Posted by & filed under business models, Ecommerce, outsourcing.

Description: CNNMoney’s Laurie Segall talks about the latest trend in tech: outsourcing your errands to people looking to make money.


Date: Nov 15, 2011

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the business model for this type of e-commerce business?
  2. What risks would this type of site have to mitigate to make this a viable business?

8 Responses to “Outsource your errands online”

  1. Andrew Douglas

    Task Rabbit is based on bringing buyers and sellers together over the internet selling odd jobs that they do not have time to do, or inversely, doing odd jobs to pick up some extra cash. People go online, post their errands and others bid on them in somewhat of a reverse auction like manner. These tasks range anywhere from picking up dry cleaning or groceries to walking someone’s dog or doing chores around the house, with the average task going for around $45.

    The single biggest risk involved with this site is that you do not know who you are dealing with. You have to not only trust that these people will do the task specified and do it well, but you also have to trust them with your property or pets depending on the task. How do you know that the person you hire to walk your dog won’t harm it? Or the person you hire to clean your house won’t rob you? The site would have to have some sort of way to identify people who use the service to ensure things like that do not happen, and if they do the person simply does not disappear into cyber space, never to be heard from again.

  2. Enoch Dugbatey

    Brokerage is the type of e-commerce model for this business. B2B, B2C, and C2C facilitate transactions electronically. This site have to mitigate Security risks to make it a viable business.

  3. Kristen Schalin

    The business model for this type of e-commerce business is consumer to consumer or C2C. With this model consumers can post offers or in this example tasks, and other consumers bid on them. This business allows people to post tasks on the web and “Task Rabbits” can go on and bid on them offering higher or lower prices to do the errands. The person posting that task can then go on and choose, not necessarily the highest bidder or lowest, but the person they see fit best to complete their errand. Some of these tasks are personal such as picking up their dry cleaning or shopping for ones groceries, or walking a dog and or doing household chores. Since these are such personal tasks and involve allowing people into your lives and into your home, possibly around your family or people you care about it is important to chose a reliable and trustworthy “Task Rabbit”. Security would probably be the biggest risk this type of site would have to mitigate to make this a viable business. Unless a person has previously used this site and by chance found a very trustworthy and reliable person you really would have no way of determining how secure a person really is.

  4. Brad Zhang

    1. I think it is a C2C e-commerce business model. Although the Task Rabbit is based on a platform that been offered from one or more business, the employers and employees are still individuals. They are actually all the customers of the application.

    2. The risk of this type of business is very obvious. First, how can people who have ever met trust each other online? For using Task Rabbit, users need to have an account or a Facebook account, but these are not secured at all. Some bad guys can just create accounts with fake information and steal others’ properties by the chance of helping others. I think there are ways to mitigate risks. First, a government issued photo ID should be required during creating an account. Second, people who would like to offer their labour should put some deposit in case of stealing or property damage. And after a certain number of deals, the deposit can be returned. Another type of risk is property damage due to negligence. If “rabbits” damaged “employers’ “property or other kinds of accidents, what should they do? Sue each other or sue the application inventor? This is a hardcore problem that cannot be solved easily.

  5. Jillian K

    In my opinion Task Rabbit is using the third party business model of E commerce. They have created a platform in which users are able to interact. ‘Task Rabbits’ can be connected with those looking for help with their errands. The site makes a commission on the transactions just for simply providing this connection. Another example of this business model in action is a site like eBay, Kijiji or Craigslist.

    While one of the aim’s of this site seems to be to foster a sense of community, I believe that the risks involved may be much higher than a simple website would be able to assume. Sure, profile pictures and reviews from past customers on each ‘Task Rabbit’ can go a long way but you just never know who you are dealing with or what their intentions are. Perhaps a company like the apartment rental one discussed in the video can offer an insurance policy for the stolen goods, but what if something worse happens? We have started to hear multiple counts of criminals using sites like Kijiji and Craigslist to attract individuals for different reasons and these individuals have ended up being murdered. How can a site possible mitigate these risks?

  6. Rayelle D

    The risks associated with this new app are crazy and how one can mitigate them 100% I’m not sure. Risks pertain to both the ‘Task Rabbit’ as well as the one person seeking a task rabbit. As a ‘Task Rabbit’ how do you know that you are going to get paid what they have promised you. If the errand involves a payment, do you pay for it with your own money and then get reimbursed? Because if so how do you guarantee that this customer is actually legit and will be there with the money in a form that is suitable to you. And then on the other side of things as the person needing errands done, how can you place that much trust in someone whom you have never met? Say you need your tux or wedding dress picked up from the dry cleaners because you just don’t have time to get there by the time it closes for the weekend. I cannot see how you can trust that the ‘task rabbit’ you hire will not see the clothing and not complete the task and bring it back to you. I’m sure that those articles of clothing are worth much more than what you are paying for them to pick them up for you. This online world is based upon trust, and personally I just could never trust someone I have never met before to even pick up my groceries for me.

  7. Hassan Al Sarrar

    I believe this is a customer to customer e-commerce business model given the fact that each party from both side usually is a single individual who is not performing these task under any employer name. the risk involved can be equally divided between the two parties involved (Task Rabbit and the one looking for a Task Rabbit) first a task rabbit could face many problems such as the injuries during the work. For instance he or she as a task rabbit mostly working on their own and no insurance covers their injured while in duty unless they are registered on a company or corporation plan. Also the payment method is another challenge where the website doesn’t guarantee or offer an option of payments to the task rabbit. For people looking for task rabbits, they also might go across some difficulty in this type of business. For instance, the quality of job performed might not be as good as a professional would do; however, they can’t reject the performance undertaken by task rabbit. So, there is no to know how good a person to perform kind of job unless somebody already rate or view previous jobs. Also it doesn’t involve any work agreement, so you are not promised to have task done on time or a certain way and you can challenge or fight that.

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