Sorted, the UK startup that originally soft-launched as a reverse marketplace for local jobs akin to TaskRabbit in the U.S. (or a number of local “clones”, such as Sooqini, and TaskPandas), has relaunched today after rejigging its model.
Instead of users having to post what is essentially a classified ad for each job they want done, and then wait for a response, the new site turns the user-path on its head by having the task-doers (or “Sorters”, of which there are already 12,000 signed up) do the upfront work by creating a detailed and structured profile which forms the basis for matching the task-doers with those searching for a specific task to be carried out.
There are 9 categories of task: “Admin”, “Cleaning”, “Cooking”, “Delivery”, “DIY”, “Dog Walking”, “Driving”, “Gardening”, “Manual Labour”, and “Other”. The latter will work like the original model, enabling users to post bespoke tasks that they want carrying out, which are then seen by Sorters who have specified that they are willing to go off the beaten track, such as “dress up as a gorilla and terrify my friends”. Or presumably anything legal and safe.
The end result is a service that solves the original problem — finding local, casual labour — but with a very different user experience, and one that doesn’t have the customer re-invent the wheel every time they want to commission a task to be carried out.
“We basically realised that a reverse marketplace model won’t work in the UK,” says James Pursey. “The British public have so many trust issues and putting them in a scenario of having to be pitched by Sorters is counter intuitive. When somebody is looking for a supplier they typically ask their networks, and failing that they turn to Google, call up a supplier and see if they’re available. They don’t say ‘hey, why should I trust you’, and they definitely don’t send a message through a contact form, like creating a task, and wait for someone to get back to them.”
Instead, Pursey thinks a user interface more akin to Airbnb, which emphasises search and large profiles, will work better. “You land on a beautifully designed page with a search box in the middle asking you to detail your task. Sorted then applies your task needs as filters to its Sorter database and returns the best people for your needs.”
What you end up seeing is a detailed profile page for each result, which includes links to a Sorter’s presence on social networks, and a list of their rates and tasks. You then book and/or correspond with your chosen Sorter. And, as before, Sorted holds the payment until you confirm that the job is completed.