Ever want to pay someone to sit on hold for you? Or to compile a list of the best gluten-free food in your area? Fancy Hands is a NYC-based startup that lets you do just that. The web-based service makes extra help affordable with flat rates.
Fancy Hands offers the services of personal assistants to the masses. The company’s fleet of professional contractors, located throughout the U.S., are always available for service requests around the clock. The army of assistants will do almost anything that doesn’t involve them getting up from their chairs.
Fancy Hands specializes in research, making phone calls and returning emails. Popular requests also include arranging appointments, finding local services, transcribing small chunks of audio or compiling lists. For a better idea of the range of services, check out Fancy Hands’ list of common requests.
Members can submit requests from anywhere in the world to Fancy Hands. Submissions are received by email, by phone or through Basecamp. Requests are usually completed on the same business day. Tasks may take a couple minutes or an hour depending on details.
The two-year-old startup was created by Ted Roden at a busy point in his life. He had his first child and signed a book deal in the same week. With a full-time job as a developer at The New York Times, he needed help with small, everyday tasks. Roden built the service around his own need.
“If I wanted to do anything outside my core area of responsibilities, I just couldn’t get it done,” Roden tells Mashable. “If I wanted to make a reservation to take my wife out to dinner, I wasn’t able to do it. So, I said maybe I could get someone to do this for me.”
Roden eventually finished the book and turned his startup dream into a profitable business with the help of freelance assistants.
Fancy Hands is based in NYC’s SoHo. Its six full-time employees of programmers and developers are building new features within the website. It’s a well-oiled system. Speed and quality are top priorities for the team of handpicked assistants, Roden says. Everything is quality-checked before completion. Detailed reports are written up for each task, stating the amount of time spent and specific actions taken to get the task done.
“All the communication is logged,” he says. “You can get a good sense on how much we’re working on a task for you. At the end of the day, you can say, my time is worth $10 an hour. If someone sat on the phone two to three times on the phone for me, I saved a lot of money.”
The startup’s goal is to make life easier for everyone. Roden wants to revolutionize the way people work the same way the Internet changed airline ticket purchases. Before Orbitz, Expedia and other websites to compare flights, the only option for customers looking to fly was calling the airline or travel agent. Instead of being able to compare prices and buy the cheapest tickets, customers had to agree to whatever the airline agents told them.
“The Internet came along and now it’s almost hard to remember how it was before,” Roden says. “I want to do that for other things. In the future, I want people to say ‘For scheduling, I can’t believe I used to email back and forth.’ I want that to happen for a lot of aspects in your life.”
Fancy Hands offers monthly rates as well as yearly packages. Get five requests a month for $25, 15 requests a month for $45 and unlimited requests for $95 per month.