About a year or so ago, TaskRabbitÂ for Business launched as a web portal aimed at companies looking for contingent labor. I asked in this Staffing Talk post whether theÂ site and mobile app where you can outsource small, short-term jobs should have traditional staffing companies worried? Whether TaskRabbit was trying to undercut the staffing industry, or if it lives comfortably outside the confines of the traditional staffing space? The answer is TaskRabbit for Business doesn't live at all. At least not in its own place.
According to this article in TechCrunch, "TaskRabbit claims that the business offering was not shut down, exactly â€“ theyâ€™ve just migrated users to a 'more unified product experience' instead. Or more simply put, the company claims itâ€™s still serving business customers, they just no longer have their own specially tailored product offering."
"TaskRabbit claims that the business offering was not shut down â€“ theyâ€™ve just migrated users to a 'more unified product experience' instead."
The company was started by Leah Busque, a formerÂ IBM software engineer, with the premise that if you need help with a task,Â be it housecleaning, packing boxes, assembling IKEA furniture, etc., you can go online and fill out aÂ form with information about the nature and duration of the work, and the maximum amount you are willing to pay.
The person who is willing to perform this work is called a TaskRabbit, and the one who makes the lowest bid will automatically be assigned to complete the task. The â€śemployerâ€ť then pays the TaskRabbit online, with a small percentage going towards a service fee while the rest goes to the TaskRabbit.
In March of 2013, the Business tier was added, so companies could find short-term labor that was â€śmore reliable than online classifieds and less costly than traditional temp agencies.â€ť
Rob Coneybeer, managing director of the investment firm Shasta Ventures, one of the investment firms that backed TaskRabbit with $40 million, told Bloomberg Businessweek in this article the goal is to build a new kind of labor market â€śwhere people end up getting paid more per hour than they would have otherwise and find it easier to do jobs they are good at.â€ť
"The goal is to build a new kind of labor market 'where people end up getting paid more per hour than they would have otherwise and find it easier to do jobs they are good at.'â€ť
In May of 2013, TaskRabbit expanded with more tools to help companies hire W-2 employees, and the site began handling all compliance paperwork, including payroll taxes, workersâ€™ compensation and unemployment insurance.
One staffing agency owner I spoke to at the time I wrote the original article said it wasn't the concept that worried them so much as it was the convenience. "Theyâ€™ve made the staffing process into a mobile app, and by removing some of the bureaucratic processes and middle men, created something more immediate and convenient."
A TaskRabbit representative did tell TechCrunchÂ the company is still catering to its business customers. They said the only thing that has changed is they have combined the consumer and business experiences.Â However, there was no formal announcement of this change, or about the closing of the business-focused web portal.
This is how the TaskRabbit rep further explained it to TechCrunch.
We did this to better serve both constituents (consumers and businesses), giving them the best of both worlds (i.e., hourly payment options, recurring hiring options, etc.). Businesses continue to make up quite a significant and important percentage of both our customer base and monthly revenue. We listen to the needs of both our consumers and business and make product changes accordingly.