Last month, we wrote about TaskRabbit's decision to blow up its old auction-house model in favor of a new, more Uber-like system for getting labor on demand. Today the company is moving ahead with that plan, rolling out new apps for iOS and Android that let you hire movers, house cleaners, handymen, and other assistants. The new app lets you hire help, securely chat with the person you've hired, and manage payments in a single place. "Taskers," as the company now calls its contractors, will use a separate app to coordinate their jobs.
Starting today, all taskers are now hired at hourly rates. (Previously, they would bid on jobs.) And TaskRabbit is increasing the amount of insurance it offers on each task to $1 million, so that both clients and taskers are protected in case something goes wrong. The home-services industry is growing increasingly heated — Thumbtack and Handybook, which also connect people with professional services, have raised tens of millions of dollars this year as part of ambitious expansion plans. With today's move, TaskRabbit is hoping to make its service radically easier to use — and fend off its deep-pocketed rivals in the process. Download the new apps for iOS and Android.