A Critical Review from a Tradesman

You may have seen the ads on TV lately or heard of Airtasker but If you haven’t, it’s an online community that allows anyone to post any random job for people to bid on and provide services that you can’t do yourself. The underlying idea is that anyone can outsource literally anything from delivering food, dog walking or replacing windows.

I have tested the platform by setting up a profile and over a period of roughly 6 months, have bid on relevant work. Now as a professional Carpenter with over 18 years industry experience, it has been a complete waste of time for me.

In my experience, the people posting home maintenance jobs are generally selecting the cheapest possible quotes. With these types of works, you really do get what you pay for and the cheapest quote is generally your unqualified person (backyard tradesman) trying to make a bit of extra cash on the side. I have seen the quotes of others in jobs I have bid on and thought to myself “you can’t buy the material let alone provide labour for that price.”

In my profession I’ve heard my share of horror stories – that’s for sure!

It’s never a good day when your called in to fix a renovation gone bad – it’s heart breaking for the owners, especially when the backyard tradesman takes off with the deposit and doesn’t finish the job.

Now, you might be fine with a backyard tradesman but just take note that they may not be insured (in case something goes wrong), they may not be covered by your home insurance and if things go pear shaped, your state consumer body may not be able to assist you with your dispute.

The Experance Express reported that ‘Websites such as Airtasker unpick 150 years of protest and agitation for decent conditions. It’s not only the workers directly engaged in gigs on Airtasker who are affected. By encouraging a race to the bottom, everyone suffers.

‘As things presently stand, if someone slipped and cracked their head while performing a cleaning gig through Airtasker, they would have no entitlement to compensation.’ (2).

The website is setup to benefit the poster of the job rather than the worker or service provider:

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that ‘Unions ACT is troubled by Airtasker’s 15 per cent fee, imposed on workers rather than posters. Mr White said it was a return to 19th century work practices, where employees paid for the opportunity to work’. (1).

We would advise anyone looking at using websites such as Airtasker to ‘proceed with caution and read the fine print before engaging’. Although convenient, the site may not nessecarily yield quality workmanship and you may end up paying double your intended budget when you get a qualified tradesman to come out and finish or fix the job.

There are pros and cons to Airtasker and I’m sure it’s great for certain jobs – I may even use it in future for small jobs around the house I don’t want to do myself however, for carpentry and home maintenance work, I wouldn’t recommend using Airtasker.

1. Sydney Morning Herald, Airtasker’s rapid growth in the ACT raises work safety concerns, 13 Feb 2017.

2. The Experance Express, Airtasker increases recommended hourly rates to above national minimum, 17 Oct 2016.

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