Could Side Gig App TaskRabbit Change Temp Industry?

TaskRabbit, the digital service which hooks up part-time job seekers with small gigs around a city, has expanded its business to include longer-term employment, making the menial task assigner more closely resemble a full-fledged temp agency.

The move may excite quite of few of TaskRabbit's small business customers, which represent roughly 35 percent of the company's posted tasks.

TaskRabbit's expansion will allow the service to expand its offerings to businesses by handling the paperwork –– ranging from W2 forms and payroll taxes to workers' compensation and unemployment insurance –– businesses have to process before hiring temps. The expanded service will also let employers take a look at a temp's skill set by matching their LinkedIn profile to their TaskRabbit profile to make better employment matches.

"We've optimized TaskRabbit for Business to facilitate quick posting for administrative, customer service, sales, and data-entry jobs," TaskRabbit said in a company blog post. "During our beta period, these job types proved to be the most popular. Yet, business users can easily customize job listings for any type of position."

In return, TaskRabbit takes a 26 percent cut of an employee's take. Traditional temp agencies, by contrast, says Victor Echevarria, TaskRabbit's head of business development, in an interview with The Next Web, demand a 40 to 60 percent cut.

The temp agency industry boomed in recent years thanks to the effects of the Great Recession –– which not only hit those who've had established jobs, but also recent college graduates who've found themselves thrust into a hyper-competitive job market with high student loan burdens. The traditional temp industry nets about $230 billion a year, according to TechCrunch.

"The biggest challenge was compliance. Businesses who want to hire temps or even want to hire people full-time, there's a lot of paperwork and headaches involved in having a compliant workforce," Echevarria said to GigaOm. "A large percentage of the work we put into this was creating a legally complaint solution."

And there are a lot of positions available. The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report in early May, finding employers have added 184,000 temp jobs within the past year, up 7.4 percent over a 12 month period. But, as The Verge's Casey Newton notes, many of those workers would likely have had traditional jobs if not for economic hardship: 70 percent of TaskRabbit's contractors, she notes, have at least a bachelor's degree.

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