They say there really is an app for everything - and now after using my smartphone to find, book and pay for a gardener, I’m entitled to agree.
Following a successful launch in the US, TaskRabbit recently arrived on British soil, promising to be your one-stop-shop for domestic chores. From rubbish removal and gardening, to heavy lifting, flat-pack furniture building, and even waiting services for house parties, TaskRabbit has workers (or Taskers, as they are known) to help you with just about anything.
I used TaskRabbit to help dig up my garden and remove a large quantity of weeds and roots. The app showed a handful of takers in my area of South West London willing to do the job for between £15 and £18 per hour. I picked a tasker called Michael, selected a date and time, and sent a short message explaining what I’d like him to do, along with a photo of my garden.
It’s a remarkably simple processes, and on the other end of the system is the tasker’s app, which alerts them whenever their services are requested. They can then either accept a task, or reject it; unwanted tasks are then offered to other taskers in the local area.
Payment is made by credit or debit card, but only once the task has been completed. A few hours after Michael left, the app told me he had charged the agreed price of 2.5 hours of work plus £9.50 for expenses (weed killer and a watering can).
TaskRabbit claims full-time taskers can earn up to £3,200 per month, and Michael (wearing a green TaskRabbit-branded t-shirt) told me that every tasker is ID-verified and goes through a face-to-face interview with the company before being allowed onto the app. TaskRabbit takes a 20% cut of whatever rate the tasker charges.
The app itself is simple and easy to use, with each category of ask easy to find. When you pick a task a number of taskers are offered, each with a photo, along with their name, hourly rate and availability. Each profile also includes ratings of their previous work.
TaskRabbit’s concept may at first seem unusual - hiring dinner party staff through an iPhone app, for example - but the process is incredibly simple, intuitive and above all else it feels trustworthy - especially important when inviting strangers to your house.
From the customer’s view, TaskRabbit is a quick and easy way to get household chores done when you perhaps don’t have the time or expertise to do them yourself. For the taskers, it acts as a useful money-earner. Michael told me he uses money from TaskRabbit to cover his bills while looking for acting work.
The only downside for now is a lack of available taskers. I saw Michael right away, but he had taken himself offline to cover a backlog of jobs before I had time to hire him. It was several weeks before he reappeared, but once more taskers arrives on the scene, the app will be even more useful.
TaskRabbit download link