Outsource Your Personal Chores and Errands

You can outsource business tasks with sites like RentACoder, Elance, oDesk and many others. But imagine what you could do if someone else could clean your house, shop for groceries, take care of the pet or handle invitations to an upcoming event.

The concept of outsourcing can go beyond using virtual assistants, web designers and programmers. By outsourcing chores, you can remove the stressful things in your life, and as a result, have more time to do the things you love.

Deciding What to Outsource

Web workers often do many tasks that go beyond their areas of expertise. It may be worth investigating the possibility of having someone else take on those energy-sapping chores. How do you decide if you should outsource chores, and which ones? Here are some factors to look at:

  • Take an honest look at your life. Is your mind constantly racing because you have too much going on? Do you miss important events or milestones of friends and loved ones? Are you losing touch with friends and family due to an overloaded schedule? Do you keep thinking about work when you’re not working? What’s the point of earning money if you’re not going to make the most out of your life?
  • Evaluate the time and cost. Figure out how long it takes you to complete the chore. Then, calculate how much you would earn if you drop the chore for more income-producing work. Use that number to help you determine how much you would pay someone to do the chore.
  • Account for possible training time. Some chores may require initial training. To shorten the training time, document the process. Even though the freelancer might do this type of work on a regular basis, the process may not be identical for all clients.
  • Review spending habits. You may find areas where you can buy fewer things and invest that into outsourcing to gain more time. It’s a sacrifice, but the extra time can be worth it.
  • Consider chores you despise. These exhausting chores interfere with your emotional state and energy levels, which affect work and personal activities. Hiring someone else to take on hated chores could give you extra energy and time to do the things you enjoy.

Available Outsourcing Sites and Services

You can enter your zip code or city on many of the following web sites to receive a list of services in your area. Other web sites ask you to answer a series of questions and serve up a handful of matches. However, in researching sites that provide these services, I have seen some serious complaints. As with everything else online, do your due diligence.

For live advice, try LivePerson, a marketplace for chatting live with experts in many topics ranging from health issues to spirituality. Browse for the service you need for a list of experts along with their bios, their cost per minute and whether they’re currently available.

You can enter chore requests in DoMyStuff and RunMyErrand. RunMyErrand is limited to Boston, but other cities have similar services. TaskUs not only lists administrative and sales and marketing services, but also personal services such as event planning, selling stuff and travel help. Then there’s craigslist.

Another option is to use a search engine. If you have a specific job in mind such as a chef preparing meals or a dry cleaning service that picks up and drops off dry cleaning, a search engine can help you find local resources. For example, enter “dry cleaning delivery service” to see a list of local services that provide delivery. Some search results include ratings and reviews. If you’re traveling and in need of a suit pressing, use your laptop or cell phone to search for a local delivery service to take care of it for you.

What chores do you outsource or want to outsource? How do you find and evaluate the contractor?

Photo by stock.xchng user Sanja Gjenero

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