This story has been updated. It was originally published on May 30, 2019.
You might not realize just how many tasks can be carried out via your smartphone, but you can do pretty much anything if you’ve got the right apps. That doesn’t just mean playing games, surfing the web, or posting photos—you can use it to knock things off your to-do list, too.
From making restaurant reservations to finding someone to fix a leak in your basement, we’ve collected some of the top apps that will turn your phone into an outsourcing machine.
Not only is TaskRabbit simple to use, but it covers a broad range of services. These include assembling furniture, fetching groceries, cleaning the house, helping with house moves, and more. TaskRabbit Taskers will even stand in a line for you.
First, choose the job you need a hand with and the app will show you a list of qualified Taskers, together with their hourly rates and reviews from previous users. You’ll be able to pick appointment times and organize any further details inside the app.
All potential Taskers have been interviewed and had their identities checked, and each job is backed by a “happiness pledge.” So if something goes wrong, the company will consider offering you up to $10,000 (it used to be $1 million) if a Tasker damages your property, and the same amount if they physically hurt you or steal from you. For basic jobs and assistance, TaskRabbit covers just about everything you could think of.
Any kind of job that attracts freelancers—from writing social media posts to developing mobile apps—can be farmed out through Upwork, a platform that aims to make it as simple as possible to connect clients and freelancers.
Let’s say you need a new logo for your business. Open the app and start browsing qualified designers and creatives, checking out their rates, experience, and ratings from previous clients. When you find someone you like, arrange the assignment via the app, using its integrated messaging and file sharing service.
Fancy Hands promises “assistants for everyone,” which means you can get help with just about anything a personal assistant might handle—from finding a venue for a kid’s birthday party to researching information for your latest book.
Pricing starts at $17 per month for three requests and goes up to $150 a month for 30. Those requests may include finding the perfect person to walk your dog in a certain area, organizing transport to the airport, calling electrical retailers to find shops with iPads in stock, or canceling your cable subscription.
The mobile app gives you instant access to your personal assistants and the task requests you’ve submitted, so you can manage your outsourcing on the go and look back through completed work.
Fiverr works like Upwork, but is typically more suitable for smaller, lower-cost jobs. Its name stems from its original business model of offering work that could be done for $5, but its services now cover a whole host of price points.
So, you can use Fiverr to find someone to compose your social media messages, translate a document, or record a voiceover for a video. It’s aimed particularly at small business owners who might want to outsource different bits of their business without taking someone on full time.
The app takes you through the whole process, step-by-step, from determining what exactly you’re after, to connecting you with suitable freelancers, to arranging the details of the job and handling payment.
With Seamless on your phone, you need never to cook (or wash dishes) again. It connects you to restaurants offering takeout and delivery services in your area, so you can get the food you want delivered to your door as quickly as possible.
With 20 years of experience, Seamless generally does a good job of outsourcing cooking for a reasonable fee. That long heritage also means plenty of restaurants have signed up for the service as well, giving you lots of choices.
Part of the app’s appeal is its versatility. It’ll let you filter food options by price, combine different orders together, and is perfect for tailoring your meals. You can even leave a tip inside the app, too.
Thumbtack promises to help you find local pros for just about anything, whether you need someone to provide flowers for your wedding or DJ at the reception afterwards. You can find personal trainers, plumbers, landscapers, photographers, and plenty more through the app.
The platform takes most of the hassle out of connecting with someone who can do a job for you—profile pages show you exactly who you’re dealing with, how much experience they have, and how much they’re going to charge.
Inside the app, you can narrow your outsourcing options based on filters including the date you need help, how long the job is going to take, and the sort of work you want assistance with.
Google Duplex was unveiled last year and is now widely available across the US. Essentially, it uses Google Assistant to make bookings over the phone for you, whether that’s for an evening meal or a haircut.
The Duplex system speaks and interacts remarkably like a human would, though it gives the person on the other end of the line a heads-up that they’re talking to an automated robot. If you don’t have time to book a table, or arrange to get your car serviced, Google Duplex can do it for you.
You can access Duplex through the Google Assistant app. Just ask to make a reservation somewhere, and the Assistant will take care of the rest. If any extra details are needed, the app will confirm them with you before making a call.
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