.
Hours: About six hours a day, but it depends how long the tasks take. Jobs normally run two hours, and I try schedule two to three a day. I try to stick to Monday through Friday, but recently extended through Saturday.
His Rate: $25 an hour for events and $60 or $65 an hour for heavy lifting tasks and furniture assembly; $80 an hour for moving. I bought my own van and raised my hourly rate because I have to pay for gas and tolls. But it pays off; no one has a car in New York City!
How Much He Makes: I can make about $500 to $750 a week. When I really push hard, I can make close to $4,000 a month.
Craziest Job: Stroller bouncer! I had to stand outside of a school for one to three year olds and tell the nannies and moms where to park their strollers. I did it for eight days. I felt like a bouncer, like I was outside of a club. It was like, “If you guys don’t move that stroller, I’ll have to kick you out!” The looks I got from the nannies and affluent women were something to behold.
Also, I also picked up some admin work, but the company didn’t really need administrative assistance. They just needed people to sit there, so when clients left the building they wouldn’t walk through an empty room.
Best Job: One time I helped a girl move at eight at night. Whatever setup she had arranged cancelled on her. She posted to the platform that she, her mattress and her stuff were on the street, and she needed some immediate help. Within a half hour I was there, picked her up and helped her move. She was like, “You really, really helped me out tonight. You don’t know how much this means.”
Also the heavy lifting for some of my… seasoned clients. If I called them old, they’d hit me! When you’re in someone’s home, helping them out, it’s rewarding. You’re building things for people that actually matter. I’ve built dollhouses for children, and the child would come out and have a look that just says, “Yay! Thank you!” Those are the jobs that put a smile on my face when I’m walking away.
What He Likes About Being a Tasker: The ability to work when you like and setting your own hourly rate really gives you control over your day and the amount of money you make. I’ll never go back to a 9 to 5.
What He Doesn’t: The only downside would probably be the same downside as all independent contractors – a lack of benefits. But I’m married, so I get them from my wife.
Location: San Francisco
Tasker since: 2014
Why He Started: I was looking for something with a flexible schedule, and something that I could start and stop easily if I needed to. I’m waiting for an internship in the medical field to start, and I wanted something I could easily stop when it kicked in. I’ll still do a little on the side. I can go to an internship in the morning, then do TaskRabbit on evenings and on the weekend.
Hours: In an average week, I work 25 to 30 hours. Most days I set my availability from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but sometimes I set it 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
His Rate: I adjust it based on the skill needed to complete a task. I tend to do a lot of furniture assembly and minor home repairs. For that I charge $35 to $45. When I’m a personal assistant it’s $26 and product testing is $25.
How Much He Makes: I average between $500 and $750 a week.
Craziest Job: I’ve done some pretty cool tasks. I helped out at a media event for the opening of a park by Union Square in San Francisco, and I got to meet the mayor.
Best Job: I had one where I actually got to help a guy propose to his girlfriend. There’s an outlook that has a really good view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was on the phone with him and able to set up a blanket, pillows and a bottle of champagne. And she said yes, so it worked out for everyone! I also did one not too long ago where I delivered flowers. It’s neat because you get to see the person enjoy the experience right then and there. I kind of look for tasks like that, where you can bring about really good customer service to the person.
What He Likes About Being a Tasker: I definitely think some of the benefits are flexibility in schedule and flexibility in pay. TaskRabbit is a good company and they take care of their employees. You don’t feel like you are out there by yourself; you feel like you have someone backing you and supporting you.
What He Doesn’t: There are some things I don’t like about the app, but nothing major.
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