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Zaarly And LeapTask Here To Help

For The Heights

Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Two new opportunities for Boston College students to get the things they need quickly, and maybe make some extra money, have been introduced to campus.      

The first is Zaarly, an interactive website and public marketplace (with a recently introduced BC branch) that allows members of any community to post "what they want, when they want it." The second, exclusive to BC, is LeapTask, a company of "on-demand personal assistants" for BC students, completing tasks requested by website users. Although the two are not affiliated, both are working for a common goal: to help people with the little things they need in their already stressful lives.

Zaarly works like this: a buyer posts an ad onto the website requesting something they need, and a seller will reply to complete the task for compensation. Danny Sauter, marketing coordinator for Zaarly, said that students have requested a variety of things, like "$80 for a textbook, and $20 dollars for a ride to the airport." Then, a seller would reply to the request. From that point, the two can chat through the website, negotiate prices, and decide on a meeting place. The buyer can pay in cash directly to the person, or through a credit card transaction made through the website that is not completed until the buyer clicks "pay."

 "Zaarly is an ideal platform for college students," Sauter said. "You've got an extra basketball ticket and you see someone will pay for it, or that you're a Spanish pro and someone is saying they'll pay $20 for a tutor … the possibilities to make money are endless."

Zaarly allows students in the community to make money doing things they are good at. The website has created a marketplace for students, and anyone in a community, to post their needs and give capable people the opportunity to fulfill them for compensation.

 "The goal of Zaarly U is to build a community of BC students on the website," said Annie Pemberton, campus CEO of Zaarly and A&S '13. Pemberton mentioned that Zaarly might even provide a more systematic way to obtain popular campus needs, like event tickets, textbooks, and furniture for off-campus living, putting an end to the chaotic BC Class Facebook group posts.

LeapTask works in a similar way. A BC student can go to the website and post a task online, and if an assistant is available, he or she will respond immediately. LeapTask also has pre-set tasks, like a Chipotle burrito and chips delivered for $15, or a Red Bull and snacks for $5. According to Matt LeBel, co-founder of LeapTask and A&S '13, "There is no bartering with a seller." An assistant who  works for LeapTask completes the request as soon as it is submitted for a set price. LeBel included that the average time for completion of a task with a LeapTask assistant is 33 minutes, and over 1,000 BC students are already registered on the site.

Safety is a huge concern when it comes to media of this sort with person-to-person interaction. Both companies have kept this in mind in their design, however, and have executed with extreme precaution. Pemberton commented on Zaarly's website interactions, saying privacy and safety are always maintained.

"You can chat with them through the website interface or call them through a provided number," Pemberton said. "Once you have spoken to the responder and determined whether you trust them, you can choose to accept or deny their offer."

Zaarly's website also assures that you do not have to click submit on a credit card payment until the exchange has been completed. Zaarly also offers the option of flagging posts if there is something inappropriate posted, such as  a request for alcohol delivery, or even a request for someone to write a paper or take a test for another person.

LeapTask is no different. "We only allow BC students to be assistants," Lebel said. "We have approved assistants who have given us permission to do a background check."

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