Websites like Craigslist and StubHub can help you find just about anything you need online. There are websites that share our text messages, tell the world about our embarassing moments, and just say 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 she needed to buy food for her dog, Kobe. Thinking about poor, hungry Kobe, a lightbulb went off in her head. With her ever-trusty iPhone, Busque registered the domain name RunMyErrand.com. Now, the business model she concocted in her head in the backseat of a cab has evolved into a full-time job and the Next Great American Startup, TaskRabbit.com.
Along with their peers in LA, San Francisco, Orange County and NYC, Boston-based Millennials can use the site to get their errands done, and 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, free steps, you can 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 them.
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. (That's also how you reimburse them for any expenses incurred 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 clean records, and TaskRabbits go through a rigorous application process before they can have any tasks assigned to them.
So far, TaskRabbit’s reviews in Boston are 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.
Would you use (or have you used) TaskRabbit? Share your thoughts and reviews in the comments.
By Lauren Gotimer -- Whiskey-drinking, beer-loving, Irish Catholic. A coffee addict addicted to her iPhone. Loves spending days enjoying fine arts and the outdoors before being pampered or watching whatever game happens to be on. 2008 Bentley graduate, livin' in good ol' CT whilst pounding the Manhattan pavement. Find me on Twitter: @LaMarGoti.
The author is solely responsible for the content.