Earlier in the year, up-and-coming company Airtasker was cleverly attached to the iPad 3 launch at the Sydney Apple Store. Like many other tech-hungry Australians, co-founder Tim Fung wanted to make sure he had his shiny new iPad by Friday, but didn’t have the time to wait in line overnight. Using Airtasker, Tim posted an ad which was shortly grabbed up by runner Steve P. Steve was given cash in hand to buy the iPad, an Airtasker t-shirt and a payment of $950 when the goods were in Tim’s eager hands.
Tim and co-founder and COO Jonathan Lui launched the company on the 21 February 2012. This was followed by an expansion to Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, with other major cities soon to follow suit. Airtasker also have a snazzy iOS app allowing both senders and runners to keep up-to-date with their tasks.
So how does Airtasker work? Using a simple signup process, a sender can quickly set up a profile and begin delegating tasks that are clogging up their to-do list. Payment options include COD (cash on delivery) or PayPal. Once the task is posted, both senders and runners can use the website or iOS app to communicate to task completion.
This video demonstrates Airtasker in action. A runner can find a task by simply searching in their city and filtering through until they find something suitable. As the sender can view the runner’s profile, runners can choose to verify their profile by including mobile phone numbers, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other references. This may influence a sender into choosing a particular runner.
With a motto of “simplify your life”, there are various examples of people who use Airtasker as a sender. From the not-so-tech-savvy to the time poor, there is a wide variety of tasks for a runner to pick from. It’s an excellent tool for individuals or companies that need to have a task completed, but also have a budget to stick to – if a runner bids for a particular task, they are already aware of the price their time is worth. It is also interesting to see how small companies use Airtasker as public relations, recruitment, graphic and web design tools
While there are rules set by Airtasker, some tasks push ethical boundaries – like Hannah W’s request for a runner to finish write her Grade 11 business assignment. How would you feel earning $40 aiding a youngster’s high school diploma?
A similar type of service can also be found overseas in the form of Fancy Hands – a New York company that offers an online or virtual personal assistant. Fancy Hands targets a slightly different audience to Airtasker with a rule against any physical or real-life tasks. It also runs on subscription payment rather than pay-what-you-think. As Airtasker are still in their first year, their journey as a startup will be a great one to follow.