From Lyft to TaskRabbit, the “gig economy” is exploding, so it’s about time that teens had a chance to get in on the action. That’s why Palo alto tech expert and mother Janet Shah created TeenJobFind, which matches teens with local jobs, such as washing cars, tutoring, babysitting or yard work. And like other ‘on demand’ services, TeenJobFind runs via mobile devices, with an app available on both IOS and Android that brings the timeless concept of neighborhood teenage jobs to the smartphone.
TeenJobFind is the perfect answer to, “Can I have this?”
Shah was motivated to build TeenJobFind after facing the same quandary as many other parents of teens: She wanted her children to learn the value of earning money, but couldn’t fit a regular work schedule into their busy lives.
“When my three kids asked me for things, I found myself reminding them that when I was their age, I was babysitting and earning my own money,” Shah said. “However, because of academics and extracurricular activities, my kids don’t have time for a traditional part-time job.”
How, she wondered, could her children gain valuable skills such as a strong work ethic, responsibility, and financial independence, and still meet their other commitments? “I thought it would be wonderful if teens could work on their own time, still giving them life lessons while fitting into their crazy schedules.”
Background checks make ‘gig’ jobs safe for teens
Drawing on her experience at Apple, Yahoo and other tech companies, Shah thought through the elements of TeenJobFind carefully before launching the app. First on her list was security. As a mother, she did not want to send her children to a stranger’s house to do a job without knowing if the situation was safe.
That is why all potential job posters on TeenJobFind must agree to a background check through a third party, which screens for violent offenses, sexual offenses, and other criminal offenses that may present a risk to users of the app. As emphasized in the site’s FAQ, “Our mission at TeenJobFind is to create a safe marketplace. Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of those using our platform.”
Give a hoot? App matches ‘owls’ to ‘owlets’
Adults looking for help, called ‘owls’ in TeenJobFind lingo, download the app, submit their information for the security check, and begin posting jobs once they are cleared.
Teenagers interested in working – called ‘owlets’ – also need to download the app and join the forum. Through geolocation, TeenJobFind shows both teens and job posters which jobs are available in their neighborhood, or ‘nest.’
When ‘owls’ need a job done, they post a ‘hoot,’ which gets sent to nearby ‘owlets,’ whether it is for occasional yard work, cleaning a garage, taking care of pets, helping out at a party or tutoring. The possibilities are endless. Teenagers can choose to complete the task if it works with their schedule and interest.
One price for all jobs
If you have ever hired a teen, you know that it is tricky to figure out how much to pay them. Fortunately, TeenJobFind takes the angst out of this situation by charging job posters $15 per hour for all tasks.
From this fee, teens get paid $12, which is transferred electronically through the app. Like most other gig economy apps, TeenJobFind uses the $3 per hour difference to cover operational costs and increase accessibility to these services.
Expanding to Redwood City and beyond
TeenJobFind began in Palo Alto and recently expanded to Redwood City due to a strong positive response from both teens and job posters. Shah and her team have plans to continue to grow as more users come on board.
Teen “Owlet” Testimonials:
“TeenJobFind is a user friendly app that has helped me find small jobs in my community…Living on a busy street makes it hard to find jobs through neighbors, which is why it is so nice to have a service like TeenJobFind…” -Hallie Faust, Freshman Palo Alto High School
“I really like TeenJobFind because it’s easy to use and you know exactly what you’re going to work on. It’s also a good motivation to see the app on your phone and think about helping someone instead of playing on your phone all the time… The fact that the app sends you the money directly is also really convenient and you get to save money to buy whatever you want :)” – Chris Ford, Freshman Gunn High School
Adult “Owl” Testimonials:
“I love this new service! I don’t know what I would have done without the helpers that I got through TeenJobFind….I used TeenJobFind to help me make room for guests to sleep in our attached garage, put Ikea chairs together and even spruce up the house. Each of the teens I used were hard working and open to whatever tasks needed to get done. Thanks to TeenJobFind, I am ready to host Thanksgiving….”—Victoria Shoemaker Palo Alto Job Poster
“Perfect – so easy!! Thanks so much. Kailee was great and my girls loved her. And I’m glad I got out and met some other parents tonight. 🙂 Thanks again for being so on top of everything! Will use this again for sure! ” –Megan Heredia, Palo Alto Job Poster
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all photos courtesy of TeenJobFind