- Outsourcing Help
- Helping your Community
- How Customers Show Their Appreciation
- Impact of Independent Contractors on Customers’ Lives
- It’s Okay to Ask for Help
The sharing economy is large and growing.
To understand the experiences of the people who make up this two-sided marketplace, Taskrabbit, a digital platform connecting people to skilled, reliable Taskers who provide quality services around the home, conducted a study to recognize the impact that these relationships have on customers’ lives.
The study showed how often and why Americans outsource tasks to gig workers—the independent contractors who work within their communities—exploring what they’ve gained by the people they turn to for help.
Number of Americans who outsource help with life tasks
28% of Americans have hired contractors to help with everyday tasks such as Cleaning, Moving, Mounting, and Minor Home Repairs.
Compared to traditional businesses, independent contractors offer flexibility and immediacy for people who want help with their projects. The ability to use an app to peruse independent contractors on their phone, then chat with them directly and get near-immediate responses, offers significant customer service advantages over traditional businesses.
In addition, easy access to customer reviews and cost comparison makes the vetting process simple, reliable, and fast. One no longer must rely on the slower and more limited process of word-of-mouth.
And it looks like this trend is catching on. Since the start of the fiscal year in September 2021, Taskrabbit has seen nearly 50% year-over-year growth in the number of clients and a 54% growth for Taskers. Total Tasker earnings (including tips) is also growing at a similar rate.
The pandemic increased Americans’ need to outsource
In many sectors of the economy around the world, the pandemic accelerated existing trends. The impact on the gig economy was no different. Our study showed that over half of all customers (58%) increased booking independent contractors for help since the pandemic.
This was because the onset of the pandemic generated a higher demand for delivery, errands, and shopping due to social distancing needs. Moreover, people spent significantly more time at home, and they expanded the demand for home and residential services. During the pandemic, there was a growth in residential moving-related tasks such as Packing & Unpacking, Heavy Lifting, and Furniture Assembly.
Then, when the pandemic began to subside and many people returned to the office, one of the in-demand tasks was for pet sitting. Taskrabbit saw a 26% increase in pet sitting requests during this time period, as owners needed someone to walk the dog while they were in the office.
Helping your Community
How often Americans outsource for help
Gig workers are playing an increasingly significant role in people’s lives within their communities. One way to measure this is by asking people how often they choose to outsource a task to an independent contractor versus an alternative option?
For occasional tasks such as electrical work, nearly a third of customers say that they always hire an independent contractor. In a similar vein, when faced with a residential move, 30% of customers choose to hire an independent contractor every time they move rather than use a moving company, ask for help from family and friends, or do the move themselves.
Likewise, for recurring tasks, independent contractors are also playing an increasingly significant role. For 17% of customers, they choose to hire a contractor on a weekly basis for yard work, versus hiring from a different source. Similarly, 17% of customers hire a contractor to clean for them every week — in lieu of a cleaning company or performing the work themselves.
In addition to the frequency with which customers rely on independent contractors, 29 to 58% of all customers stated that they regard independent contractors as essential for a wide variety of home and personal tasks.
If survey respondents needed work done around their home, they are turning to independent contractors often.
Americans are building long-lasting relationships within their communities
Over half of survey respondents said that a working relationship with an independent contractor had developed into a friendship. The high incidence of this unexpected finding points to the significant role they play in customers’ lives and their communities.
The development of friendships also points to the exchange as a human-centric service in a digital age. People came together around a task at hand, and the task evolved into a meaningful connection between the customer and the independent contractor.
54% of survey respondents said that an independent contractor they had hired became a friend.
Speaking of meaning connections, Taskrabbit observed that independent contractors often help people with their special moments, such as weddings, birthdays, and romantic gestures. From 2020 to 2021, Taskrabbit observed an 89% increase in the number of wedding-related tasks, a 53% increase in Valentine’s Day tasks, and a 38% increase in birthday tasks. Customers are calling upon independent contractors to make their special events even more special.
How Customers Show Their Appreciation
Overall satisfaction level with independent contractors
When Americans outsource work to an independent contractor, how satisfied are they with the experience? Our study showed that customers experience over a 90% satisfaction rate, with nearly every one of them (98%) being willing to hire a contractor again.
93% of customers say that they were satisfied with their experience.
How appreciative are Americans toward independent contractors, and how do they show it?
While the vast majority of customers are satisfied with their experience, how often does this translate to appreciation and demonstrating this appreciation? We decided to find out. We measured gratitude in three ways — gestures of appreciation, use of polite language, and tipping attitudes and behavior.
Gratitude is defined as a feeling of appreciation by a recipient of another’s kindness, gifts, or help. In the case of independent contractors, the customer is a recipient of their kindness and help. And our study found that customers overwhelmingly showed gratitude in the following ways:
- Acknowledging good work in person (96%),
- Recommending them to friends and family (95%),
- Giving a good review or rating (93%), and
- Giving extra tip (91%).
Next, we developed a “Gratitude Index,” where we measured how often survey respondents engaged in a variety of gestures of appreciation toward independent contractors. We found that Wyoming, Mississippi, and Georgia topped the list of “Most Appreciative States” in this regard, followed by Vermont, New Jersey, and Oklahoma.
Most polite states
Another way to show appreciation is through politeness. This was measured by the frequency with which customers used polite phrases such as “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry.”
While most customers engaged in these polite gestures, the study found that some states stood above the rest. The states that were the most likely to say “please,” “thank you,” and “sorry” to an independent contractor were:
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
- New Mexico
Best tipping states
Lastly, another way to show gratitude is by tipping. We measured this in two ways.
First, we generated a “Tip Index,” which was a series of seven statements capturing a person’s attitudes toward tips. These statements were categorized as either having a positive attitude toward tips or a negative attitude toward tips.
The states that were the most tip-positive (scored highest on the Tip Index) were:
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
Second, we measured how much people usually tipped and how that differed by state. We found that residents in South Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri were the best tippers — these residents were the most likely to tip over 25% compared to residents in other states.
Impact of Independent Contractors on Customers’ Lives
Besides accomplishing the task at hand, we asked customers how else did independent contractors’ assistance impact and extend into their lives?
We found that the independent contractors’ services reverberated into many different areas of their customers’ lives. Over 80% of customers said that hiring an independent contractor led to their own increased peace of mind, better time management, and the relief that comes with completing a long, unfinished task. Over multiple measures, the impact of these gig workers turned out to be overwhelmingly positive.
Moreover, not only did independent contractors’ assistance improve the lives of their customers, but their help improved the lives of their customers’ friends and family. The independent contractors’ ability to take on tasks for the customer meant that the customer was then able to spend more time with loved ones and improve their relationships with them.
Independent contractors enabled customers to live higher-quality, meaningful lives.
While we observed a growth in outsourcing to gig workers in recent years, and that this outsourcing has had many positive effects — what does this portend for the future?
We asked survey respondents about their plans for the future, and over half of respondents do not plan to reduce their spending on independent contractors, even in the face of possible economic uncertainty. Moreover, about a third of customers actually plan on increasing their use of independent contractors.
In summary, the future looks bright as a healthy demand for independent contractors is expected to continue.
56% of Americans do not plan to reduce their spending on independent contractors, even with the state of the economy and rising inflation.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
In closing, the role and importance of independent contractors are increasing. From home repairs to cleaning, independent contractors make life easier for customers. Along the way, deeper and meaningful connections are budding.
Two-sided marketplace platforms enable both groups of people to live their best lives. Customers receive high-quality services and gain back time for what matters most to them. Independent contractors are empowered to be their own boss, experience trust and meaningful collaboration. Both sides feel a sense of accomplishment after a job well done. Moreover, communities and relationships develop with neighbors helping neighbors.
America is not shying away from showing gratitude and appreciation toward independent contractors. As people who have relied on independent contractors have demonstrated, it is okay to ask for help. Customers gain numerous benefits — for themselves and for their loved ones. They experience increased peace of mind and check off items on their to-do list, while also getting to spend more time with loved ones. Everyone can always use a little extra help.
In June 2022, Taskrabbit conducted a national survey to learn more about American consumers who have hired independent contractors to help with everyday tasks, including, Cleaning, Moving, Mounting, and Minor Home Repairs. Customer data from Taskrabbit was also utilized.
Taskrabbit – Transforming Lives, One Task at a Time