In this series of posts, we’re delving into the world of the Shared Economy. In this post we focus on the task sharing economy and explore what you need to know before you begin outsourcing your life.

What is Task Sharing?

Struggling to put together your new Ikea desk? Who needs a man when you have your hassle-free task-sharing app.

Task Sharing creates a marketplace where people provide services for each other, outsourcing mundane personal tasks. This area of the shared economy leads to a growth of opportunities, furthering job freedom and boosting opportunities for freelancers.

TaskRabbit – ‘we do chores, you live life’.

TaskRabbit, although not yet available in Australia, is one of the global leaders of the task sharing economy. Since its launch in 2008, TaskRabbit has connected communities, in their words – ‘a virtual neighbourhood’ allowing people to help out with each other’s everyday to-do lists.

Starting out in 2008, TaskRabbit created a platform where workers could choose which jobs to fulfil and who to fulfil them for. Building an online marketplace has its own set of challenges. Marketing costs and quality control are amongst these, but TaskRabbit started to observe a trend where once connected, users began to circumvent its platform to avoid extra fees. In 2014, TaskRabbit adopted a new, agency-like business model, restricting their services to just four options; handyman work, home cleaning, moving help and personal assistant services.

AirTasker – ‘get more done’.

Australia’s own task-sharing app. Employing a similar model to TaskRabbit, AirTasker similarly creates an online marketplace for people and businesses to outsource tasks. This Sydney start-up, allows task runners to browse tasks, profiles and recommendations to determine who they want to work with.

Remember that a 15% service fee will be deducted from any offered price tag, to cover insurance, handling and transaction costs. On the plus side, as a AirTasker, you will be covered under their $20 million dollar insurance policy.

Get Started as Job Poster

Step 1: Post your task.

Create a description of the task you need completed. Platforms such as AirTasker allow you to post this for free. Make sure you are comprehensive and detailed to make sure your task is completed the same way you would do it.

Step 2: Pick who is right to complete your task.

View offers and select the person you think is right for the job. Communication is key, so keep in contact with your ‘task runner’ through messages or comments.

Step 3: Add money to your funds.

Most platforms in the shared economy are cashless, and task sharing is no exception. For example, on AirTasker, add money to your account so that transactions are seamless.

Step 4: Enjoy your free time!

Go for a walk, take a bath, or read a book. Arrange the finer details with your ‘task runner’, and once satisfied with the completed task, release the funds to their account.

Get Started as a worker

Step 1: Select a task that suits you.

Browse through the tasks on offer and select the one you are interested in completing. Make a price offer you believe is fair, and sell yourself to the ‘job poster’. Just like you would in a resume, include and skills or experiences that will set you apart from the rest of their offers.

Step 2: Start completing your task.

Once accepted, start communicating! Ask questions about the finer details and get started on completing the task.

Step 3: Pay Day!

Don’t worry – you will get paid. The ‘job poster’ would have already successfully transferred payment, and platforms such as AirTasker release it to you upon completion of the task.

Things to Consider

Tax Implications

As an AirTasker worker, you now have to declare GST if your combined annual turnover is over $75,000.

This involves ensuring to do the following:

  • Charge GST when you make a taxable supply.
  • Claim any input tax credits you’re entitled to.
  • Lodge an activity statement and remit any net GST from your activities.

If you earn under the $75,000 threshold, you still need to declare this income in your tax return. You can also claim deduction for any fees, so make sure you keep a detailed record of all tasks you complete.

Learn more about the Tax Implications of the Shared Economy

Don’t be oblivious!

Although the freedom of task sharing is enticing, it is important to recognise the downsides.

David Weil, from the US Department of Labour Administration points out his concerns:

‘When employers improperly classify employees as independent contractors, the employees may not receive important workplace protections such as the minimum wage, overtime compensation, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation’.

Income is unreliable and unpredictable, and on a bad week, may result in insufficient pay. Insurance policies aside, there are no benefits, such as sick leave, disability policies or retirement assistance.

Additionally, you’re all on your own. As a contractor, the responsibilities of finding hours, maintaining your schedule and keeping up with tax obligations are all on you.

This may be the last post of the series but there’s always more to learn! Let us know your thoughts on the Shared Economy by tagging us #lawpath or @lawpath.

Sharlene Han

Sharlene is a paralegal at LawPath that works on our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. In accordance to her belief that the law should be accessible by all, her writing focuses on trending topics in both the legal and technological spheres.