Need to clean your apartment, but feeling lazy and not looking for a full-fledged maid service? Maybe you’re moving soon and need to round up some boxes, but don’t want to beg local store managers yourself. Enter TaskRabbit, a startup that puts people looking for odd jobs in touch with users like you who need help doing just about anything. I first read about the web-based service in the July issue of Wired, but I needed to wait until mid-September for the service to make its way to Chicago so I could give the iPhone and iPod app version a try.
I logged in to TaskRabbit using Facebook Connect — the app allows for plenty of exploration without signing up — and was presented with a spinning wheel of options for creating jobs. The TaskRabbit app is definitely more geared toward task creators than for TaskRabbits (what the company calls its workforce) finding work. If you have a job that needs doing, you select a category from the wheel — such as cleaning, food delivery or shopping — then enter your specifications — like location or if you’ll provide supplies, a deadline and the amount you’re willing to pay. If you don’t want to type in all of your details, you can submit a voice file or images to illustrate your job. You can set the app to automatically pick a TaskRabbit for you or you can assign the job manually after reviewing offers.
TaskRabbit runners are thoroughly vetted by the company so job submitters should feel a bit more secure in the help they’re getting as opposed to the truly random selection they might find from a similar Craigslist posting. If you’re curious about what other tasks are available in your area, you can check the “browse tasks” tab, which displays available assignments as pins on a map of your surrounding location.
In addition to Chicago, TaskRabbit is currently available in Boston; Los Angeles; Orange County, Calif.; New York, and San Francisco.