Dear Savvy Senior: What’s the best way to find good, trustworthy, qualified people who can help seniors with home chores or small jobs? — Looking for Mom
Dear Looking: Getting help at home for any number of household tasks is a lot easier than it use to be thanks to a number of web-based tools that can quickly and easily connect you and your mom to a wide variety of skilled, carefully vetted workers.
Here’s what you should know.
Finding qualified help
One of the best ways to find qualified, reliable, trustworthy people that can help with home chores and other small jobs is through referrals from people you trust.
But if your friends or family don’t have any recommendations, there are a number of online companies you can turn to now like TaskRabbit.com and Takl.com.
These are on-demand service companies that can quickly and easily connect you to skilled workers to handle a wide variety of household chores and small jobs, like cleaning and housekeeping, moving and packing, lawn and yard cleanup, handyman tasks, grocery shopping, running errands, furniture assembly, picture hanging, closet organizing and much more.
TaskRabbit currently has more than 60,000 Taskers (workers) in 47 U.S. cities, while Takl currently serves 75 U.S. cities with around 35,000 workers.
All you need to do is download their app, or go to their website, and select the service your mom wants done and set a time when she would like the worker to show up.
The software then matches your request and provides you a list of qualified, feedback-rated workers (including their hourly rate) from which to choose. Once the job is complete, payment is done through the company’s app.
You should also know all TaskRabbit and Takl workers have to go through a thorough vetting process before they can join their respective company including extensive background checks.
If, however, you can’t find a skilled worker through TaskRabbit or Takl, or if they don’t serve your area, another option is Amazon Home Services at Amazon.com/services. Like TaskRabbit and Takl, Amazon will connect you to qualified workers that handle dozens of household chores and other small jobs.
Amazon also screens all workers through media searches, online interviews, reference checks and background checks.
All experts need to have licenses and insurance.
To purchase and book a service, you can either buy a prepackaged service with a fixed price (like two hours of cleaning) or you can submit a custom request and receive estimates.
When booking, you select three different dates and time frames and the pro confirms an appointment. All payment is done through your Amazon account.
Need a tradesman
If your mom primarily needs a tradesman like a plumber, electrician, painter, roofer or carpenter for home repairs or remodel projects, you should also check HomeAdvisor.com and AngiesList.com.
Both of these sites can connect you with prescreened, customer-rated service professionals in your area for free.
Another option you should know about is AskUmbrella.com, which is a fee-based membership service for seniors 60-plus that provides qualified, vetted workers to do small jobs in and around the house for only $16 per hour. Currently available in New York, they are expanding nationally over the next year.
If your mom is on a tight budget, you should also contact her nearby Area Aging Agency (call 800-677-1116), who can refer you to services in her area, if available.
For example, some communities have volunteer programs that provide chore and handyman services to help seniors in need. And some local nonprofits offer residential repair services that offer seniors minor upgrades and adaptations to their homes.
Jim Miller is a contributor to NBCTV’s “Today” program and author of “The Savvy Senior.” Send your questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070; or visit savvysenior.org.