How to Use TaskRabbit Like a Pro

Whenever my phone goes off, I lunge for it like I’m trying to catch it before it shatters. Not because I’m checking to see if my Seamless has arrived or because I’m addicted to News Alerts—it’s because I only have 30 minutes to respond to my next potentially lucrative task on TaskRabbit. That 30-minute rule is one of TaskRabbit’s many quirks, which is something you learn to navigate when you start tasking.

In light of IKEA’s recent purchase of TaskRabbit, which will no doubt increase the number of available TaskRabbit tasks and the amount of money taskers can earn, here are tips to help you start tasking and cash out as much as possible.

Be incredibly effusive in your application.

Becoming a “tasker” for TaskRabbit is a competitive process, especially in larger cities. Part of TaskRabbit’s application asks taskers to list their skills and talk about their experience. (Yes, talk. There’s a video component.) Make sure to be incredibly positive and customer-service oriented when answering these questions so they’re more likely to approve you. I added so many exclamation points in my application you would think I was the one paying TaskRabbit to work! Just picture your bubbliest customer service person (hard for me, a native New Yorker), and pretend they’re writing your application.

Be willing to work for low rates AT FIRST.

Before your application gets approved, TaskRabbit will ask you to set your rates. TaskRabbit won’t let you work for under minimum wage, and the company takes 30 percent of your earnings—so you might be tempted to set a high rate, only to see TaskRabbit counter with a lower rate. Agree to whatever low rate they suggest so you have a higher chance of getting approved. You can always change your rates later. 

Every time someone hires you, raise your rates by $1 across the board.

I treat TaskRabbit like an economic experiment. In theory, you’ll get hired for more tasks if you say you’ll work for less money than other taskers, but taking a bunch of low-ball jobs, especially if they involve running all over the city, can take a toll on your life. Instead, test how high your city’s gig economy market will go by raising all your rates by $1 every time you get hired. I did this and my across-the-board rates are now close to $30 an hour, which means my take-home is over $20 an hour.

The thing about TaskRabbit is it seems like literally anyone could do these tasks.Why should someone pay me $30 an hour to sit on the Shakespeare in the Park line? But don’t undersell yourself. People sometimes pay ridiculous amounts of money just so they have the peace of mind of knowing their task will get done. Some movers, for example, work for over $60 an hour! You’ll never know what you’re worth until you raise your rates.

If you’re physically capable, help people move—you often get free stuff!

On the subject of movers: when people move, they usually give stuff away. I tasked for someone who happened to be my shoe size and she gave me cute shoes! I’ve also gotten water bottles, reusable bags, and more. TaskRabbit doesn’t offer any kind of benefits package, so think about getting free stuff from moving as one of your little perks. Moving is one of the most strenuous tasks but you can usually make a good amount of money doing it. Don’t forget to raise your rates for the next moving gig!

If you have a free day, opt into same-day tasks.

TaskRabbit lets you book tasks by appointment; you can also sign up for same-day tasks and be assigned to whoever needs help. Same-day tasks are great because the rates that TaskRabbit sets for you are often much higher than what you’d typically charge. I did a same-day rate task and got paid $40 an hour to wait in an empty warehouse for a package (that never arrived) and I just got to chill!

Never forfeit a task.

Sometimes you accept a task that you realize you won’t be able to complete. Maybe it’s more complicated than you thought, or maybe something else came up that you have to deal with immediately. Don’t forfeit the task. Forfeiting drags down your rating. Instead, get the client to cancel the task, which won’t affect your rating. (How do you get a client to cancel a task? Use those customer service skills you showcased during your TaskRabbit application!)

Make sure you can respond to tasks within 30 minutes.

When a client requests you to complete a task, you have to answer the client within 30 minutes or you lose the task and your rating goes down. (This reminds me of the Black Mirror episode where everyone rates each other, but I digress.) When I started using TaskRabbit, I set my status as “available” and then fell asleep or took a yoga class, and my ratings got dinged a lot because I wasn’t around to respond to clients.

Also, make sure to adjust your availability as you make other plans so clients won’t request you for a time that you’re not actually available.

If you’re like me, a person who doesn’t work full-time and wants to add another side hustle, you might enjoy traveling your city, dropping off laundry, testing new apps and products, and helping people carry items that are more expensive than your entire rent. I think TaskRabbit is a fascinating anthropological study; I love seeing what other people’s apartments look like and I love the sense of truly helping someone when they just need this one thing done and then they can move on with the rest of their day. Whether you want to make your entire living as a tasker or just want some spare change, use these tips to get your tasks DONE—and remember to raise your rates!

Abby is a comedy writer who also loves money and food. Follow her on twitter @1abbyroad.

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