Uber is testing out its own version of TaskRabbit called Uber Tasks in select markets, as first reported by Bloomberg Monday. The service will let users hire people to complete household tasks, expanding beyond ride-sharing and food delivery currently supported on the platform.
“This small pilot is the newest way for drivers and couriers to put their skills to work and earn on their own schedule,” an Uber spokesperson said. “We’re always thinking about how to bring people more ways to earn with Uber.”
The feature is expected to launch in Fort Myers, Florida, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in the coming weeks. Uber drivers in participating cities will be able to opt into the program, allowing them to help customers with small home projects, furniture assembly, lawn mowing, snow removal, and more. Uber tested out another product in Canada back in 2015 when the company ran its first trial of Uber Eats in Toronto.
The new feature most directly comes after TaskRabbit’s business, which was acquired by IKEA in 2017 after raising $38 million in funding. Uber presents a considerable threat to TaskRabbit if the platform is launched globally due to Uber’s sheer size. The company has over six million drivers and couriers around the world, and the platform reached 15 million global members, according to last week’s earnings report.
Uber made over $9 billion in revenue in the last quarter, and though that sounds large, it’s the smallest revenue growth for Uber in over two years. Uber is large but needs to grow larger to satisfy shareholders, and Uber Tasks is exactly the kind of growth it needs. The ride-sharing and food delivery markets have become oversaturated, with newer players like Revel beating Uber on pricing.
New safety measures for Uber drivers also came out on Monday. The ride-hailing company will expand its rider verification program, informing drivers if they’re accepting a trip with a verified rider. This feature would undoubtedly be useful with Uber Tasks as well. “Record My Ride” is another feature for drivers allowing them to record their car using an iPhone’s front-facing camera, and it will also be coming to more cities, says Uber in a blog post.
Safety is a big concern for Uber as it’s currently wrapped up in a massive consolidated lawsuit with 3,800 riders claiming they were sexually assaulted by their drivers. Victims say the company is not taking proper precautions to vet its drivers. This safety concern with drivers could be a hurdle for the company when it comes to Uber Tasks.