Once upon a time, neighborhood kids would go to door to door, offering their snow shoveling or babysitting services. The more enterprising would put up flyers. The Internet has allowed homeowners to branch out beyond their immediate vicinity for all sorts of tasks, and services like TaskRabbit help them find cleaners, plumbers, and grocery shoppers to do their unwanted chores. But apparently many people still like the idea of getting help from their neighbors, Nextdoor says it’s found.
The platform initially started as a way for neighbors to communicate about things that are happening in the community — maybe there’s been a swath of burglaries or someone’s about to have an epic yard sale. Users in its 83,000 neighborhoods have also been leveraging it to find someone to fix a clogged sink or a babysitter, though, so the company decided to formalize the service with Nextdoor Now. “We did not invent this,” Nextdoor co-founder Sarah Leary told BuzzFeed News. “This is how people are using Nextdoor.”
It’s only been available for a couple weeks and so far has rolled out to San Francisco and Austin to start. Those with the skills (“providers”) must go through address verification, like all members of Nextdoor. Neighbors looking for a babysitter, dog walker, pet sitter, tutor, handyman, and so on select the appropriate service on the app or website. Nextdoor will either find nearby providers, or you can review their profiles yourself. You explain what you need done and when, and the request will go out to providers. For those who respond, you can look at their reviews, then choose whom you want to hire. The rest of the transaction is entirely up to you and the babysitter or dog walker. Nextdoor doesn’t mediate any disputes or make any money off the service; the two parties handle the payment.
The idea isn’t to get a professional plumber out to your house, as with Google or Amazon Home Services, but to find you the help you need and put a little cash in the pocket of Maya from two streets down.
Update 12/7/2015: Post updated to reflect Nextdoor is used in 83,000 neighborhoods.