Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Outsource Your Chores.


Beverly Hills-born DoMyStuff.com is an online marketplace where busy people can quickly find others to do their chores, from mowing the lawn or picking up dry cleaning to researching a cruise or planning a party.

How it works? Someone posts a task, choosing a relevant category and describing the task in detail. Businesses and individuals then bid for the task. Bids include the total cost to complete a task, when it will be completed and information on the service they will provide. The customer reviews the bids and chooses an assistant. Customers can view in-depth information on the service providers, including their names, locations and the ratings they've been awarded by past employers.

In addition to the bidding system, DoMyStuff has integrated several other features that take it beyond posting casual jobs on Craigslist or other boards. First of all, a rating system lets users share information on the quality of service providers. Which is important, considering many chores take place in or around a customer's home, making safety and reliability a key issue.

Secondly, to establish trust between buyers and providers, DoMyStuff provides an online escrow system that allows customers to forward payment for a task into an escrow account. While the task is being completed, neither customer nor assistant have access to the funds, but the assistant is able to see that the account has been funded for a specific task. Once the job has been completed to the customer's satisfaction, the funds are released to the assistant. Which protects both buyers and sellers.

DoMyStuff's charges service providers a commission if they're awarded a job. Commission rates vary according to a job's category and total cost, ranging from 7–10%. The service is free for buyers, who have the option of paying a small fee to highlight their project, bringing it to the top of a category (much like Google's sponsored links). The company is currently focused on Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. One to start up locally before they go global?

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