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.
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 does, 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 will also be value units in your app. In TaskRabbit, there are three parts to the Creation process.
To register in TaskRabbit, a user has to enter their name, email address, phone number, and ZIP code. TaskRabbit also requires credit card credentials to allow transactions. All this information is important for enabling interactions on TaskRabbit.
After registration, users are asked to allow the application to send push notifications. Then they can start searching for the perfect tasker.
2. Creating tasker profiles
To create a profile, taskers are asked to give more information about themselves. This is important, since information about providers builds trust among customers and providers and can stop scams. Also, a detailed profile makes it easier for customers to find the specialist they need.
TaskRabbit asks taskers to provide the following information to complete their profiles:
Social Security number
Metro area where they would like to work
Mobile phone operating system
Vehicle information and availability
How they learned about TaskRabbit
Taskers then have to set their work category and hourly rates. They can also tell something about themselves to ensure they’re the best fit for a client.
After that, a tasker has to enter their credit card information to be able to accept payments. After registration, TaskRabbit charge a $25 registration fee for conducting a background check to guarantee the trust and safety of their users. Only after passing background checks are taskers able to take tasks.
3. Posting jobs
Another important function that facilitates the app’s core value is job or task placement. To place a job, a customer has to provide:
a brief description of the task
an address for the task
other details depending on the type of task
the time needed to perform the task
After that, the customer switches to the next tab where they choose the date and task frequency. On the basis of this info, they get a list of available taskers. Then the user chooses the exact date and time and waits until a tasker accepts the task. In case of any changes, the user can contact the tasker via in-app chat.
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)
Background checks based on the tasker’s Social Security number
Numbers of tasks done, tasker’s reliance, and percentage of positive reviews
TaskRabbit analyzes profiles of taskers and rewards taskers with Elite Tasker and Great Value badges.
If a person decides to become a tasker, their profile will be checked by TaskRabbit’s support team. The background check collects information from national, local, and sex offender databases. Taskers also need to furnish some proof of their proficiency — such as a certificate or license — or even pass an exam. In addition, before tasking, new Taskers attend an online information session to learn how to use TaskRabbit effectively. This is how the platform ensures their taskers are qualified.
2. Pausing an account
A tasker’s account can be paused for several reasons.
1. If a tasker has registered under different usernames or identities using a false number or email.
2. If a tasker’s skills haven’t been confirmed or the tasker hasn’t passed necessary exams.
3. If clients have submitted complaints about a tasker’s performance.
4. If asker’s task acceptance rate is lower than 75%.
In case of disputes, both parties should try to negotiate the controversy without the support center. But when it’s impossible to find middle ground, TaskRabbit gets involved in resolving the dispute.
The company has a so-called Happiness Pledge, insurance that provides coverage in case of incidents when completing a task. TaskRabbit provides $1 million of insurance against property damage. The company also pays $10,000 in case of bodily injury or theft of a user’s home. The Happiness Pledge is made possible by a Trust & Support Fee, which is included in the 15% TaskRabbit Service Fee.
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. All chat history can be checked at any time by TaskRabbit’s support team. This ensures that a client and tasker have undeniable proof of what was said in the event of a conflict.
TaskRabbit doesn’t allow users to share clients’ and taskers’ contact information and doesn’t show this contact information. This measure helps TaskRabbit eliminate cases when parties cooperate outside the platform to avoid the service fee.
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 filters to search by location and time needed to perform a task.
After providing information about task and a task description, a user gets a list of taskers. On the next screen, the user can filter taskers by date and frequency. They can also opt for taskers with Elite Tasker or Great Value badges.
Users can sort taskers by price, percentage of positive reviews, or number of completed tasks. Or they can see recommended taskers first.
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.
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.
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.
Read also: How Airbnb manages trust and safety