TaskRabbit.com: The Digital Errand Boy

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Online service provider TaskRabbit is getting a lot of attention these days for two reasons. The site, which essentially allows busy Americans to outsource their errands, sells convenience, which consumers love. Moreover, it’s providing many unemployed Americans with a supplemental cash flow.

In fact, 70% of the site’s 300 runners are unemployed or underemployed, TaskRabbit’s Chief Marketing Officer Anne Moellering told The Christian Science Monitor.

“A lot have lost their jobs, or had their hours reduced, and are using us as a way to supplement their income,” Moellering said.

Through TaskRabbit, people who have extra time on their hands sign up to run errands for those who don’t. For example, if Sally needs her dry cleaning picked up, but is stuck home with a sick child, she can enlist the help of a local “runner” for a pre-arranged fee (usually about $15-$20). The site calls this “service networking.”

Tasks range from picking up groceries, to walking a dog or assembling IKEA furniture.  The site streams a list of tasks currently being performed so you can get a easily get a better idea of what their runners are up to. Monday’s tasks, for example, included an airport pick-up, a PowerPoint tutorial and a window cleaning. One client also needed “nine phone calls made,” while another was looking for a runner to track down a particularly hard-to-find bridal dress.

Currently, these errands are only being performed in  Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area, but founder and CEO Leah Busque is looking to expand. New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles are all possibilities for the next location, which users are voting for via the site’s Facebook page.

Prospective applicants in these cities should get their resumes ready since TaskRabbit does vet its runners. Applicants must interview and undergo a full background check before they can start assisting clients—and they’re only allowed one mistake, which might explain why every runner on the site has a five star rating so far.

Busy bees, on the other hand, can use the site immediately. Just sign up and provide basic contact information. According to the site, tasks typically get a response within 30 minutes so it won’t be long before someone else is checking things off of your to-do list.

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