TaskRabbit round-up

by Heather Flett on October 16, 2011

in Link love,We Love It (For Mom)

Have you ever been stuck in a house (with a napping baby, perhaps) and wished you could run a quick errand? Or been super sick and willing to pay any amount of money for someone to make you dinner? If yes, then TaskRabbit is for you. It’s a way to outsource things you don’t have the time or skills to do yourself. Post a task in their web-based system or through the mobile app and someone near you will bid on the job.

Whitney and I took TaskRabbit for a pretty thorough test drive over the past thirty days and are ready to share our experience. WARNING: I will use the word “rabbit” a lot in this post; that’s what the task-doers are called.

Probably the craziest one I tried was to ask a rabbit to build me this simple puppet theater (from an online tutorial shared by Marie via babble). Because the project is intended to be a quickie DIY craft, it was ridiculous to pay someone a heap of money to do it for me. I turned a $9 project into a $60 one. Who would do that? The upside is that the seamstress rabbit had superior skills did a great job. And my kids love it.

Here is the laundry list (ironically, we never had anyone do our laundry!) of the various tasks that Whitney and I outsourced this month:

  • Pick up food from our favorite restaurant and bring it to Whitney’s house during our weekly editorial meeting: For three people, it was a hefty surcharge for lunch; however, I’d do this again for a larger group like a mom’s group or family gathering.
  • Dig up plants and weeds in my yard: Score! The guy whose bid I accepted did a great job with minimal instruction. I highly recommend getting a rabbit to dig up your garden.
  • Late-night grocery run: Whitney said the guy was thorough and thoughtful, but since he couldn’t guess what acceptable substitutions were, it required 2-3 texts and phone calls for a 30 minute errand.
  • Shopping at Michael’s to kit out my craft supply box based on a wishlist I provided (inspired by Whitney and a sock puppet experiment to be shared later).
  • Research and data entry: a good way for a home-based mom to have access to an administrative assistant. If you’re a room parent at preschool, you might want to consider this.
  • Distribute promotional postcards: Our rabbit was personable and did a great job of passing out postcards for us to let a neighborhood know about our local website. Win.
  • Mount some kid art for hanging: Rabbit Laura did a fantastic job preserving my children’s artwork for the walls.
  • Obtain frames for family photo wall: This rabbit did some creative layout work then purchased all the frames. She gave me several choices and I picked my favorite. Because my husband didn’t want any random rabbits in our house, he hung them up. Now, I just need to fill them.
  • Sell/donate books: purging tasks are pretty straightforward. She contacted the local places for selling and donating hours and made it happen.
  • Ship a box to Ohio: Having a rabbit mail one single package was a dumb waste of money. If I had a trunk-full at the holidays, it would be worth my money to get someone to haul them to the post office and ship them off. As it was, I just doubled the cost of sending a box.
  • Assorted household repairs: Whitney had a rabbit repair and paint over some parts of her house that were driving her nuts. Lesson learned: Be sure to specify what tools you have and what they need to provide. Also? Neither of the repairs stuck.
  • Sell assorted items on Craig’s List or eBay: The lesson here was that it’s only worth outsourcing this for high value items, or else you’ll be paying the rabbit more than the income you earn from the sale.
  • Safely dispose of expired medicines, electronics, and old paint: I appreciate the rabbit clearing out my junk in an environmentally responsible way. Of course, once she cleared away the crap, I found more of it.
  • Run errands in a specified shopping area: Whitney felt most successful when she condensed several errands to a geographical location and positioned the task as “Run errands on Solano Avenue”. Then she listed the things she needed accomplished – dropping off her sewing machine for repair, taking tricycles to a consignment store, dropping an old stroller off at Goodwill.

Two tasks that bombed:

  • Hang shelves: Whit has some shelves of unknown origin to be hung. She doesn’t know what tools are needed (nor does she want to know); she wished a rabbit would just handle it, but nobody bid on such an amorphous task. Her husband is hanging the shelves this very moment.
  • Source and build sweet jewelry boxes: speaking of amorphous, I posted the task to find thrifted components and build not one but two of these and we got no bids.

We had a super fun time thinking of things we could hire out and maybe got a little silly with our assignment to test it out. I even had someone mail a package for me, agreeing to pay them more than the value of the gift. But hey, I have a newborn baby to care for, and that’s a task I can’t outsource.

Want to try it yourself?
All Rookiemoms readers can save $30 on any task with promo ROOKIEMOM on TaskRabbit.

Now that you’ve seen our crazy list, are you thinking of tasks you’d be willing to pay someone else to do? What are they?

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TaskRabbit provided website credit to us in exchange for testing their service and giving our honest opinion back to you. Here you go!

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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