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Task Pandas: make money by doing odd jobs

ReenaSewraz
by Lovemoney Staff ReenaSewraz on 07 December 2012  |  Comments 8 comments

Earn extra money using this new online marketplace to help with odd jobs others can't manage or would rather off load.

Task Pandas: make money by doing odd jobs

Do you have a long to-do list you just can’t face? Or are you the opposite and relish the chance to get stuck into tasks others loathe?

Well a new website called Task Pandas can help you meet your complementary match.

It’s a platform designed to introduce busy people burdened by ad hoc jobs with people willing to assist who have the time and know-how.

Those that post a task get the job done and at a reasonable price, while those that complete the task earn a bit of extra cash for an odd job they find easy.

It’s win-win.

Background

Task Pandas was launched in July this year by software expert and entrepreneur, Farrukh Khan, who saw a similar idea working well in the US (taskrabbit.com) and Australia (airtasker.com), but felt there was nothing like it in the UK.

Khan experienced the light bulb moment when he had a few household tasks to complete and found it impossible to find anybody to help. The tasks were relatively small yet they proved to be a big hassle.

He hopes to build a community of people you can look to for help and likes to describe the platform as a sort of localised eBay for odd jobs.

Seeking help

If you need some help all you need to do is post a brief description of the task, where you are, how much you are willing to pay and when you would like someone to come round. You can do this for free.

Local ‘pandas’ will be alerted to job posts and then bid on tasks, typically within minutes of a post going up.

You get to browse those that are interested and look at customer reviews to find a match. Then you just liaise with your chosen ‘panda’ to get the job done.

Similar set ups can be found elsewhere when looking for a tradesman on MyBuilder.com. Read Things to look for in a good tradesman for more.

Becoming a task panda

If you’re interested in becoming a ‘panda’ to earn some extra cash, you will need to complete a registration form asking about your skills.

The application you submit goes through a quick vetting by the company and if successful you will be able to start bidding on jobs in your area.

Jobs can earn you anything between £5 and £250. Typically the price falls around the £35, mark but the company takes a 15% cut on every job a ‘panda’ completes and transportation costs aren’t covered so you will need to factor this into the bid you place on a job advertised.

It’s worth pointing out that if you earn extra money through the website and you already work you will need to declare it on a tax return. It won’t be up to Task Pandas to administer, so watch out.

Success

So far the website has attracted 1,500 users and more than £50,000-worth of work has been posted since its inception this summer.

Requests so far include help with uploading items to sell on eBay, cleaning, pet sitters and assistance with assembling flat-pack furniture. But people are finding a variety of inventive ways to make Task Pandas work for them, including those that are housebound.

In the run up to Christmas when time is tight the service is proving increasingly useful – more than £10,000 worth of jobs have been listed in the last month.

The community exchange currently only covers the major cities of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow but it is expected to operate UK-wide by the end of next year.

Safety and quality

Since a lot of tasks mean putting your trust in a stranger and in some cases allowing them into your home, safety will be a big concern.

According to Khan, all those that have successfully completed one task are put through a CRB check.

Originally the process included a face-to-face interview and a CRB check straight away, but Khan says this proved a waste of energy as some people never became active users. Now you have to successfully complete a task before Task Pandas will put you through a CRB check.

Despite this change in policy there hasn’t been any trouble. The worst that happens is usually around timing when schedules don’t quite match up.

Your typical ‘panda’ could be a skilled worker, enthusiastic university student, active retired person, a mum or upcoming actor.

But what about quality? You also want to make sure the person you hire to make your life easier does a good job.

The rating system can help here; each time you get a job done you are invited to leave feedback, which helps build a good community of trusted users like that of Amazon and eBay. But none of the ‘pandas’ are required to have public liability insurance which can protect customers if things go wrong on a job.

Verdict

Personally I like the thought of a website that can help me outsource my to-do list, especially in the manic lead up to Christmas. And I think other groups like the elderly and vulnerable stand to benefit if this idea takes off.

It’s particularly handy if you’re on the other side and want to make some extra money. Especially if you can do tasks that you might usually do for free. However, declaring the extra income on a tax return if you already work seems like a lot of bother for jobs you might only be paid £5 to do.

My biggest concern is accountability. Task Pandas is just a platform to put people in touch with each other and facilitate payment, but it can’t take any responsibility on quality and safety aspects. But I don’t think that should stop people from participating in this exciting project. After all there is a system in place built around reviews and background checks that can help you make an informed decision and avoid any dodgy encounters.

Your experiences

Has anyone ever tried using Task Panda or a similar site? What were your experiences? Please share in the comment box below.

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Comments (8)

  • culluding-fool
    Love rating 60
    culluding-fool said

    I've never heard of Task Pandas but am going to sign up now and put the word out in my local area. It's a great idea for the unemployed to earn a bit of pocket money and possibly get back into work :-)

    Report on 09 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Ginnymay
    Love rating 39
    Ginnymay said

    As you say, a super idea, but I'd have real concerns about inviting someone into my home, say, to help me put up the Christmas tree, which is tricky on my own. CRB checks after the 1st task is all very well, but their first idea, to have these before the task, was better. How about those doing the task getting the checks done, then Task Pandas reimbursing them after, say 5 tasks? Were the Pandas going to be funding the checks themselves after 1 task, as the article implies? Alternatively, badger your MP to make CRB checks transferable, say with a card. I've had to have 4 separate ones, for working in a hospital, for volunteering for WRVS, for driving Girl Guides around to events (including my daughter in the group!) and for hearing children read in the local primary school. A big cost, at around £40 a pop, a waste of police time in duplicating the effort, and a disincentive to those inclined to volunteer, a la Big Society (though I'm all in favour of 1 check)

    Report on 09 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    Local tradesmen don't need CRB checks nor do council maintenance staff so that part of the issue is something of a spurious argument. The real issue is that with no check on real skills and no local reputation to go by, any idiot seeking some extra money can delude themselves into offering handyman skills out of their depth. As far as helping people get into work, anyone who has the skills to offer is not short of work potential and there are always opportunites for caretakers and freelance maintainence staff as both government and commercial organisations outsource to self-employed or part time workers.

    Report on 09 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Nikgee
    Love rating 25
    Nikgee said

    The CRB thing is a real PITA, I can understand companies insisting on the individual forking out for this because the cost is the same for a failed application.

    This was an idea I had a few years ago, but without the finance or the knowhow to get it off the ground it was inevitable someone else would come up with the same idea... ho hum.

    As for this sort of thing it is something I do, but it really isn't one can survive professionally on. As I do these jobs I know what I want for these jobs (plus mileage if necessary) and I ask the customer to make up a figure, if it is too much I give them something back knowing they will employ me again, if it isn't enough then I don't go back again.

    I also agree with the comment about there being idiots out there who don't know what they are doing trying to make a quick cash in with a bodge job. Where are the guarantees to protect the public?

    Report on 09 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Matwalden
    Love rating 1
    Matwalden said

    HI, I have been a member of www.checkatrade.com for over 2 years now, and out of all the 'handyman etc' work have found this to be the best - customers approach me for a quote on jobs ranging from a leaky tap to a full property refurb. The other companies I have joined / been a member of have all fallen short of the ideal - you have to pay for the leads, often incorrect, the jobs are often already filled, checking systems are a joke, there is no regulation.... need I go on...

    I understand this idea, could work for a few, but will ultimately run out of steam - I was CRB'd a few years ago, since then my reputation, excellent feedback, genuine desire to 'do the job right' and honest approach, coupled with public liability insurance, competitive quoting and willingness to 'get stuck in' have stood me in good stead, I have recently joined the local West Sussex Council 'Buy with Confidence' scheme - linked in with Which? - I have only been a member for a few months and yet to really appreciate the scheme - although I am seeing more logos every day.. let's see.

    Like any market, there are many ideas and some will float and some will sink - let's hope that the ones that float are the better ones with happy faces all around - lookinging forward to a bit of rest.....

    Happy Christmas

    Report on 09 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • mambach
    Love rating 37
    mambach said

    The criminal records bureau is a scam, designed to make you pay for information someone made up. Every time I have had to deal with them (and I used to work in HR) they came back with rubbish. Example: the twenty year old in 2007, who was arrested in 1975. Turns out another bloke with the same name had got confused. Oh well, you didn't get the job(or likely a dozen others), since computer says no.

    The information held includes 'suspicion of' For example: if you pick up your partners kids from school, this can be considered suspicious behaviour, which then bars you from anything 'sensitive' (remember, this includes any job handling data, money, stock or people. Has anyone yet come up with a job that doesn't?)

    Like Mr Walden, I'd rather rely on reputation, and assume innocent until proven guilty. The CRB assumes guilt, so I won't use them.

    Report on 11 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • oldhenry
    Love rating 343
    oldhenry said

    Tarmac your drive sorr? Do they have CRB checks? Not on your nelly. What a useless country we live in. Most MPs live a fantasy land where they dream up the Quangos, like the CRB, which gives jobs to their mates. meanwhile in the real world people get stung left , right and centre by those that operate entirely outside of the syetm.

    I would only ever employ someone on a personal recomendation of someone I trust.

    Report on 15 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • dave001
    Love rating 0
    dave001 said

    Well there is another similar platform with the name TaskPal: http://www.taskpal.co.uk. We have not heard much about this new business but it seems to be doing something very different from all the rest. So far their website seems to be focusing on the West Midlands, UK.

    Report on 05 May 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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