Uber for cheap labour (TaskRabbit)

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Hey everyone!

This is a small piece of my landing story that I thought best to share on a separate post. Maybe it can help someone out.

I arrived in Toronto in January 2019, knowing that it will take some time to find a job. Maybe I get lucky and I land something quickly? However, I did not want to leave it up to chance so I Googled “odd jobs Toronto” or something like that so see what I could find. I came across dog walking and grocery store packing jobs. But dog walking will require building up a customer base and I did not want to be locked in to a full-time 8-5 at a grocery store. But I did stumble across an app that made my arrival in Toronto a LOT easier. It is a handyman take on the new wave of mobile marketplace apps. Uber for cheap labour in short. TaskRabbit!

You set your availability and skills on the app and this allows people to book you based on your profile, skills, hourly rate and availability. Minimum is $15 an hour for very basic stuff like waiting in line (no jokes) to $35 for heavy lifting and help moving. But you set your own rate and you can increase the rate if you have a car or some special skill that makes you stand out. The only category where you have a different pricing model is Ikea furniture assembly. But more on that later.

To get started you sign up and go through a security background check before you get an email that runs you through some educational videos of how to use the app and set up your profile. Once the security background check is done and you have completed the training, you are ready to start tasking. Because I didn’t have any ratings or reviews, I kept my availability open on the app 24/7. If a customer wants to hire someone, they specify the date and time they want to do it and select from the people who are available.

There is also something called Same Day Tasks for when jobs need to happen on short notice. That is probably how you will get your first job on TaskRabbit. So keep your availability up to date.

Depending on the job you can earn anything from $15 for a single job of one hour, to $350 on a good day. It all depends on you. And the good thing is that TaskRabbit does not take a cut. You set your rate and that is what you get. The price they advertise to clients is based on your rate + their hourly percentage markup. And they charge a client a minimum of one hour. Some jobs only required me to help move a couch for 5 minutes and you still get paid a minimum of one hour.

Back to the Ikea category.

You will quickly learn that Ikea has a monopoly on affordable home furniture in Canada. They keep prices low by making everything self-assembly. But the assemblies require more than just an Allen Key. They therefore decided to buy out TaskRabbit and use them as their in-house furniture assembly team.

As mentioned, the pricing model works slightly different. With Ikea you get paid per assembly and it increases based on the complexity of the assembly. The amount of time you get “scheduled” for is also based on the job complexity. But until you get familiar with the assemblies you will take longer than the scheduled time. But don’t fear. Soon you’ll be assembling beds with storage in two hours flat. And then move on to the nightstand and two chests of drawers that the client bought with that.

To do the Ikea category you need some basic tools. Invest in a basic set and some fasteners and you will quickly make back your money. Check on the Home Depot website for basic tool and drill combos. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive. Just enough to get the job done.

All else that I can say is that I signed up at the end of January and I kept doing it till the end of June. Not sure how many taskers there are but they only started in September 2018 in Toronto and the client base will keep on growing. They are all over the US and have expanded to other cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and so on.

And if you are not happy with TaskRabbit there are similar apps out there that you can try out.

If people like you they often like to use you outside the app because it is cheaper for them. After a couple of months I made enough between the app, private clients and additional odd jobs to cover rent and living expenses. So this helped me not to dig too deep into my South African savings.

One last thing; I actually also used the app to network. The app is mostly used by middle class and above because they have some money to throw around. And more often than not they are educated and have contacts in industry. SO, when they hear that you are actually an engineer, accountant or any type of professional, more often they offered help or a reference if you want to apply at the company they work at. And in the end I got a job offer through one of my clients. Didn’t end up taking it but it can happen to you.

Hope this helps some people out.

Good luck and happy tasking!

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