Ikea's assemble-it-yourself furniture is notorious for ruining relationships and sanity. But now there is a way for customers to save themselves the frustration.
The Swedish furniture retailer announced plans on Tuesday to roll out a program with labor marketplace TaskRabbit nationwide. Customers can book a "tasker" through TaskRabbit to assemble their Ikea furniture for a flat price depending on the size of the item.
The service is currently available in New York City and San Francisco locations and will be released in more major cities throughout the year. Customers also may signup for the service online in locations where TaskRabbit is already available.
The reaction to the California rollout has been overwhelmingly positive. Jackie DeChamps, Ikea's chief operating officer, said that customers and employees have been very excited about the program and the flexibility it allows them.
Ikea's other assembly services were only available for online orders and required assembly at the time of delivery, whereas a Tasker can assemble furniture that was bought in-store and work around the customer's schedule.
One of the biggest differences that has come out of the integration is the flat-rate pricing. A single Pax wardrobe costs $81 to assemble through TaskRabbit's Ikea program. Ikea's other assembly service costs $159 for the item and various Craigslist listings have displayed prices between $100 and $200.
A Tasker mentioned that she was not a fan of the new pricing model, though. She had assembled Ikea furniture before but was paid significantly less for the same job under the Ikea name. The flat rate did not account for extra time that was spent assembling the product, leading to a lower hourly rate than she would normally get from an assembly service.
On the other hand, the volume of work Taskers get has increased in the areas where the program has already been implemented. Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit, said that many Taskers are earning a higher income due to the volume of work and are pleased with the results.
It is ultimately up to the Taskers whether they want to opt into the program or not. They can choose to set their own hourly rates, but miss out on the extra exposure coming from the integrated Ikea program.
TaskRabbit said it expects the increased exposure is worth the lower rates. The program has been successful in the U.K. already. Brown-Philpot would like to expand the TaskRabbit store integration internationally.
If the nationwide rollout in the U.S. continues the positive trend the California and U.K. locations have seen, the two companies could see significant growth.
TaskRabbit's success also could be good news for fans of the gig-economy model. A study from Intuit predicted that 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors by 2020.