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The experience of this CSR candidate is obviously the lede of the piece, but my problem with businesses like this is deeper: I think all these companies that put a pretty UI over a bunch of low-skill 1099 workers are exploitative.

Reread the section about Lupe's attempt to reach the client in time.

I feel like companies in these markets will eventually reap the whirlwind when the USG decides not to allow people filling these roles to be classified as 1099s, and the whole segment falls apart. Or maybe I just hope it.




Piketty observes that the rise of the monthly wage was essential to the rise of what he calls the "patrimonial middle class". It gave labor a degree of income stability that they did not enjoy under the previous system of daily wages and piecework.

These startups are essentially converting monthly wage jobs back into piecework jobs. Not satisfied with rolling back the new deal, we're now rolling back the progressive era.


> essentially converting monthly wage jobs back into piecework jobs

People who work these jobs never had a monthly wage job to begin with. If you're fully employed as a house-cleaner, why bother with Handy? If you're a full-time black car driver, why even bother with Uber?

This is lead-gen business for industries that tend to have a large amount of self-employed individuals to begin with.


I'm not clear on why these services can't be organized by something low-tech and essentially free, like Craigslist. I can totally see the value in establishing a marketplace like this, but don't service providers get final say on which marketplace wins, and won't they pick the one that doesn't treat them like garbage and then charge 30% or whatever?


I couldn't agree more. All we need is Craigslist style verticals (categories of work) and horizontals (cities) + identity verification + a reputation system. The overhead for that could be really low.

The $35k/year/worker support staff would seem to be the only capital-intensive aspect of the business.


There already are some services, likes angieslist. One problem is the review/reputation system. Without purchase proof anyone can review/rate providers and this in time will make the rating system unreliable.


Much like fraud prevention is the "hard" part in a payment processor, reputation systems are one half* of the "hard" part in this kind of marketplaces, and very especially for this kind of tradesman services (*the other is getting both sides to use it).

I've seen several people try to start services like "Handy" and fail due to this.

One big problem is that the best tradespeople already have work, and don't need lead generation services.


When those in charge fall asleep at the desk, this is the mess that follows.

What's really sad is that ordinary folks are complicit in the exploitation as they don't see anything past the pretty UI. They think they're hiring vetted people who're treated well, when in reality, they're better off being hired directly via old-school Yellow Pages or even Craigslist.


They think they're hiring people who have a history of getting the job done, and they are. The article talks about their "three strikes" policy for the contractors. Yellow Pages doesn't have that.


True, but we have our own version of "three strikes" via Yelp, Angie's List etc... Also, I hang out on a lot of home improvement forums where cleaners, contractors and customers frequently trade information and recommendations about each other.

For all the hoopla about Facebook et al. the old-fashioned forums are still a hotbed of activity for services like this.


>"I think all these companies that put a pretty UI over a bunch of low-skill 1099 workers are exploitative."

While I totally agree with this I wonder about whether / why people working this jobs would be re-classified?

Many if not most people I know in work in technology on 1099 and are applied in ways which would seem to be more clearly misclassified than these workers.


The USG decided how the classification works today (own supplies, control over the method of how the work is done, &c). They can change the classification system.


So the first definition I found for exploitation: "the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work."

Is that how you view it, and then go on to classify it as exploitation? The fact that these individuals are somehow treated unfairly?

Following from that, how would you change it so that it fits within your definition of fair?




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