Organize & Clean

Hiring Help: The (Real) Everyday Chores (Actual) New Yorkers Are Outsourcing

published Feb 23, 2017
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(Image credit: Chloe Berk)

How often do you look at your to-do list and wish you had an extra day or two tacked on at the end of the week? What if asking for help were as easy as downloading an app where you could find someone to do it for you, with just a few clicks on a website? Just think about how often you would use it, and what chores you might want help with. (I’ll go first: I’d want someone to do the dishes and hang some art for me.)

In fact, that future world really exists. We asked two popular outsourcing services about the requests they get from clients in New York City to see what sorts of tasks real people are seeking—and hiring—help for.

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Just what kinds of things are New Yorker’s outsourcing? It depends on who you ask. According to TaskRabbit, an outsourcing service that connects users with people to do household tasks, the top four categories for requests in New York City are handyman services, moving, cleaning, and personal assistant services.

For Thumbtack (a service that connects you with pros to help you get stuff done and learn new things) users in the New York metro area, the top household requests are local moving, recurring house cleaning, one-time house cleaning, and handyman services—in that order. It’s also interesting to note that those are just the top requests in the household category; the top request from Thumbtack users in NYC overall is actually personal training, followed by local moving, house cleaning, and photo booth rental. (Also in the top most-requested services: event makeup, dog grooming, interior painting and massage therapy.)

According to TaskRabbit, the service has seen a big growth in requests recently—in 2016 there were nearly 3 times as many tasks posted as those posted in 2015. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, most people lead busy lives and maintain hectic schedules—sometimes there’s just too much to get done and not enough hours in the day to make it happen on your own.

Real Requests From Real New Yorkers…

For a more personal feel, here are some of the real task requests NYC-based TaskRabbit clients have submitted. They range from fixing home damage to doing good deeds for friends, but they’re all super relatable—honestly, who hasn’t tried and failed to put together an IKEA purchase (I definitely have!).

They ask for help with IKEA furniture:

“I attempted to put together my IKEA closet and totally messed it up. I need someone to disassemble my closet and then assemble it again correctly. I am getting a few replacement pieces so it should all work once it’s reassembled. The closet currently can’t stand up on its own. I have no idea why I tried this alone.”

They try to undo damage from well-meaning in-laws:

“I need a flat screen tv swivel stand assembled and my flat screen tv mounted onto it. I had my father in law come and try to do this and he messed our wall up and I had to purchase a new stand. Would also need a wall fix. Will send pictures.”

They need last-minute assistance (and tools):

“My girlfriend has been asking me to assemble a baby changing station for the last three months and now the due date is fast approaching. Please come with tools!”

They make birthdays great even from far away:

“I bought my three-year old a tricycle for his birthday tomorrow but I’m stuck on a business trip with this storm and can’t get a flight out. Need you to come to my house, assemble the tricycle and put a bow on it so it’s ready for tomorrow morning. My wife won’t know where to start.”

They’re passionate about politics:

“I punched a hole in the wall when Trump won. Hoping someone can help me fix it. It’s not normal dry wall, but also not a big or deep hole. Happy to send a picture.”

They try to secretly help their stubborn spouses:

“We are moving this weekend. My husband thinks he can handle all the heavy lifting on his own but I’d like to secretly hire some extra help…”

They know when to call for backup:

“My boyfriend says he can mount our new flat screen but I have a feeling he has no clue how. Looking for a handyman that can help. Thanks!”

They cheer up friends going through tough times:

“My coworker just got laid off. Looking for a Tasker to pick up a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts, they’re her favorite.”

They like to play harmless pranks:

“Hi! This may be a weird request but we would love to have someone dressed up for our office Halloween party (we will provide the costume) and scare our guests. If you have any background in acting and would like to have a little fun, we will provide food and drinks. Please let us know! Thanks!!!”

They need assistance getting ready for parties:

“Need a Tasker to come fill up 150 test tubes with vodka (+red food coloring) for my big Halloween party tomorrow night.”

They ask for help pulling off holidays without a hitch:

“Going to take the kids to the parade this morning and need some extra hands helping us set up for Thanksgiving dinner later. Tidying up the home, setting up dishes and place cards and assembling a few extra chairs we purchased for our 25 person dinner. Thanks!”