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I love waiting in line at the post office — said no one ever. Enter TaskRabbit. Through the popular online marketplace, you can hire a freelance worker to help you with everyday tasks like mounting a TV to a wall, cleaning your bathroom or waiting in line for you at your favorite Sunday brunch spot.
Business is booming for TaskRabbit. Founded in 2008, the company has grown to include more than 60,000 “Taskers” (those who are available for hire). My friend Andrew recently tried to sign up to be a “Tasker,” and wasn’t able to because Los Angeles already has so many.
So how can you be an ace Tasker? Here are some tips from full-time Tasker David Cordova on how to make a decent living on the platform.
You can land the easy gigs anyone can do — greeter, line stander, grill master — but as with any job marketplace (like Upwork), those lower-barrier-to-entry jobs are saturated, competitive and generally don’t pay much.
Instead, figure out what gigs people are willing to pay a premium for in your area. When Cordova, who works in New York City, first joined TaskRabbit in 2014, he started out with a bunch of different tasks, such as administrative work, cleaning houses and occasionally picking up lunch for Wall Street workers. But after doing it for about a year, Cordova found New Yorkers were willing to pay a premium for movers.
“Clients in New York didn’t have friends who could take a day off,” said Cordova, who charges $100 an hour for moving services (TaskRabbit takes a 30% cut). “Moving in New York was a pain. It costs so much money. Nobody has a car. Plus, it’s a transient city. People and businesses are moving all the time.”
To up his TaskRabbit game, Cordova bought a cargo van, moving blankets and dollies. While before he could only haul, say, a bed and a couple of bags, he now had the equipment to move not just people, but small offices too.
Especially if you’re starting out, you can’t only do one thing, said Cordova. While it helps to have experience, you don’t have to be a seasoned pro to qualify for some gigs. Let’s say you want to be a mover. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be capable of lifting things. And let’s say you’re working an event. If you can take decent photos, don’t be shy using your basic skills to snap pics for the hosts.
There are a lot of different jobs on TaskRabbit. Narrowing down is essential, said Cordova.
“You don’t have to get a niche, but know what you can, can’t and won’t do,” said Cordova.
No matter what the job is, your client will be the one to make it easy or hard, said Cordova.
“The clients are trying to get things done,” said Cordova. “And some of them don’t care where you came from, or where you’re going. You need to take ownership of your time.”
Because they’ve hired you for a certain amount of time, they may want you to go beyond what you signed up for. Be sure to set clear boundaries ahead of time. For instance, if you’re putting together Ikea furniture, let them know you’ll put the table together, but you won’t lift or move it.
What if a client requests something you don’t offer? Don’t be afraid to politely push back. You can let them know you have tasks after theirs to which you’re committed, and don’t have the time for additional tasks, Cordova said.
To optimize your skills and potentially get hired for several gigs from one client, think of complementary tasks. For instance, if you offer moving services, related services are assembling furniture or mounting fixtures to walls. If you’re going to be a server at a private party, can you also set up and strike the event? By grouping related tasks, you can land a bunch of gigs, and rake in more cash that way.
Personal branding is an important part of being a successful Tasker. Since you’re essentially selling yourself, said Cordova, make sure you have a professional headshot.
Positive reviews are crucial. There’s a lot of people who may have never hired someone for a task before. They’ll check your reviews, which everyone can see. And there’s no way to delete bad reviews. Did you do a good job, did you do it on time and were you easy to work with?
Make the most of your profile. Introduce a touch of personality and talk about your background and skills. Get specific. Instead of writing “I’m a proficient typist,” note how many words you can type per minute.
While becoming a well-paid full-time Tasker takes time, with strategy and experience, you can be an ace Tasker.
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