February 26, 2016 11:00 am
Updated: February 26, 2016 11:01 am

Edmonton company Squid Arms offers a hand to help with the chores

WATCH ABOVE: Got too much on your plate? Edmonton web-based company Squid Arms is offering à la carte personal assistants to help with cleaning, errands and other dreaded chores. Owners Laurie Wang and Veronica Young joined the Morning News to talk about their company.

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EDMONTON – Do you ever feel like you have too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done? An Edmonton company is hoping to connect busy families and individuals with local helpers, personal assistants if you will, to get chores done.

Web-based startup SquidArms.com is the brainchild of local mom Laurie Wang and her long-time friend Veronica Young. The two wanted something like “an Uber for getting stuff done,” but similar to Airbnb, which shows more information and reviews.

Here’s how it works: shoppers can peruse the profiles of helpers available to do chores for them – from cleaning to shoveling snow, to running errands or walking dogs.

Some of the offerings are quite specific: one helper is available to teach French and help practice conversation in a casual environment, while another will act as a stand-in for home appointments like cable repair, deliveries and utility installs.

Each type of chore lists a starting cost: Personal assistants and errand runners range anywhere from $15 to $30, while spring yard cleaning begins at $100. Helpers set their own rates and decide which chores to accept. The company said it has a vetting process for all potential helpers, who all are rated and reviewed on the site.

Helpers and ‘seekers’ negotiate the details between themselves, and payment is made via credit card on the Squid Arms website.

The startup launched in January and has been busy.

“One helper moved old tires and cans of paint to the eco station, another helper was hired to organize closets and de-clutter,” said Young. “Our goal is to allow people to spend time doing the things they enjoy. We call it, ‘time well spent.'”

Squid Arms is the latest in a host of web-based companies offering lifestyle services.

From eBay and Craigslist to Airbnb and AutoShare, consumers are taking part in what’s being called the “sharing economy”-people using digital technology to provide and consume services in informal, non-business settings.

READ MORE: Will a sharing economy change us from buyers to bartering borrowers?

Need groceries, but don’t want to actually walk the aisles? Superstore offers online shopping. Select your produce, meat, and household items on their website, choose a pickup time and viola! They bring your purchases out to your car.

For those who can’t be bothered to cook groceries, there’s also food delivery services like Skip The Dishes and Just Eat. Consumers can order take-out from dozens of local restaurants via a website or app, and the company provides drivers to deliver the orders.

Edmontonians have also embraced Uber, which uses an app to connect people with drivers. This week, Edmonton became the first city in Canada to legalize such ride-sharing companies, much to the chagrin of local taxi drivers.

READ MORE: Edmonton becomes first city in Canada to legislate ride sharing

While Edmonton has yet see any major snowstorms this winter, when the first blizzard hits you’ll be able to clear your driveway with just a few clicks. SnowTapp is an online platform that matches shovelling requests with local contractors in the area.

“We’re basically modelling us as the Uber for snow removal,” said Sheldon Zhang, co-founder of SnowTapp.

There’s also AskForTask, which acts as an odd-jobs matchmaker for Canadian job-seekers. It was created by two brothers, after they became frustrated with scouring Craigslist and Kijiji listings trying to find a reputable plumber to fix their mom’s broken faucet.

READ MORE: AskForTask acts as odd-jobs matchmaker for Canadian job-seekers

AskForTask lets you post jobs and prices as an “asker” or sign up to complete these jobs as a “tasker.”

AskForTask

So we want to know, what chore or task would you like to hire someone to do?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was originally posted on January 28, but was updated on February 26.

With files from Erika Tucker and Emily Mertz, Global News

© 2016 Shaw Media

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