Uber Is Asking Drivers If They Want to Perform Other Services

Does Uber want to be the new TaskRabbit?

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Uber is gauging drivers' interest in doing other on-demand tasks. Recode uncovered an email the company sent to drivers asking if they would be willing to take on other tasks, such as cleaning, moving, and delivering food, and how much they would want to be paid for those services.

The email said these TaskRabbit-like requests would be "similar to ride requests from Uber," with services coordinated through the Uber app just like rides. Uber drivers were directed to a survey that listed tasks, including healthcare services, moving services, customer service, retail, cleaning services, clerical tasks, warehouse tasks, and food service tasks. It asked the minimum amount drivers would want to be paid for these services.

Uber would not comment, but Recode said the company has been planning on offering new on-demand services over the last year or so, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. But it's unclear how far along the process is.

Uber has already dabbled in services beyond rides with its UberRush and UberEats delivery services. In 2014 the company also launched a product delivery service called UberEssentials, although that was scrapped after just five months.

It's hard to say whether Uber drivers will be willing to take on more freelance work, although that may be in keeping with the "gig economy" that has grown as traditional employment has lagged. Uber likes to portray its drivers as part-timers who don't rely on driving as their primary source of income, or at least don't plan to over the long term. But it's possible that drivers could try to piece together a series of on-demand task jobs to come up with enough income to live on.

Other services could provide both drivers and Uber with more sources of revenue. But the increase of freelance labor could also exacerbate tensions between Uber and its workers, and draw more scrutiny from regulators.