Over the past few years, the gig economy has been reshaping traditional business, and peer-to-peer apps have started appearing left and right.
TaskRabbit is one of the brightest examples of apps built for the gig economy. Using TaskRabbit as an example, we will discuss how peer-to-peer platforms work and how you can create one yourself.
But first, let’s talk a bit about the environment that makes it possible for apps like TaskRabbit to grow.
What is the gig economy?
The roaring success of apps like Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit has forced us to take a fresh look at the relationship between employers and workers.
The gig economy is a new type of business model where a customer hires an independent contractor to perform a short-term task.
Today, your handyman or your painter could just as likely be your neighbor or a stranger you've never seen before as an employee connected to a company. It’s now possible to hire someone to help with almost anything, from moving furniture to bringing fresh flowers to your home every morning.
[Source: TaskRabbit Blog]
Since TaskRabbit lets customers outsource a wide variety of household errands and skilled tasks, it is often called “Uber for everything.” The platform was one of the pioneers in the gig economy, and we will use it as an example to discover the key elements of such platforms.
Apps like TaskRabbit are built on Core Interactions
To find details about the core value unit and core interactions we advise you to read the book “Platform Scale: How an emerging business model helps startups build large empires with minimum investment” by Sangeet Paul Choudary.
“Core interaction is a set of actions that users of the platform take to gain value from this platform.” said in the book. In a nutshell, it’s the way that users get their benefit.
Usually, there two types of users in that kind of apps - customers and providers (they are called “taskers” on TaskRabbit).
According to the above-mentioned book, there are four processes to provide core interactions. So, developing an application like TaskRabbit you need to consider all the parts of those processes.
Core interactions are the primary ways that users interact with other users within the app. And core interactions are the ways that users achieve an app’s core value. The core value of TaskRabbit, for example, is its searchable list of service provider profiles.
They are important not only for outsourcing errand service app development but also for creating a platform-type app in general. To design a core interaction for your app, you should consider the following processes:
Let's take a closer look at each of them.
If you’re going to connect customers with service providers, like TaskRabbit, then the core value unit for your app would also be a searchable list of service provider profiles. “Creation” is how service providers create profiles on the platform.
But service providers aren’t the only ones who can create value on the platform. If you allow customers to post jobs, then job listings would also be value units in your app.
In TaskRabbit, there are three parts to the process of Creation.
To register in TaskRabbit, a user has to enter their name, email address, and ZIP code. TaskRabbit also requires additional information, including phone number and credit card credentials, to allow transactions. All this information is important for enabling interactions on TaskRabbit.
After registration, you will be asked to allow the application to send you push notifications. Then, you can start searching for the perfect tasker.
Read also: How can app registration impact KPI?
2. Tasker profile creation
If you want to become a tasker, you need to add more details to your personal profile. The more detailed this information is, the more people will trust your service. No wonder taskers with exhaustive information in their personal profiles get more job requests on TaskRabbit. Also, a detailed profile will make it easier for customers to find you.
To fill out a profile completely, taskers need to provide the following:
The metro where they would like to work
Phone type (Android or iOS)
Vehicle information and vehicle availability
How they learned about TaskRabbit.
Taskers then have to set their work category and hourly rates. Also, they can tell something about themselves to ensure they are the best fit for a client, and they can also choose one of the following options describing their experience level:
no experience, but I’m willing to learn
some experience, I have done it for myself around the home
I have had part-time experience
I have had professional experience
I am professionally certified in this skill
After that, a tasker has to enter their credit card information to be able to accept payments. To verify credit card information, TaskRabbit will charge a $5 fee that will be returned after the first task is completed.
Credit card verification doesn’t guarantee access to TaskRabbit. The company also performs a background check on registered taskers to guarantee the trust and safety of their users.
3. Job posting
Another important function that facilitates the app’s core value is job or task placement.
To place a job, a customer has to enter the following information:
a brief description of the task
date and time they need the task to be done
the time needed to perform the task
other details depending on the type of task.
After a task is posted the interaction starts. Taskers get notifications about the posted job. Then they are able to choose tasks they would like to complete and start conversations with clients.
Curation is about maintaining a high quality of service. Reliable service is important to users. But building trust is also one of the largest challenges of marketplaces. Curation helps you build trust.
Here are five mechanisms that TaskRabbit uses to ensure trust and safety:
1. Tasker curation
ratings (measured as percentages, can be both positive and negative)
If you decide to become a tasker, your profile will be checked by TaskRabbit’s support team. They’ll also check your background and criminal records. Also, you'll need to furnish some proof of your proficiency — such as a certificate or license — or even pass an exam. This is how TaskRabbit ensures their taskers are qualified.
2. Account pausing
A tasker’s account can be paused for several reasons.
1. If an account doesn’t meet the required metrics. There is a set of metrics that reflect the activity of a tasker on the platform over the past 30 days and are displayed in each tasker’s profile. These metrics include:
task acceptance rate (should be 75% or higher)
task completion rate (should be 85% or higher)
original time percentage (shows the percentage of “now” tasks which were started by a tasker on time or even before the requested time)(should be 85% or higher)
response rate (should be 85% or higher)
total money earned
total time worked
2. If a tasker’s skills haven’t been confirmed or a tasker hasn’t passed necessary exams.
3. If clients have submitted complaints about a tasker’s performance.
TaskRabbit provides $1M of insurance against different kinds of losses. This $1M Guarantee is supported by a 5 percent fee on every completed task. To get full information about cases when you may be eligible for compensation, visit the TaskRabbit support center.
[Source: TaskRabbit Support]
4. Cancellation policy
A cancellation policy is established to ensure that taskers don’t waste their time if the client cancels the task. How does it work? If a customer wants to cancel an order, they should do it more than 24 hours before a tasker is supposed to begin working. If they cancel later than that, the tasker will be paid for one hour of work.
To receive compensation, the fact that the customer has canceled the task has to be confirmed in a private chat. Each particular case is checked by the support team.
TaskRabbit has a proprietary messaging platform. All connections and negotiations happening in the app are saved to ensure the safety of users.
[Source: TaskRabbit Support]
All chat history can be checked at any time by TaskRabbit’s support team. This ensures that a client and a tasker have undeniable proof of what was communicated in the event of a conflict.
Customization is about making a platform as convenient to use as possible. TaskRabbit’s customization is achieved by implementing various filters that make job search and connections easy. How does TaskRabbit customize their app for users?
Geolocation is highly important for apps that connect service providers and customers locally. Apps like TaskRabbit and Uber use geolocation information to provide their customers with service providers in the shortest possible time. For example, a tasker can search for available tasks only in a certain area or within a certain radius without having to enter information about their location.
2. Push notifications
With push notifications, users don’t miss important events in the application. For example, a client who posted a job will receive a notification when new candidates are available. Taskers receive information about orders they might be interested in.
3. Search filters
To make an app as convenient as possible, it should be easy for customers and contractors to find each other. To help them find each other, you should implement search filters. Search results may be filtered by:
Time needed to perform a task
4. Scheduling tool
Taskers have access to their personal schedules so they can organize their working hours.
Taskers on TaskRabbit create value by posting their availability while clients use this value by hiring taskers for a job.
[Source: TaskRabbit blog]
If you design an app similar to TaskRabbit, you should keep in mind that the rendering of services facilitated by such apps happens outside of the app, in real life. Once a customer meets a tasker they met on TaskRabbit, they could leave the platform and interact in person, thus avoiding the platform’s cut of the payment. So how does TaskRabbit manage to make money?
The majority of taskers on TaskRabbit use the service as their primary source of income. They need a constant flow of clients. TaskRabbit helps taskers get clients by helping them to build a reputation on the platform. The better their reputation, the more money they can charge for their services. Taskers can gather ratings and reviews only when transactions are executed on the platform. This incentive works for TaskRabbit.
[Source: Play Market]
2. Safe transactions
The platform is built in such a way that neither customers nor taskers risk losing their money. Once a customer has ordered a service from a tasker, they get charged for this service. But the tasker receives payment only after the job is done completely. This feature motivates people to stay with TaskRabbit because they don’t need to worry about payment.
Core interaction is a primary concern that you need to think over to develop an app like TaskRabbit. It defines the user flow from registration to gain the value they come for. It is fundamental when it comes to creating a marketplace like TaskRabbit. But if you consider these four processes – creation, curation, customization and consumption – building a P2P platform will become much easier.