It’s not always easy to find reliable helpers, especially when it’s vital that you’re able to trust them in your home or with personal information. But the best way to succeed, like with any problem is to start by breaking it down. We’re going to focus on three steps.
1. What do you need done? - This first may seem obvious but it bears thinking through. Perhaps you started off with a single project, but is that really all you are going to need? While services are mostly set up for one time projects, once you find a helper you like you may want to use them again. So keep that in mind when thinking about the skills you are looking for in a helper.
2. Where to find the helper? The gig economy has grown numerous websites where freelancers are available for hire by individuals just like you and me. While some sites focus on high tech skills, here are three that represent service providers that can help around the house, run errands or take miscellaneous projects .
The most well known and focused on home services is Taskrabbit. Their process is a bit different from the others, they will ask you first to describe the task, then their algorithm will find “qualified and fully vetted Taskers for the job” and present you with a list of them to choose from. They even offer a pledge of happiness and promise that “All Taskers must undergo extensive background and identity checks, and each task covers up to $1 million in property damage”.
Thumbtack has sections including home, lessons, wellness, business and a lot more. Their article; “How to Hire a House Cleaner (And Take Back Your Life)” gives a complete overview of the process and has a lot of applicable information regardless of the type of service you are looking for.
Although Freelancer.com does focus on high tech skills, If you follow this link to their “all skills” page scroll down to the “Local Jobs & Services” and “Other” sections, you will find over a hundred categories including handyman, home organization, house cleaning, housework, landscaping and many more services that may fit the bill.
3. How to vet the helper? You need to determine if the person you are hiring not only can do the job you want, but also is going to be “family friendly”. At this point, you won’t have identified yourself to the person you are interviewing yet, so you’ve got everything to gain by asking the question directly: “are you ok working with the LGBTQ community?” Why trust the answer? One reason: reviews. Service providers businesses live and die by reviews. If they misrepresent themselves or are bad at their jobs, they won’t last long.
For more inspiration on how to research this aspect, this guide from SAGE and the NRC on LGBT aging will give you “10 Tips on Finding LGBT-Affirming Services”.
Think you have found someone to do the job but still not sure?
Consider a test project. If the project you have is large in nature, or just crucial that it's done the way you want it, consider trying out a helper with a smaller project or a small part of the big project. Give yourself a chance to see if the worker shows up on time, and performs to your satisfaction before committing to a more involved relationship.
If you are concerned about safety there are several steps you can take. First if possible try to meet the person in a public place before inviting them to your home, if that’s not possible or (even if it is) try to make sure you are not alone when the person comes to your home. And of course, always rely on that finely developed intuition you’ve worked on all these years, if something doesn't feel right, stop it right away.
These steps, plus a healthy dose of common sense should be all you need to get you from being in need to having it covered. Once you do, don’t forget to share your experience through the Ozma network, it’s one way we can all help each other and keep the community strong.