NEWS

Service fees: providing context and transparency

By Tim Fung

Updated: April 5th, 2018

We're sharing - what it is and what it covers...

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Quite often at Airtasker we get asked why there’s a need to charge a service fee (or what the service fee actually covers).

So in the interest of transparency, we’d like to provide a little more context on what’s provided within the service fee and how these funds are re-invested back into the Airtasker Community and the creation of more Australian earning opportunities.

“… our long-term priority at Airtasker is to maximise the total amount of earnings for Taskers…”

Before we jump in, it’s worth noting that our long-term priority at Airtasker is to maximise the total amount of earnings for Taskers, not the amount of fees that we charge. In the long run, we believe that Airtasker’s revenue will be maximised if we relentlessly focus on “growing the pie” (maximising Tasker earnings) rather than “cutting a bigger slice” (charging lots of fees). So everything that we do is aligned to this goal: increasing earning opportunities for our community.

That said, in order to be able to achieve this long-term goal, we believe that service fees have a role to play – both in creating a positive user experience and building a sustainable company in the long run.

First up, let’s start with by taking a look at the “back office essentials” which need to be paid on every task transaction before even considering what arrives at Airtasker. Below is a high-level breakdown of these approximate costs:

  • Goods and services tax (GST) – Airtasker is required to pay to the Australian government GST of 10% of the service fee charged. As a result, about 9.1% of the total amount paid is not received by Airtasker.
  • Payment processing charges – up to 20% of the service fee is required to be paid to a payments processing technology provider to cover merchant fees, credit card chargebacks and fraud protection costs.
  • Insurance costs – up to 7% of the service fee paid is passed on to an insurance provider in the form of premiums, administrative costs and contributions to help cover a Tasker’s third party liability for property damage or personal injury to another person whilst completing common tasks – subject to insurance terms and conditions.


Based on this approximation: for every $100 in earning opportunities created for Taskers, about $7-8 arrives at Airtasker.

So, where do these funds actually go?

1. Marketing and Promotion

To bring more tasks onto the Airtasker platform, we reinvest service fees into a range of marketing activities to ensure more earning opportunities are being created for the community. For example, last year we invested more than $7 million into the “Like A Boss” television and outdoor advertising campaign which saw a 100% increase in tasks posted.

We also continue to invest into a range of other marketing channels including Google and Facebook advertising, coupons for Posters to trial Airtasker for the first time and Search Engine Optimisation.

Our “Like a Boss” campaign driven by Alexandra and Simon at Airtasker and created by Mark, Colin, Andrew and Kon at UDKU helped to double earnings for Taskers in 2017.
“Ernie” is a Search Engine Optimisation platform created by Sarah, Sam, Hari, Lorenzo and Alex at Airtasker which helps guide customers searching in Google towards relevant services on Airtasker.
These are the people working hard to take Airtasker to the world – Lucas, Tom, Damien and Kirstine are based in Shoreditch, London.

 2. Software and Technology

In order to maintain, improve and build new features for our website, iPhone app and Android app we employ more than 90 full time staff in software engineering, design and product management roles. This headcount is approximately doubling each year so that we can ensure that Airtasker is a safe and reliable platform and we can deliver a constantly improving customer experience – which drives greater earning opportunities and an improved experience for our community. For example, in 2017 this team built the “increase price” feature to allow either Posters to pay or for Taskers to request an amount in addition to an initially agreed price. This feature allowed for additional earnings to be paid to Taskers on about 15% of all tasks on Airtasker.

These are the people who are designing, engineering and growing the Airtasker platform – 90 people led by Paul, Jen, Fra, Simon, Anne, CJ, Alfred and Mahesh.
Our product, design and engineering teams work hard on iterative improvements to the everyday experience as well as maintenance and building new features into our iPhone app, Android app and website.

3. Moderation and Support

Service fees are also reinvested into initiatives that protect the integrity of the Airtasker Community and help both Taskers and Job Posters if things don’t go to plan. Examples of these initiatives include the development of a new machine learning program called “Alan” which detects and deletes undesirable content and the doubling of our people-powered product and support team to more than 140 full-time staff.

We built a robot named “Alan” who works hard to protect the community from bad actors and dodgy behaviour by identifying and automatically deleting undesirable content. The Airtasker community helps teach Alan by flagging suspicious content – so Alan gets smarter everyday!
These are the people working hard to take support our community – 65 people led by Mark Ong and based in Bonifacio Global City, Manila.
Our team is now working around the clock to help reduce response time. Over the past year, our team has tripled in size and received extensive training which has reduced our average first response time down to less than 2 hours.

Overall, our service fee is purposefully designed to align Airtasker with the community – the more that Taskers earn, the more we earn. We’re also committed to re-investing earnings into building the Airtasker community and creating a sustainable, positive environment for Taskers. As always, we’re looking for ways to improve – so if you have feedback or questions, please feel free to drop us a note here: stayopen@airtasker.com

Cheers, Tim

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim

Co-Founder and CEO, Airtasker

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Comments

  1. Rosemary

    How about sharing how the new fees are determined as well?”
    According to Airtasker
    From the 31st of March 2018 the service fee will change to a variable fee of 4-20% of the assigned task price. The fee charged will be based on several factors such as the offer price, profile information, task location and other factors which drive the Airtasker marketplace.
    The range 4% – 20% is huge and it would be good if Airtasker be transparent how this fee is determined. For example:
    I would image the charge should be lower for remoted tasks since Airtasker dont need to cover insurance premium. A %fee charged by different job categories should also be clearly displayed on you website. I dont like seeing fee randomly changed everytime I bid on tasks. Thanks