App-based services like TaskRabbit and Fiverr crowdsource work opportunities by connecting people who need money with others who need someone to perform one-off jobs. While users have yet to request HVAC installations or mud logging on the platforms, the business model might click one day with skilled techs who are looking for side gigs—or even full time jobs.
Here’s a rundown of odd-job crowdsourcing sites that could turn the way that field service professionals seek and do work on its head.
Described as an eBay for errands, TaskRabbit lets users post tasks on the site and declare the maximum amount they would pay someone to do the job. Pre-certified, background-checked TaskRabbits bid on completing the task, and the solicitor selects whoever is the best match. Workers have profiles and receive reviews from their temporary bosses. As of April, the company reports that it’s adding 1,000 “Rabbits” each month.
With the tagline “real help from real people in real time,” Google Helpouts are a mash-up of Google+ Hangouts and Google Wallet. Users connect via video chat with experts in whatever it is that they need help with. Google approves every provider and takes 20 percent of each transaction. Remote assistance already is critical to field service roles. According to the 2013/2014 Service, Revenue and Training Trends Report, 56 percent of field service managers surveyed said that remote diagnostics are the most important area of training for technicians.
Fiverr aids in the buying and selling of “micro gigs” online. It’s set up differently from TaskRabbit, in that the worker posts tasks or skills, such as “I will secure and speed up your website” and “I will set up and configure Linux firewall,” that can be purchased for $5 to $500.
Gigwalk bills itself as a temp agency that runs through a mobile app, according to Forbes. Companies register “gigs” and pay users to complete tasks like checking product placement and in-store displays to improve shelf compliance. Currently there are 325,000 Gigwalkers in the U.S., Canada and the UK.
Another retail application, WeGoLook dispatches in-person “lookers” to verify product claims by Internet sellers. It’s designed to help people avoid scams, but the platform is also being used by the likes of Amazon and eBay to extend same-day delivery services, according to a press release.
Services like TaskRabbit don’t offer benefits — or job security, and it’s not likely they’ll replace highly skilled labor anytime soon. But could a crowdsourcing model work in field service industries in the future? Let us know what you think in the comments below.