Author Archives for ladystensberg

About ladystensberg

Hi all! My name is Sarah. I am a 33-year-old doggie mom living in Seattle with my husband and our super amazing 4-year-old black lab named River. I have always hated the 9-5 grind so I started this blog to help share my quest of finding independence from traditional jobs.

Comparison: Handy vs. TaskRabbit

It’s time for the blog post you’ve all been waiting for (or not – I have very few followers at the moment). This is a comparison post of the Handy platform and the TaskRabbit platform.

 

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Pay rate: In Seattle, you can make either $20 or $25 per hour, depending on the tier you’re in (1 or 2). Handy doesn’t make it clear which tier you belong to, but I gathered that it has to do with the number of jobs you complete.

Fees against the Handy Pro (i.e. the person completing jobs):

  • Cancellations: In the United States, if a Handy Pro cancels a job under 48 hrs before the start of the job, they are charged between $10 and $50 as a cancellation fee – the amount depends on how close to the job it is before canceling.
  • Late arrival: If you are late and don’t communicate with the customer, you are charged a $15 fee.
  • Missed job: See cancellation fee info.
  • Early departure: Handy’s help articles state that if you leave a job early, you’ll be charged a fee, but they don’t state how much the fee is.
  • Key Replacement: If you lose a customer’s key (to access their home for a job), you’ll be charged a $25 replacement fee.
  • Damaged/Lost Item: If you lose or damage a customer item, you’ll be responsible for a $5 fee to “cover the costs of the claim”.

Finding work: The handy app lists available jobs that a customer has posted. You can look at these per day. You can claim jobs by clicking on the job and claiming it. Once a job is claimed, you receive the exact location of the job and it will be added to your schedule through the Handy app. Note: The number of jobs you claim vs. the number you complete (Handy calls it the “Keep Rate”) matters in terms of how many jobs you’ll have access to claiming through the platform. If your Keep Rate is below 85%, you won’t be able to claim jobs further in the future (e.g. you won’t see jobs for next week, only this week).

Billing: Once the job is complete, you mark the job complete and the flat rate for the job is added to your Handy account. The job amount is based on the job multiplied by the number of estimated hours it should take to complete the job. There’s no way for the Handy Pro to add time to the job. The customer must do that on their end.

Job rating: Customers have the opportunity to provide a rating for you once the job is completed, 1 to 5 stars. This rating impacts whether or not you can remain on the app, among other factors such as late arrivals, cancellations, etc.

 

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Pay rate: You choose. TaskRabbit provides you with feedback on whether or not your rates are too low, too high, or just right based on current market supply & demand and your experience on the app. The more jobs you complete, the more likely you are to get hired at a higher rate. For example, I began at $17/hour in early June and I am now at $22/hour.

Fees against the Tasker (i.e. the person completing jobs): ZERO. That’s right. TaskRabbit does not charge the tasker a single fee – not for late arrivals, cancellations, or anything else. The customer, however, gets charged for canceling late on a tasker, and for booking the job. TaskRabbit charges the customer X number of dollars, minus a 15% service fee. The cancellation fee against the customer is 1 hr of the tasker’s time. For example, if a customer cancels on me at the last minute, they must compensate me for one hour of my time at my hourly rate at the time of the booking.

Finding work: The customers come to you! Once you set up your rates, you can set your availability about 2 weeks out in advance. This makes you available for customers to search and book you. No need to do the busy work there.

Billing: Once the job is complete, you’ll create the customer invoice through the platform. Enter the number of hours you worked and any expenses you incurred and it will be sent to the customer. When the customer receives the invoice, they can choose to leave a tip. You have complete control over how many hours you bill the customer for.

Job rating: Ratings from customers are a thumbs up or thumbs down, which they can make better by leaving specific comments. You also have business metrics, such as response rate, acceptance rate, and completion rate. Your metrics and your rating help get clients.

 

Overall Assessment:

My overall assessment is that TaskRabbit reigns supreme. While you can’t go looking for your own jobs on the TaskRabbit platform, you do have more control over how and when you do the work. TaskRabbit allows you to communicate with your client easily and gives you the ability to reschedule or cancel as needed. TaskRabbit provides a better experience to Taskers by providing more flexibility overall. The main benefit of Handy is the ability to claim jobs rather than waiting for someone to hire you. However, I have found that receiving jobs isn’t difficult.

I hope this comparison helps provide you with the information you need to choose a platform for your independent work! Stay tuned for more updates and helpful tips!

Feelings & Financials

It’s time to review how well things are going for me since leaving full-time work to pursue freelance endeavors. Let’s start with the mushy stuff.

Feelings

I feel really good about what I’m doing. I have the flexibility to make my own schedule. I can set my own hours, pick which jobs I want to do, and charge what I want (I sell myself short in this department because I want to get clients quickly). The only thing I’m hating right now is toilets. They all smell the same and I’m tired of cleaning them. Also, tubs and showers are the WORST! See below for proof.

Financials

Now onto the interesting part of this post – how much money have I made? Is it really worth it?

Since I began (May 23rd), I have made $1,119 for 55.75 hours. This works out to be $20.07/hour. Of this $1,119, I have made $97.62 in tips.

How are my earning comparing to my old job? Considering how much money one needs to make in order to afford a 2-bedroom apartment ($36.12/hour), I’m not doing great. This really isn’t enough to support me, my husband, and our dog. I would need to work over 50 hrs per week in order to make what I was making before, assuming I continue to earn a little over $20/hour. But we have a large 3-bedroom apartment in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city. We have debt, a car payment, and a fat dog that needs to be fed. If I were a single person renting a room or a student trying to make extra cash, this would work out nicely for me.

The real question here, though, is: is it worth it? Cleaning for a living isn’t an easy job. Honestly, it’s often disgusting and it’s seriously exhausting. But there are also a lot of really great things about it. It gives me time to think about my life and my future plans and endeavors. It’s also a great way to zone out – it’s surprisingly relaxing, in some ways. If people are there, I get to have interesting conversations about their lives. I learn a lot about the people I clean for through their messes and the stuff they own. And like I said before – I can make my own hours and do things how I want to do them and that is really invaluable. I’m going to continue this for awhile and see how it goes.

Stay tuned – my next blog post will be comparing Handy and TaskRabbit. Which should you use for booking cleaning gigs?

P.S. The below kitty is a client’s kitty who REALLY likes to sit on the clean laundry as I attempt to fold it. ❤

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Burgers & Breakthroughs

Yesterday, I had my first shift at the local burger joint I mentioned in Milkshakes & Mops. In case you were wondering, I wore another Star Wars shirt and milkshake ended up all over Princess Leia (RIP Carrie Fisher). I really enjoyed the work – taking food orders, calling it back to the cooks, making drinks and milkshakes. I have worked with food and drinks before (at a Starbucks licensed store inside of a Safeway), but it has been a really long time (like over 10 years).

At one point during my shift, I started talking to my new boss about why I was doing what I was doing – working at the burger place, cleaning houses, doing deliveries, blogging, etc. I told him that I was taught that success came from work that others would deem valuable – such as high pay, specialized jobs, or highly valued/respected industries. Burger flipping wasn’t any of these things. Serving food, cleaning houses, delivery – none of these occupations would be considered respected or valued or high in pay. It somewhat shocked me to realize (i.e. my breakthrough) that my reasons for doing this were to re-evaluate and and redefine my definition for success. I am exhausted by my efforts to get a degree when no one thing seems to fit. I am over the judgment from others and the harsh criticisms I place on myself for no good reason. I am not doing all of this just to break free of the 9 to 5 – I want to stop making myself feel bad for not “succeeding” in the 9 to 5, and I really want to help others do the same. That is what this blog is all about. Off we go!

Birthdays & Buzzcuts

Today is my husband’s birthday. We didn’t do much – laundry, dealing with taking out the recycling and garbage, packing for a quick Portland trip this weekend – oh, and yeah – I chopped off all of my hair!

Honestly, it was time. I really love short hair and have been getting it cut short for a while now. But after all the sweating I did yesterday while cleaning that giant house and after waking up every morning with my hair all over the place – I knew it was time to cut it WAY down.

I’m not going to lie – I feel like I did something a little insane and I’m probably 60% in denial right now. But, it feels nice and it’s only going to get hotter. #SummerIsComing

That’s all for now. We’re going to be gone until Sunday afternoon so I’ll write more then. Also, don’t grow too accustomed to the clever blog post titles. They probably won’t last.

Dentists & Deliveries

Today was an interesting day. My husband had a dentist appointment that I forgot about, so I had to drive him about 30 minutes away (our dentist is amazing). Walked the dog, got gas and drove like a bat out of hell to pick up an order for a delivery job I had through TaskRabbit. I live in Seattle – Microsoft is HUGE here and they have over 1,000,000 sq ft office space in the Puget Sound Area. In fact, my last “real” job was working for a real estate & facilities management company. One of their contracts is managing all of Microsoft’s facilities in this area. My job was supervising the night team and helping dispatch out issues. Funny story – the company had a call center in India. They would get the calls/chats from Microsoft employees. The people in India would then call us and we would call the actual plumber/electrician/whatever to do the work. It’s all very inefficient and a sore subject for the people on my ex-team.

Anywho, back to my delivery. City Center Plaza is a large office building in Downtown Bellevue, which is probably about 20 minutes outside of Seattle. I had to pick up the delivery from a local sandwich shop and then deliver to City Center Plaza. I had never been there before so I somehow overlooked the clearly labeled elevators that told me that floors 1-14 were accessed from the elevators on my left (I needed floor 2). Instead, I hopped in the right side set of elevators and had a fun ride all the way to the 26th floor, and then all the way back down. I still managed to complete my delivery in under 15 minutes from pick up to drop off. DAMN, I’m good – although my customer still hasn’t acknowledged the delivery, nor tipped me. Then again, I charge $17/hour for deliveries with a 1 hr minimum so…cool.

After finishing up with the delivery, my husband was done at the dentist so I jetted back across town to pick him up. We found out we owe the dentist $800 on top of the $400 we just paid. Tell me again why insurance is mandatory if they don’t cover everything we need?

When we got home, I had just enough time to shower and load of the car before driving another 30 minutes away to my cleaning job, thanks to Handy (another job app I’ll blog more about later). Before I dive into this job, let me say that the person who hired me wrote on the listing that the home was 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. When I arrived and found myself standing in front of a giant house (later to be discovered as having 4 bedrooms – 5 if you include the office downstairs and 2.5 bathrooms), I panicked a little bit. I had never cleaned a large house before. EVERY FLOORSPACE WAS HARDWOOD (or really nice laminate) and it ALL needed to be swept and mopped. I only have a basic Swiffer and a steam mop (mentioned here) and this was a big job. I’ll admit I rushed a bit because I was afraid I wouldn’t get done in time. I did the dishes, wiped the counters, dusted, cleaned the bathrooms, swept, mopped…and by the time I was done, I was sweating like crazy and completely drained. But I managed to finish in 2.5 hrs. Was it perfect? No. But I feel that I did a 3/5 star job. My client didn’t agree and gave me a 1 star. Today was exhausting and I am ending it with a pineapple frozen fruit bar and American Idol. I hope this gets easier.

Milkshakes & Mops

Today, I learned that milkshake machines are pretty much the devil (my favorite Star Wars t-shirt agrees) and mopping with a Swiffer is a pain in the ass. Let me explain.

My day began with driving my husband to work. He bribed me with donuts and coffee at our favorite donut shop – Mighty-O. If you live in the Seattle area and you love donuts, you have to check this place out. All of their donuts are vegan (but you wouldn’t know it by taste – they are amazing) and they hand make the chocolate sauce that they use for their mochas (and chocolate donuts) – also vegan.

After coffee and dropping my husband off at work, I drove over to my very first cleaning job – procured thanks to the job platform TaskRabbit (I’ll blog more about this later). My first client was at work when I arrived. He had planned on letting me in through a lockbox but unfortunately, it was removed by management. He fought with them for awhile to try to get them to let me into the building. After 45 minutes of waiting, a kind tenant let me into the building. It was at this moment that I learned that the elevators were out, so I had to carry my cleaning supplies up 4 flights.

One of my tasks was to wash and dry all of the towels and linens. After collecting everything and throwing them into a heap onto the floor, I realized that there was no money to do the laundry. I contacted the client and he told me to just do them next time – so I hung all of the towels back up and put all of the linens back on the bed. I was thankful for not having to the laundry today, though – it turns out the laundry is in the basement of the building – 5 flights back down and no elevator! I did my cleaning and my mopping – by the way, Swiffer wet mops are a pain because they get dirty and dry out so quickly! I am officially recommending a steam mop like the one I use at home. It is efficient and is a no-waste product – you can wash the mopheads over and over!

After my cleaning job, I went home and showered – all of that sweat and stinky cleaning smells needed to be removed ASAP. After walking the dog, I went to the local burger joint for a bit of register training. Most of it was typical customer service (I’ve got that in spades) and some new knowledge of operating the registers. I wasn’t, however, prepared for the evil that is milkshake machines. Operating them takes a certain finesse that my new boss says, “takes about 100 milkshakes” before you get it down. I’m looking forward to that day because until then, my t-shirts will be exposed to milkshake shrapnel over and over again.

After getting home, I discovered that I received a $5.10 tip from this morning’s cleaning job! AWESOME!

And that concludes my first day. I have more work planned this week and this weekend I will be in Portland visiting family. Stay tuned for more adventures, helpful tips, and wardrobe casualties.

The Last Job

I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours. — Hunter S. Thompson

My parents went to work like every other mom and dad I knew. My dad worked long hours as a welder and my mom worked every day cleaning houses. The thing that set my mom apart, though, was that she was always her own boss. She owned her own business and had the freedom to choose her clients, dates she worked, and how much money she made. She could pick my brother and me up from school and take us to a movie (it happened). She could be there when we got home if she wanted, or come pick us up from school if we were sick. As a child, I saw this as having freedom and I knew that I wanted it, too.

As I got older, I struggled with the idea of having a 9-to-5, and my first jobs lasted mere days or weeks. My desire for job freedom was so strong that I tried starting a business when I was 11, but my lack of knowledge and resources didn’t allow me to get far. Unrelated to my desire for job freedom, I struggled with depression. At age 20, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type II and that issue coupled with being unmedicated made it nearly impossible to hold down a job for longer than a year or two.

As of the date of this post, I am 33-years-old living in Seattle with my husband and dog. Even though I am currently medicated for my mental illness, I still struggle with holding down work. It isn’t just my mental illness or desire for job freedom that holds me back – I am also what some would consider a multipotentialite. I have many interests and passions and I want to pursue all of them in due time. I don’t want to limit myself to just one thing, which is why I have $50,000+ in student loan debt and no degree – I could never decide on what career path to pursue.

So you may be asking yourself where I’m going with all of this. I decided to stop trying to force myself into the 9-to-5 mold. Instead, I am signing myself up for every job platform (e.g. Wag, Instacart, Handy, and TaskRabbit) app I can think of. My hope in starting this blog is to chronicle my efforts in obtaining freedom from the 9-to-5 through working for myself. I am going back to my roots and cleaning houses. I will also be working for a local burger joint part-time (1-2 days per week) for a little stability. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey.

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My bucket of cleaning supplies