Life can get hectic when you’re a young professional in the city. But no worries, we’ve rounded up 5 creative productivity apps that will make your life easier on a regular basis – especially for those of you from Toronto. From streamlining chores in your personal life to improving the quality of your working life, these apps are essential additions to your weekly urban routines!

Car2Go

Car2Go is a car-sharing service that allows you to rent a car immediately or book via the app 30 minutes in advance, and drop it off at any of their designated parking locations. Get yourself to where you need to be on your own terms. Car2Go operates in 25 different cities (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver included), and offers team accounts for businesses who have short-range travel needs. Make your consultation, meeting or appointment across the city in no time!

Why We Love It: Beat traffic with Car2Go’s 2-seater smart car, a compact electrical vehicle nimble enough to weave through the gridlock that plagues the city!

Breather

Breather is an office space rental with booking options by the hour, day or month. With workspaces for collaborations, meetings, or individual work, Breather offers comfortable, distraction-free spaces for every working professional. Breather rooms are outfitted with whiteboards, tech equipment such as TV screens, and Wi-Fi. Need extra tables, more chairs, or a projection system? Breather uses local support teams to meet customization needs, making them a perfect, productivity app to use for your professional needs! Whether you are you are in Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal, Breather has a great space for you.

Why We Love It: It’s love at first sight with Breather’s tastefully curated, well-lit spaces, and decluttered aesthetics. A beautiful space makes starting work that much easier.

Alfred

Coming home to piles of dirty laundry after a long workday?  Wish things were a little cleaner? Alfred’s got your back. A laundry service app with the personality of a British butler, Alfred takes care of all your laundering needs in the simplest way possible. Deposit your clothing in an Alfred locker or with an Alfred-approved concierge, and pick them up fresh and clean in 48 hours. Besides regular laundering services, Alfred also offers dry cleaning, shoe polish and shoe repair.  Available across Toronto.

Why We Love It: Alfred is a witty, humorous app committed to dealing with your dirty laundry. What more could you ask for?

Ritual

Saunter right by the lineup at your favourite joint to pick up your food, grab your coffee, and head right back into your workflow. Ritual allows you to place a food order, pay and pick up in store. Browse nearby restaurants, curate a selection of your personal favorites and gain access to Ritual-exclusive discounts! Bet you never imagined Ritual to be grouped under productivity apps.  Available across Toronto.

Why We Love It: Ritual released Piggyback last year, an option allowing individuals to attach pickup orders to another colleague’s account. The runner, who literally takes all for the team, is rewarded with extra points and a lot of workplace goodwill, a win-win for everybody!

AskforTask

AskforTask logoWe’ve all had days when we wish our home would just clean itself. With AskforTask, it’s possible. Simply request a service, fill in the details, and wait for a Tasker to claim the job. Besides house cleaning services and furniture assembly, we also provide plumbing, electrical and painting tasks. Spend your time off creating meaningful experiences with loved ones. Leave the deep cleaning to us.  Our customer service team will take care of you.  Available in Toronto, Calgary & Montreal, Vancouver.

Why We Love It: AskforTask carefully vets contracted Taskers, including cleaners, who are also covered by our insurance. In other words, you’ll get the highest quality services from the best working professional in your area.

Spring has FINALLY descended upon us, offering its good graces and we’re so excited! What is it about this season that makes us want to clean? Perhaps its the need to dust off the dreary winter, or just that fresh breeze that puts us in the mood for something new. As they say, out with the old and to the mall we go! If you’re looking to jumpstart your annual spring clean, here are 5 simple tasks that will feel like your home just went through a complete revamp!

Clean That Carpet

Carpets are hothouses for musty odours, dust, random food scraps, stains and everything else you have tracked in with your feet, and can be pretty gross and unhygenic with all that bacteria. Take them for a clean, either professionally or DIY, your carpets will look brand new, and you might find yourself having less sniffles in the early morning and late at night!

Clean Your Appliances

Clean your kitchen vents. Wipe down the washing machine. Scrub the fridge. Dust out the bathroom air vents. Replace those furnace filters! What better way to bring spring in than to actually clear the airways of all the dust, and your appliances with all the stains collected throughout the winter months?

Purge Your Closet

Is there anything more thrilling than getting rid of stuff you don’t need anymore? As the old saying goes “when in doubt, throw it out”. We could not agree more. Time to stop playing packrat and donate everything of limited keepsake value. Old toys, clothes and games need to be cleaned out and replaced. Trust us, the feeling after you get rid of stuff you no longer need, is thrilling and look, now you even can go shopping. Rinse, recycle and repeat, just so long as you don’t forget to purge.

Preserve Your Furniture

Furniture preservation might seem a bit excessive, but honestly it makes such a difference. A good polish or wax will really elevate the appearance of your furniture and combat wear and tear. If you have furniture that is more particleboard than real wood, use glue to reinforce the joints and backing to give it another few years of life. Use construction adhesive or polyurethane glue on particle board, and wood glue if you are working with real wood. Don’t forget to varnish, and remember, coasters!

Refresh Your Interior

Interior is everything when you walk into your home. So why not give that a spruce as well? Paint is chipping? Time for  color update! Floors looking dull? Give it a good polish! Curtains need to flow with the spring breeze? Switch your winter set for a fresh translucent set.
AskforTask Design Tip: If you have a small space, use light colours like an off-white with clever contrasts to make it look bigger than it is.
As always, AskforTask is here to help. Whether you hire a cleaner to help freshen your place up, or a handyman to preserve your furniture, we are here for you!

New clients can use BLOG10 for $10 off their first task.

As it has been said, baking soda is every homebody’s best friend. Already famous as a useful cleaning solution, it only makes sense that adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry would improve your clothes and linens! We all know that baking soda has magical cleaning powers but adding it to your laundry in addition to your regular detergent can make your items whiter, brighter and fresher! Here’s how…

1. Neutralizer

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Acid spills can come from many things. Sometimes, placing them in the washing machine without treating them will just render them permanent in your clothing. Before you throw your clothes into the machine, consider sprinkling the stain with baking soda to prevent further damage.

2. Stain Remover

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Baking soda is a great way to remove stains and brighten fabrics. For items like aged linens, adding 1/2 cup to the washer can whiten and brighten and even reverse damage from older stains.

3. Fabric Softener Replacement

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Fabric softeners can be used to naturally soften your clothes. A little bit of baking soda is a much better option if people you live with have sensitivities to chemicals in the laundry. All natural and just as effective!

4. Remove Odors

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Finally, baking soda is a great deodorizer. You’ll find that smells will disappear when you use bleach in your laundry cycle. Try this with bathing suits, gym clothes or musty old towels, and especially your socks! It’s not just the odors but the musty scent of these oft-damp clothing items that will disappear!

 

If you’re too busy for a life hack, but want your house kept in optimal shape, a housecleaner might be a really great addition for you! Want us to clean your house (that includes doing the laundry)? Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking with AskforTask!

 

Saving money on cleaning can make a big difference in your home’s financial landscape. Here’s some tips on how to get a great clean, without breaking the bank.

1. Use Mild Dish Soap Or Plain Water

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What people don’t know is that a mild dish soap can clean a lot more than just dishes. Clean counters, windows, carpet stain remover or even use it as a fruit and veggie wash.

2. Switch To Fluorescent Lightbulbs

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Everyone knows this but most also forget that fluorescent bulbs last way longer and are better for the environment!

3. Use a Store Brand

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Store brand cleaners are usually cheaper than other more well known branded cleaners. Save the money and buy the same thing from a cheaper brand!

4. Choose Reusable Cloths and Mops

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Ditch the Swiffer and grab reusable mops and cloths.  They’ll save money while saving the environment!

5. Make Your Own Cleaners

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Baking soda and vinegar have magical cleaning superpowers. Lemon also can be used as an all natural bleach. Mix em together to make your own DIY cleaner!

Get your house clean and ready for summer on a budget! AskforTask has certified housecleaners ready to do it for you! Just use coupon code BLOG10 on the AskforTask app to get $10 off your first booking!

 

Laundry stains are the worst. It’s pretty disheartening to find a particularly stubborn stain and know you’ll have to say goodbye to your favorite shirt. You shouldn’t let it go without a fight though. Here are 5 rules we recommend for removing stubborn stains.  . So here’s how to do it.

Timing Is Everything

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The sooner you address a stain, the better. Stains that have been sitting for more than 24 hours will be much harder to take care of than new stains. Once it happens, don’t panic, but do get to work immediately!

Blot and Blot

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For most stains, a simple blotting strategy will work. Wet the corner of a napkin or cloth with cold water and dab repeatedly where the stain is. For larger stains, press into the fabric with some force and rub a little to loosen the stain particles.

Wash Out The Back

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If the stain is a stubborn one, and you are able to remove the piece of clothing. Turn your clothes inside out and flush the back of the stain to loosen the particles from the fibers that way.

Inspect Before Drying

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After attempting to wash out the stain in the washing machine, if the stain is still present, do not put it in the dryer! Either rinse and repeat or do spot treatment in some other way. The heat from the drying process will only make the stain more permanent.

Soak with baking soda

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Using baking soda and water, create a paste and gently rub it into the stain. Let it sit for a a while before rinsing out. Repeat the process if necessary.

The stain treatment process is essentially a wash, rinse, check, repeat if necessary flow. If you follow these general guidelines, a fresh stain should be out in no time. A stain that’s old might take a few repeats to finally work. If you’re in doubt, consult at your local drycleaner’s.

Alternatively, a housecleaner can really be a great addition to anyone’s busy life! Don’t have time to bother with the stain? Want us to clean your house (including the laundry)? Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking with AskforTask!

If you’re like most people, you manage to successfully dodge doing chores on the regular, and then one day find yourself living amidst a disaster zone. Well who can blame you?

While we understand the tedious nature of chores, chores also keep our home spaces tidy and relaxing. If you find yourself battling the desire to skip out on chores, here are a few ways to commit to a tiny little activity daily that won’t take up too much time, 5 minutes in fact. You’ll find your home cleaner and tidier in no time.

Day 1: Clear A Counter

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Just pick one counter. Do a little organizing. Wipe the surface down. Put away food items and wash a few dirty dishes. Set a timer, do it for 5. That’s it.

Day 2: Straighten Out Your Wardrobe

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This is hard, but necessary. Just shake out those tangled hangers and move clothing items around to reduce the messy clutter of your closet. Refold that shirt you threw back in there this morning.

Day 3: Place 5 Things Into Designated Places

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This is an interesting exercise in space allocation. Pick 5 things in your house that tend to be left lying around, and designate a place for them. You’ll quickly discover just how many things you have, how little storage space you use, and innovative ways to put everything away!

Day 4: Choose A Cupboard

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This may take a little more than 5 minutes, depending on the size of the cupboard. In extreme cases, just go with a shelf. Reorganize all that tableware, the condiments, the books, the photo albums. You’ll feel much better after re-introducing order.

Day 5: Put Away Shoes

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We love to leave our shoes wherever we take them off. This is a BAD HABIT. Take some time to put away the shoes that have been left out, and you’ll be greeted by a much more welcoming doorway.

Doing small tasks like these are wonderful tiny steps in the larger habit of decluttering. We at AskforTask believe that a clean home is a happy home. Our general help experts specialize in decluttering and organization and if you use our special code BLOG10 you can receive $10 off your first booking!

IKEA is everyone’s budget haven for functional and minimalist furniture! The only issue is, that literally everybody shops at IKEA and we all run the risk of our homes looking a little too much like IKEA showrooms. How many people do you know with that KALLAX bookcase? Or what about those quintessential LACK tables that every student has hauled with them through endless residence moves. IKEA is great, but it’s hard to stay affordable and stay unique at the same time. We’ve rounded up 4 ways to customize your IKEA furniture and shared some of our favourite makers who can help you!

Slip Something Over

Courtesy of Bemz

Bemz is a company that sells design slipcovers for all different kinds of IKEA furniture. Give your couch a new skin and freshen up the living room, or buy two footstool covers and treat yourself to seasonal design options. If you’re looking for a removable, machine-washable custom job, this is a great place to go!

Flip It

Courtesy of Mommy Vignettes

These cubby IKEA bookcases are ubiquitous. Why not turn them into multifunctional pieces of furniture? Turn it on it’s side, plump it up with cushions to turn it into a cozy window bench and storage space! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial from Mommy Vignettes on how to take some basic pieces and go a long, long way!

Get A Grip

Courtesy of Superfront

There are certain features of IKEA furniture that are instantly recognizable! Tweaking little details like drawer knobs can camouflage a standard piece, and elevate the simple design to something sleek and personalized. It’ll make each piece of furniture unique, and you’ll be laughing into your affordable budget spreadsheets! Check out custom stores like Superfront for a selection of handles and legs to switch up your couches, dressers and cupboards.

 Paint and Paper

Courtesy of Behangfabriek

Most IKEA furniture is made of wood which makes painting it an easy alternative. Changing the colour of your furniture can be a big undertaking, but is a great way to put your own spin on things! If you’re really looking to take a risk, try Behangfabriek, a company offering a wide selection of wallpapers and furniture decals to take your staple pieces to new lux heights!

We at AskforTask want you to love your home. If you have IKEA furniture, we have a trained professional who can build it for you. Our housecleaning and handyman services are designed to give you the home you’ve always dreamed of, for less. Use our code BLOG10 for $10 off your first post.

Were you busy and distracted while cooking? Have a failed dinner and black, crusted pots on your hands? We’ve got you! Honestly, even if you’re careful, it can still be easy for a pan to cake over with burnt crusts over time just from the amount of use. Soaking it in warm soapy water for a while doesn’t really cut it sometimes, and properly cleaning burnt pans is important to the shelf life of your kitchenware and your health! For a wide variety of stains from the absent-minded burns to the long-use stains, here’s our 5 step plan to reinvigorating your pots so that they’ll look as good as new.

1.  Bring to a boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar in your pot or pan

Once it’s reached roiling boil, take it off the heat.

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2. Slowly add 1/2 cup of baking soda

As it hits the vinegar, it will make a fizzing sound. This is the chemical reaction doing it’s work!

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3. Give it a stir and discard the liquid

Make sure to strain out any stray bits from the liquid to prevent clogging in your sink drain.

4. Scrub away!

Use a soft brush and not those steel brushes as they take the coating off the pans. The black mess should come off relatively easily.

5. For the ultimately resistant bits, add a small amount of water and baking soda and mix it into a paste

Scrub persistently on the tricky spots until the burn stains disappear in the face of your remarkable perseverance. Give it a rinse and you’re good to go!

 

If you follow this 5 step process, your burnt pot or pan should look brand spanking new! If this seems like too much to do yourself, our certified housecleaners can help you out and this includes cleaning burn pots! Use our code BLOG10 to get $10 off on your first housecleaning with us at AskforTask!

Don’t you dare do it! I know what you’re thinking! You want to finally cover up your bare walls, and decided that the best place to get an affordable art piece is IKEA. You probably saw the big wall print of New York on your last trip there and fell in love with it, or maybe the big canvas with a zebra on it caught your attention. Well, don’t fall for IKEA’s low prices! If you want something affordable and beautiful to add some oomph to your space, there are plenty of other places to get interesting wall prints.

1. Desenio

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Desenio is the interior designer’s little hidden treasure. These prints are affordable and sophisticated. They start at $17.95 and come in a variety of sizes too! On Desenio’s website you can buy paired prints for a fraction of the price which will save you time and money. All you have to do is hang them!

2. Spacing

Are you a city lover? Does the idea of map prints and urban design prints excite your decorating senses? Spacing will fulfill all of those needs and fan your hunger for more. Considered Toronto’s city store, they source their prints from a wide range of local and national designers, they offer a range of product that constantly reinterprets all parts of the city through an artistic lens. You’ll find some great unique wall prints here that might remind you of why this city is your city!

3. Tapestries

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Tapestries are underrated. They’re a great way of covering up a large space with something cozy and beautiful. Your local Urban Outfitters offers a wide range of materials and textures that you can mix and match. If you’re looking to go alternative budget bet is to source your materials from a store that sells blankets and curtains and use different patterns to make the most out of it. These can be hard to hang, since they can get heavy.

4. DIY Your Life

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The most affordable way to cover up your bare walls is by getting crafty! This hashtag is a simple way of translating your own personality onto your walls. Start out with a base: you can find wooden letters and signs at craft stores like Michaels. Then add whatever you want, greenery, a picture collage, or use chalkboard paint and turn it into something you can write on! You’ll love the dynamic, trendy element it brings to your space.

Want to spice up your walls with wall prints but afraid of the damage your hands might do? Turn your ideas into a reality with the help of a professional! AskforTask has certified handymen to help you with everything you need!

Use code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first task!

I’ve lived in an apartment for the past 2 years that has a small but beautiful balcony. I’ll go out there sometimes, mostly to check the weather but other than that it stays empty and unused.

I mean, it’s a privilege to have a balcony in the busy city! Imagine how lovely it would be to be able to go out there, sit on a comfy chair and sip a cup of tea? Transforming your balcony into something you actually use sounds complicated and a lot of work, but it’s much easier than you’ll think, and you will be able to enjoy the payoff immediately!

1. Start With A Seat

If you’re going to start using your balcony and enjoying your home to the fullest, start with a comfy chair. Preferably an outdoor-ready chair but at the end of the day, anything can work. Find something you can lounge in, and pair it with a cozy blanket. We love this look: it’s small enough to fit on tiny city balconies but still comfortable enough that you can curl up in on those warm summer evenings.

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via Pinterest

2. Get Your Twinkle On!

Transforming your balcony into a space to relax is all about bringing your inside, outside. So try adding a little lighting to the mix. We hate to suggest being the kind of person who has Christmas lights up in July, but hanging up a string of white fairy lights can make your balcony look magical. They’re also weather-ready and can provide the light you need in a subtle way.

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via Pinterest

3. Cover Up!

Rugs and carpets with different textures and colours are your new best friend. Not only are they stylish and decorative, but they’ll cover up your balconies cold concrete and make you feel warmer. Alternatively,  cover your balcony with artificial grass for a simulated small backyard feel.

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via Pinterest

4. Huddle Around Your DIY Campfire

Bring the candles outside for a still, warm evening and enjoy the view, a conversation with a cup of something warm! Paired with your white twinkling lights, this will make your balcony feel like a retreat. Cuddle up, read a book, and go on a vacation without leaving your home!

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via Crazy Chic Design

5. Go Green

Make your balcony your personal garden. Grow some plants, hang some plants or pot some plants. The options are endless and the greenery can turn your space into something completely new. We love the idea of growing herbs on your balcony. They don’t require a lot of space and are a practical plant! Need some flavour in your pasta? Skip the grocery store and go to your balcony!

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via Arctic Gardens

It’s easy to transform your balcony into something fun and practical! Summer’s coming and there’s no time like today to start a fun spring project! Have some big ideas but don’t want to do it alone? We’ve got the cleaning and handyman services you need to get your project started: use our code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first task with AskforTask!

 

 

The majority of cleaning products out there use chemicals that are impossible to pronounce. It can be pretty scary seeing those novel-long labels for something that’s coming in direct contact with your skin. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that baking soda mixed with vinegar has grime-fighting, non-toxic powers. It’s also a fun throwback to 6th grade science class. Here are 5 ways you can harness the powers of baking soda to freshen up your home space!

1.  Bathroom Deep Clean!

Instead of squirting blue gels into your toilet bowl try using baking soda and vinegar for toilet bowls, slimy sinks, vinyl shower curtains, bathtubs, walls and drain clogs. The chemical reaction will make it fizz and then you can start scrubbing away – toxin free! Mother Nature will thank you when you flush.

2. Odor Absorber

For that fridge crammed with leftovers when you don’t have time to clean, leave an open box of baking soda in there to soak up all the bad smells of combined abandoned foods. You can also sprinkle some at the bottom of your garbage can to balance out the default odors that come from your trash. Mix the two, watch the reaction and then scrub away at your tiles! The two combined together will kill bacteria and wash away grime from your bathroom tiles. They’ll also smell pretty good too!

3. Stain Remover

Particularly crayon stains from the wall. Carpet Stains as well. Pour hot water down your drain and after a few minutes add some baking soda. Then pour down a mixture of hot water and vinegar. Cover it as it fizzes. After a few minutes, pour some more hot water down there and you’re good to go!

4. Laundry Brightener

Believe it or not, baking soda itself can also improve the way you look! Along with your laundry detergent, add a ¼ cup of baking soda. While your washer does it’s thing the baking soda will make your clothes brighter and whiter! All without the use of fabric softeners or bleach.

5. Wash Produce with it! 

Mix a pinch of baking soda with a few cups of water and leave your fruits and veggies to soak in there for 10-12 minutes. It’s been scientifically proven that baking soda soaking is most effective at removing pesticide residue on your fresh produce!

Want us to clean your house and you get all the credit? Use coupon code BLOG10 to get $10 off your first booking with AskforTask!

 

 

Did you know you could clean with vinegar? It’s also a staple in basically almost every kitchen! To compile a complete list of things you could clean with it would be impossible, but if you’re living in a large urban city, and like the rest of us, find your bills always running a little high, here are a few household things you can clean on your own with just a little bit of plain, white distilled vinegar, no fancy branded soaps required!

For the Kitchen

Dirty Microwaves

Put a small microwave-safe bowl with half water and half vinegar into your microwave. Stick a toothpick into it just for that extra safety precaution. Microwave for 5-10 minutes, depending on the level of gunk built-up in your microwave, and then let sit for a few minutes afterward. Take the bowl out (careful, it’ll be hot!) and wipe down the inside of your microwave. All that residue will come right off with no effort at all!

Burnt Pots and Pans

Cleaning burnt utensils is very easy. Boil vinegar and water in them and then add baking soda. Scrub lightly afterward to make them good as new. Vinegar is also an excellent cleaner for all kitchen surfaces – counters, refrigerators, stovetops, and even cutting boards.

Cloudy Crockery & Glass

For your stained china or cloudy glasses, clean with vinegar blotted a paper napkin or cotton pad and scrubbing the stained or foggy surface lightly. Alternatively, you can let the cups sit in vinegar for about 5 minutes and rinse out with hot water.

For the Bathroom

Fogged Shower Heads

Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and wrap the plastic bag around your shower head with a rubber band. Leave it for an hour to get rid of the calcium build up and then turn on the water to flush all residue out. Give it that extra shine by polishing your shower head up with a piece of cloth.

Stained Toilet Bowls 

Spray or pour in 1/2 a cup of vinegar around the insides of the toilet bowl and let sit between 30 minutes to overnight. Scrubbing with a toilet brush to remove the stubborn stains and say hello to your newly cleaned toilet!

Clogged Drains

Pour half a cup of baking soda then add another half cup of vinegar into the drain. Just a heads up that the poured mixture will start bubbling; this is normal! When the bubbling subsides, rinse through with warm water. 

For the Walls and Floors

Dirty Windows and Window Blinds

Clean windows with a mixture of half a cup of vinegar half a cup of water. Spray it onto the glass and scrub clean with a cloth or old newspaper. For blinds, apply vinegar onto any soft cotton material and wipe clean.

Carpet Stains

In case of liquid spills, first use a sponge to soak all the liquid. Spray the stain with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water. Leave the vinegar to sit for a couple of minutes and then use a sponge again to soak up again. Repeat until the stain fades. For the extra tough stains, you can also add other cleaners such as liquid dish soap to the mixture!

Stained Wood Paneling

To clean wooden panels, use a mixture of half a cup of vinegar mixed with half a cup of olive oil. Pour the mix into 2 cups of warm water, mix well, and apply to your wall or floor panelling with a soft cloth. Dry with a fresh cloth for some fresh new wood!

 

Who knew you could clean with vinegar so easily and effectively? Enjoy your fresh and clean house with the extra satisfaction of knowing just how little it cost you!

Are you ready to take control of your work schedule?

A 9-5 schedule is a thing of the past!  It’s time to define your own schedule. AskforTask is the leading online service provider in Canada that matches Taskers (cleaners, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, movers, and general helpers) with Askers (people who want jobs completed). Does this sound like an ideal work schedule for you? Well, here’s the good news, we are always actively on-boarding Taskers all across Canada!

We provide you with free Tasker training, access to the exclusive Tasker app, and allow you to start picking up tasks right away in your local area. Use the app to select the tasks that you would love to do, add them to your calendar and start making money!

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The application process is simple:

  1. Select your skill sets
  2. Complete the eligibility questionnaire
  3. Download the Tasker app and complete the training
  4. Schedule in a phone interview
  5. Start picking up tasks and making money!

Explore a better way to earn and apply to become a Tasker by clicking below.

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Virgin Group is one of the most recognized brands in the world, now a venture capital conglomerate managing portfolios in all kinds of fields, and it all started with one of the most influential entrepreneurs of our time: Sir Richard Branson.

From selling records by mail order when he was young, to creating the Virgin empire which currently encompasses around 400 companies, he has accomplished things in his career that people only dream of.. We’ve culled some of his important entrepreneurial encouragements and insights here from his conversation with CreativeLive:

“Screw it, just do it!”

This is perhaps his most famous ideation. From a very early age, Branson learned that if you want something to happen, you cannot just wait around for someone to offer you help. Take the chance, apply yourself, and beat the odds.

Challenge yourself.

Without a challenge, there is no inspiration. Challenges exist to help keep you motivated in life and at work.

Live in the moment.

Do not worry about things that are in the future and are out of your control. Work on things that you can influence today. It is important to work hard, but everyone needs to switch off and relax so make time for this!

Have fun!

If something stops being fun and enjoyable, you should stop doing it. If you are working on your passions, then it no longer seems like work. Having fun helps to create a thriving idea, and inspires those around you to work passionately.

Value your friends, family and coworkers.

Surround yourself with those who support you, and who make a positive impact on your life. Show respect to the people that you work with and treat them as you would want to be treated.

“A business is nothing more than a group of people working to make a positive difference to people’s lives”.

For more motivational Monday juice, you can catch Sir Richard Branson’s fullinterview from over at Creative Live!

AskforTask Rebrand

Since our initial launch in 2012, we have made a positive impact in the communities in which we operate, by helping people help people. As the company became more established, we realized that our voice and image was in need of a refresh, to better represent our services and to foster growth. It is our hope that the new rebrand direction will allow users to feel a sense of satisfaction when they are able to simplify their busy lives so that they can spend more time doing what they want, not what they have to.

Collaboration with Local Creatives

The creative team at AskforTask teamed up with a Toronto based design agency to reimagine their brand universe. The new brand, including a logo, icons, web, and app design, needed to reflect the re-focused trajectory of the digital platform and hone-in on what it means to be an AskforTask community member.

Enter the BEE!

The bee has come to represent our busy lives. We are constantly on a mission, running from place to place, seldom stopping to really smell the flowers. With work, family, friends, events, and social media, we seem to be increasingly left with less time on our hands. For us, the honey bee represents both sides of our business – the customers (Asker) who are busily completing their everyday commitments, and our workers (Taskers) who embody all of the traits of a honey bee: hardworking, efficient, organized, social, and very skilled at what they do.

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The New Asker App

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May marks the official launch of the brand new Asker app. Not only has it undergone a rebrand, but it includes exciting new features that you guys are going to love! There are now 32 unique categories (instead of the old four: cleaning, handyman work, movers, and general help). So whether you need your bedroom painted, your house cleaned, your garden weeds pulled, or new faucets installed, there is now something for everyone. Another great new feature is that you can now directly book recurring tasks through the app (weekly, biweekly, or monthly cleanings)!

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Did you love the Tasker that completed your task? You can now add them to your “Favourites” list in the app so that you can request them for your next job. We love that people are really starting to build strong relationships with their Taskers. While using the app to book a task, a price estimator tool has been integrated to eliminate guesswork when it comes to the total cost of the work that you are getting done.

The new design flow makes posting a task a breeze. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Download the app to see for yourself!

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Partnering with Habitat for Humanity Canada

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The fire that raged through Fort McMurray was hugely devastating to all that lived there and many families lost everything.

AskforTask and Habitat for Humanity Canada partnered up to raise money for those who lost their homes in the fire. It is going to take a long time to rebuild what they lost.

There are two ways to help out!

  1. Book a spring cleaning and donate unwanted furniture: book a cleaning with AskforTask to declutter your house and all cleaning proceeds will be donated to habitat for Humanity Canada’s long-term efforts in Fort McMurray. AskforTask will also help you to collect your unwanted furniture for Habitat for Humanity Canada to pick up and sell through their ReStores.
  2. Donate funds: These go straight to Habitat for Humanity Canada so that they can work on addressing long-term housing damages in Fort McMurray.

To read more about how you can help out (even in the smallest of ways), click here

It all started in a basement in Mississauga, after two brothers struggled to find a reliable plumber. Born in 2012, AskforTask has grown into one of the most trusted systems for booking help with tasks around the home and it has been an exhilarating rollercoaster ride. We are mature enough to be viewed as a trustworthy service that people can rely on. May 2016 marks a pivotal month for AskforTask: the complete company-wide rebrand and the launch of the new app for booking tasks.

Over the last year, our Askers (customers) have become our loyal advocates as they understand the convenience along with the financial and timesaving potential that our services bring. Many of our users have now booked recurring tasks with us and have a strong bond with their Tasker whom they request on an ongoing basis. Our Taskers (workers) are also better trained, have a strong alignment with our brand, and have become proficient in utilizing the app to take control of their life to bring in work and money.

For AskforTask, this is the not the first time that our logo has gone through adjustments. However, this time, it’s a bit different. We decided to redefine the brand that would not only signify our journey so far but also solidify our brand values and future path.

new and old logo

Why the big change?                              

AskforTask is a proud Canadian company that is focused on one very simple mission, “to be the world’s largest local marketplace for daily errands”. Since our initial launch in 2012, we have made a positive impact in the communities in which we operate, by helping people help people. As the company became more established, we realized that our voice and image was in need of a refresh, to better represent our services and to foster growth. It is our hope that the new identity will allow users to feel a sense of satisfaction when they are able to simplify their busy lives so that they can spend more time doing what we want, not what we have to.

Going back to our parent’s and grandparent’s generation, everything had a very localized approach. Support for your neighbour was very common. Even though technology has made the world seem smaller, we have started to drift apart. Social media platforms were developed in order to better connect you with your friends and family, but they have actually reduced our ability to do so on a personal level. The idea of AskforTask is to utilize the power of technology to bring back that sense of community and reconnect people face-to-face through matching those who want tasks done, and those who can do them.

What is the glue that really holds this system together? Trust. The rebrand runs much deeper than a change in logo. The Tasker on-boarding system has been completely restructured through incorporating interviews, full training, and creating an extensive vetting system. This is how our community can feel safe and comfortable with them in their own homes.

Collaboration with Local Creatives

The creative team at AskforTask teamed up with a Toronto based design agency to reimagine their brand universe. The new brand, including a logo, icons, web, and app design, needed to reflect the re-focused trajectory of the digital platform and hone-in on what it means to be an AskforTask community member.

“We wanted to dig deeper into what it really means to “Get Stuff Done” within the sharing economy today. No matter what you need help with, there is a highly skilled person in your area to help you get it done; someone you can trust in your home space.” – Muneeb Mushtaq, CEO

Preliminary design sketches:

 

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Origins of the Busy Bee

“Getting Stuff Done” in the AskforTask universe relies on a synergy between Askers and Taskers; Askers value their time, money and the reliability of the services they access. Taskers want to apply their skills to generate an income with the help of a seamless digital experience.

Dozens of conceptual directions were explored to describe the helpfulness and the efficiency of the AskforTask platform. As the team dove deeper into the heart of the brand, we began to see the Taskers as helpers for the home. Images of the “busy bee” and the “thriving hive” emerged.

“There’s a balance between being “busy”, and being “free” which we wanted to play with. The bee was our humble inspiration – The hive can’t thrive without it!” – Rebecca Brunette, Designer

 

02-Bee evolution

 

The Bee                                              

The bee has come to represent our busy lives. We are constantly on a mission, running from place to place, seldom stopping to really smell the flowers. We seem to be increasingly left with less time on our hands with work, family, friends, events, and social media. For us, the honey bee represents both sides of our business – the customers (Asker) who are busily completing their everyday commitments, and our workers (Taskers) who embody all of the traits of a honey bee: hardworking, efficient, organized, social, and very skilled at what they do.

Multiple bees come together to make a community. Though small in size, their collective effort is giant.” – Terry Popik, Designer

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The Honeycomb and the Hive

The honeycomb is a core building block prevalent in nature due to its efficiency. The structure is like that of our smart technologies – hidden from view, but highly sophisticated and ordered. It contains inner richness that allows the community to thrive. The honeycomb also represents the completed tasks. It is a visual representation of a Tasker’s successes. You can see this shape throughout our website, app and integrated into our icons. The hive represents the home of the Asker and also our entire AskforTask community.  It is an organized system that works smoothly, efficiently and produces a great result!

 

 

Better services. Fresh look.

Not only have we freshened up our look, but we have also introduced some new categories! The four old categories included cleaning, handyman work, movers, and general help (anything from snow shovelling to dog walking). The categories have now gone through a complete makeover and have expanded out into eight areas of help: cleaning, handyman, painting, plumbing, renovations, moving, electrical, and general help. So whether you need your bedroom painted, your house cleaned or new faucets installed, there is now something for everyone.

 Of course, an identity is about more than just a logo and symbols. Therefore, we have redesigned our website and have launched a brand new app for our Askers! We want to be able to walk the walk not just talk the talk about efficiency, ease of use and reliability of our services. To do this, we have integrated some great features into our new app like booking recurring tasks, the ability to request your favourite Tasker, incorporating an accurate price estimator tool, and upgrading the design and flow so that posting a task is a breeze. We have remodelled every AskforTask touch point to create a unified and consistent experience for our users.

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 As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback on our new brand identity. We also would like to thank you for your continued support and for helping us in becoming the #1 service marketplace in Canada. We are excited to continue this journey with you and offer more features, value and help with all of your tasks.

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Mother’s Day is right around the corner!

Can’t think of what to get her? AskforTask has the perfect gift idea!

Instead of flowers or chocolates this year, try something that doesn’t come in a box. She has spent her life feeding, clothing and cleaning up after you tornado through the house. Why not give her some of that time back! Book your Mom a house cleaning so that she can sit back and relax. Or take her out for lunch while we make her place sparkle.

As a bonus, when you book your Mother’s Day cleaning, the first hour is on us. We will also send her a special Mother’s Day note on Sunday. Be prepared for your Mom to say “Wow, you were always my favourite!”

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What else is great about this gift? It means that you don’t have to run to the store in a panic on Mother’s Day to buy the remaining sad looking bouquet that no-one wanted. Enjoy!

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To the window! To the wall!

Think about that elevated sense of happiness you experience when walking around in a park. Think about how unhappy you feel, in contrast, in your harshly-lit office space. Nature enables all of our senses to come alive and our body becomes much less strained and relaxed. “Biophilic Design” is a theory that incorporates elements of nature into our work and home environments, believing that this will reduce stress, enhance creativity and improve general well-being. Terrapin Bright Green, a company working on bringing ecological design into the workplace, developed 14 patterns of biophilic design as a way of thinking through space, and uses it to improve at a structured design level, the places where we spend the majority of our time. Here are a couple of simple ones that we suggest implementing at the office!

Visual Connection With Nature

Image © Hubert J. Steed.

We often perceive basements as “dark, dingy, and scary”.  After all, who knows who or what is living in the shadows down there! If given a choice, most people would prefer to have a desk or office near a window. A window can facilitate a connection with nature, but in our urban jungle, a window often just opens out onto other concrete buildings. To sustain a visual connection with nature, a biophilic design space should hold pockets of real nature when possible, and simulated nature when not possible. This includes vegetation, natural light, fossils, water and animals.

 

Non-Visual Connection With Nature

Image © Dax Fernstrom/Flickr.

Are you confined to a windowless office or cubicle? Don’t worry, there are other ways to bring nature into the office. Introducing shade plants that can thrive in low light environments, the sound of a fireplace, textured fabrics for carpets or couches, and even diffusers with plant essential oils can all help create a more comfortable work environment. Textures such as wood, grass or stone can also be accents in a space. Additionally, people usually respond positively to shapes that exist in the natural environment, such as the honeycomb (hexagon) or objects that mimic the Fibonacci ratio.

 

Thermal and Airflow Variability

Image © Jui-Yong Sim/Flickr.

There is a sense of calm and joy when we are outside on a beautiful day in the middle of a park. The moving air circulates freely and refreshes our body and spirit. In the office, small cubicles with high walls trap air, stress and problems, making us feel like caged animals. Bring down the walls and think wide open spaces! Different kinds of light allow access to different kinds of heat. It also gives us options to moderate our own feelings of comfort at work. Additionally, having big windows let in sunlight and breezes will drastically improve everyone’s moods on a warm day, or bring some hope of warmth on a cold one.

 

Presence of Water

Image © Tim Evanson/Flickr.

Including the presence of water into a biophilic design space optimizes the engagement of the area as it uses multiple senses simultaneously and facilitates calm. The sound of running water is known to enhance moods, lower stress levels and improve concentration. These are ideal qualities for someone at a workplace. Integrating visual stimuli of water or sounds of water through projections, sculptures and small water fountains are all ways to bring water presence into an office space. Ensure that these water features are not too overpowering or it can become disruptive and interfere with people’s work.

 

Dynamic and Diffuse Light

Image © K. Kendall/Flickr.

Strong UV lighting is often used to keep people alert and awake, but it actually has the opposite effect. Between the harsh unnatural lighting of a space and the glare of computer screens, eyes tend to quickly feel strained and tired. To reduce this effect, try to increase how much natural light is in a space. Skylights and windows can bring in diffused light that responds to wall colours, and other features within the room to create different lighting moods. Our brains respond well to light and shadow that reflect natural fractal patterns. Placing a tree or plant near a window to create naturally-occurring shadows throughout the day is a way of introducing dynamic light.

 

Interested? You can read more on the 14 patterns of Biophilic Design here.

It’s on like Ping Pong!

T.E.A.M = Together Everyone Achieves More! Our Toronto head office team ventured to SPIN ping pong club this week for a little friendly competition. With the explosive upward momentum that AskforTask has been seeing over the last couple of months, it is easy to forget that behind the scenes is a group of amazing individuals who work day and night to create a smooth and efficient service for our customers.

Meet the team!

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As housing prices continue to escalate in the big cities in Canada (particularly Toronto and Vancouver), it is becoming increasingly difficult for younger people to buy homes. Enter the new movement of “tiny living” and “micro-homes”. These teeny houses range between 100 – 400 square feet, in comparison to a North American house which averages about 2,600 feet. The movement has really taken off in areas like Colorado, the Pacific Northwest and the Carolinas.

Why would you want to live in a tiny house?

Well, first off, when you see these multi-functional little homes, you might feel a sudden urge to go build one yourself. There are three main reasons as to why people have begun adopting this trend:

  1. Money, money, money! For the majority of people working in North America, around a third to a half of their monthly income is set aside to pay for their rent or mortgage on their $300,000 home. Particularly popular with generation X, building one of these tiny homes from scratch will only cost you between $10,000 and $100,000.

  2. Save the world. A strong trait of people choosing to live the “Tiny Life” is that they care about the environment and are keen to live a more sustainable life. The environmental footprint of these structures is very low, and many include cool green features like compost toilets and solar panel roofs.

  3. Freedom! When interviewed, many tiny home owners defined a new sense of personal and financial freedom as a major reason of building a tiny house. Not only did they eliminate mortgage payments, they were also able to de-clutter their lives. It would make cleaning a breeze!

You can do it too!

So, do you think you could build and live in a tiny house? Check out “The Tiny Life” website where you can find out more about the movement and receive guides on how to build out every inch of your prospective tiny home. Are you really excited about the idea, but would need another set of hands? Give AskforTask a call on +1 844-275-8275 and request a handyman for a “tiny” price.

In the meantime, check out this BuzzFeed video of people experiencing living in a tiny house for the first time!

 

On April 18th, Kate McKenna included AskforTask in her “Must-Have Spring Cleaning Apps” on The Social (CTV).

“Spring is when you are supposed to tackle all of those little nagging jobs. But sometimes I just don’t want to do those little nagging jobs. I would rather someone else do it for me!” – Jessica Allen.

Well, there is an app for that! AskforTask!

Kate described how, through the AskforTask app, you could request anything from cleaning, handymen, dog walking, and even IKEA furniture assembly!

With the nice weather finally starting to set in, do you shudder at the thought of cleaning out your packed garage and spare bedroom, or completing all of the little household tasks you avoided all winter? Don’t worry! You can hire a friendly, well trained and reliable Tasker to complete your tasks so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the warmer weather.

Apart from AskforTask, the segment also covered a wide range of cleaning apps such as:

  • BrightNest which creates tailored home-maintenance lists, cleaning projects, and cool tutorials,
  • Think Dirty, an app that gives you “dirty ratings” of your makeup products so you can decide which ones to toss,
  • Trend Trunkan online marketplace that allows you to sell your used clothing
  • Flic, an app that spring cleans photos on your phone to make room for more memories

With all these wonderful apps available to help you, getting your life back into order will be a breeze 🙂

On April 12th, 2016, AskforTask CEO, Muneeb Mushtaq appeared on The Todd Shapiro show (Sirius XM CH 168) for an interview!

Todd Shapiro has a knack for making his guests feel comfortable and completely open up, and the interview with Muneeb was no different. Although Todd had never used AskforTask before, he seemed very intrigued by the idea of a task sharing economy platform, especially when he found out that he could get someone to assemble his IKEA furniture, which seems to be the bane of everyone’s existence.

Connecting People Through Technology

Going back to our parent’s and grandparent’s generation, everything had a very localized approach. Support for your neighbor was very common and neighborhoods were home to many more communities Although platforms like messenger apps were developed in order to better connect you with your friends and family, they actually reduced our ability to connect on a personal level. People have started to drift apart and become more isolated. AskforTask was borne from this desire to utilize and harness the immense power of technology to bring people back together and reconnect them face-to-face.

AskforTask is in the business of matching two types of people: those who are looking to free up some of their time, and those who have extra time on their hands and would like to help those in their neighborhood while making extra cash.

What is the glue that really holds this whole system together? Trust. Through AskforTask’s new Tasker onboarding system, the Taskers are interviewed, fully trained and vetted. This is how the Asker community can feel safe and comfortable with them in their own homes.

In this segment, Muneeb discusses how you no longer have to be tied to a traditional 9 – 5 job. You can find stimulating and exciting ways to make money on a schedule that works for you by engaging with the community that you are in.

Over the last couple of months, one of our main focuses has been around making sure that our Taskers are well trained, perform tasks to the highest standard of quality, and that they are friendly and personable so that you can feel comfortable with them in your home.

Reliability

With the rise of the sharing economy, there is now an elevated trust between people that allows companies like AskforTask to thrive. To provide you with the most trustworthy and brilliant workers (Taskers) around, we have introduced a new system to certify and ensure the quality of the people who will be completing tasks for you.

  • Minimum of two years experience (for cleaners and handymen)

  • In-person interview: we want them to be friendly, efficient, and reliable!

  • Tasker training: online training videos and quiz

  • Submission of government-issued ID

  • Background checks

Quality

The quality of our Taskers really sets us apart from our competitors. After every task is completed, our customers (Askers) rate the Taskers out of 5 stars. Last month (March), our average Tasker rating was 4.6 stars!

Take a look at a couple of our reviews from March!

Kyla was very nice. She really knows what she is doing. She was absolutely amazing. I never had to tell her what to do. She just knew what to do, and did it. She is perfectly trained”.

The cleaning Lorna did was excellent! She is a great communicator and she followed instructions well. I will be using her again for our rental properties”.

Friendly

We all have that friend or family member that we call when we need help with a task (although it may take them a while to get around to it). The best way to show your appreciation? Probably a case of beer and a high five. Our Taskers are not only friendly, but they are very reliable and will show up at any time that you need them! Although we don’t take a case of beer as payment, we don’t think they would say no to a high five! Having a friendly personality is a trait that we really value when hiring Taskers so that you feel comfortable and relaxed with them in your home .

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We are now entering a new era that we call “Urban Tech”. Companies are utilizing the immense power of technology to solve pressing challenges in cities to make people’s lives easier. The Urban Tech movement aims to enable cities to change the way they function by creating faster-paced environments. Above all, through technology, the urban tech movement wants to build platforms that empower people who live in urban settings.

New Cities Summit

From June 21st to the 23rd, Montréal will be buzzing as it hosts the New Cities Summit. This summit will bring in Urban Tech leaders from around the world to engage in global discussions on the challenges, opportunities and best practices for cities of the future. As an Urban Tech entrepreneur, AskforTask’s CEO Muneeb Mushtaq will be speaking on June 22nd as part of a shared economy breakout panel: “Sharing is Caring, Trust is Key”.

It is incredible to see the way people have integrated sharing economy companies into their everyday lives. Even 10 years ago, the concept of allowing strangers into your house to perform tasks or welcoming unknown people to stay at your house in your absence was unimaginable, and yet now this is the norm. The success of this type of platform is based on two things:

  1. Elevated trust between strangers
  2. Increased awareness that the average person can make additional income from the skills and assets that they already have

The panel will discuss how the sharing economy has led to heightened trust between city dwellers, and also how regulatory bodies can build on “technology-enabled trust-based interactions” to help the urban innovation ecosystem thrive.

Check out the event program, list of speakers and more information on the summit!

Finally, AskforTask would love to engage with you! We are a marketplace service that not only aims to solve the problems of service supply in urban spaces. We hope that the efficiency of our services also helps to forge strong community relations between people through technology-enabled spaces. Visit our website and like us on Facebook!

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On March 19th, AskforTask’s COO, Qazi Fakhir Jamil, participated in an amazing Hospitality and Tourism conference at Ryerson University. Focusing on the sharing economy, students, professors and industry members came together to discuss how the rise of this industry is changing the way people are buying and consuming hospitality products. Notably, one topic of discussion revolved around how this change will provide new opportunities to millennials in the coming years.

On The Rise of the Sharing Economy

During the panel session, Andrew di Tomasso, Market Manager for Expedia Canada kickstarted the day by discussing the current state of the online world of hospitality and tourism sales. New technology innovations are challenging older models to change their ways. With the increased use of sharing economy platforms like Airbnb, companies like Expedia have been forced to re-evaluate their traditional ways of selling their services.

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Food lawyer Glenford Jameson mediated the panel, and representatives from both sharing economy companies and traditionally-run companies responded to questions about how their industry and businesses have changed over the last couple of years. Besides AskforTask’s Qazi Fakhir Jamil, the panel included Foodora’s David Albert, Rover Parking’s Tim Wootton, and Easton’s Hotel Group’s Reetu Gupta. These panelists represent a range of business model types, all working in and adjacent to the food and hospitality industry.

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On The Need To Innovate

Reetu discussed how her company, which eschews a traditional business model, was now establishing a stronger focus on quality service to beat out the technology-driven Airbnb. David, Tim and Qazi explained how their sharing economy companies are providing opportunities around employment and income by encouraging people to utilize the assets and skills that they already have.

AskforTask employs an online marketplace model to locally connect Taskers who are looking for work, to Askers who need work done and facilitate a renewal of community-based support and work exchanges. Although not a traditional model of work, AskforTask draws inspiration from traditional concepts of community and neighborhood.

Overall, it was a thoughtful and stimulating panel discussion. A big thank you to HTMC 2016 for hosting such a great conference! Events like these provide a hub for like-minded people and curious students to share knowledge, experience, and resources.