Written by Anne Pihl
The internet is flooded with the news of IKEA’s purchase of startup TaskRabbit, an on-demand platform for hiring people to do everything from build furniture to stand in line for you at the Apple Store. With IKEA’s backing it’s bound to become a new household name.
Great news for anyone who hates assembling IKEA furniture. Also music to the ears of anyone who loves the convenience of hiring someone local to simply come to your home and help you with things you either can’t or don’t want to do yourself.
How did Sweden ever get by before TaskRabbit and what are your current options?
If you’ve recently moved to Sweden, you’re probably short of contacts for plumbers, electricians and other essential services, which can be a real headache when the need or a real emergency arises. Worse still, your neighbours might seem to do everything themselves.
A nation of DIY experts
Sweden has a proud history of DIY, not least because of the enormous success of IKEA and self-assembly. A combination of tradition, practical training in schools and high taxes on services has ensured a high level of competence and confidence when it comes to DIY.
Most Swedish homeowners wouldn’t think twice about carrying out minor repairs or renovations and many are happy to attempt much larger projects. Long annual holidays and a high level of ownership of country cottages, often in isolated areas, have also been important factors in encouraging and sustaining DIY skill levels.
ROT and RUT changed everything in Sweden
The relatively recent introduction of tax breaks for household services, maintenance and improvements (ROT and RUT deductions) has had a big impact on Swedish homeowner’s dedication and commitment to DIY. These new tax deduction opportunities have coincided happily with a period of sustained strong economic growth in Sweden and huge increases in property values, making homeowners feel wealthier and more willing to outsource services.
Having help to clean your home for example, has become normal and acceptable over the last 10 years in a way that would have been unthinkable before, not least because of Sweden’s socialist traditions.
An explosion of service providers
This tax development also led to the creation of a multitude of service providers offering everything from household services to help with homework, leaving many Swedes wondering how they ever coped before. The impact of global giant IKEA getting behind a service company like TaskRabbit is also likely to have a huge impact on attitudes to DIY. TaskRabbit may become as synonymous with household tasks as Uber has become with taxis. Swedes’ innate ability to assemble furniture may even be lost from their DNA forever!
Current options for outsourcing household services and skilled craftspeople in Sweden
There are a number of platforms for hiring people in Sweden for things you can’t or don’t want to do. Here are three of them.
This site helps you to find a service company who can help you in your home or at work. You write a description of your needs and get up to 6 quotes from which you choose one. Tasks profiled on the site include cleaning, moving services & transport, building & renovation, gardening, building maintenance, architects and interior design, financial and legal assistance, web/IT and design.
- Task Runner
TaskRunner offers a network of individuals who can provide help on demand and a quote for the work you need done. You choose who you want to hire. Tasks profiled on their website include assembling IKEA furniture, gardening, help with moving, transports to the dump/recycling stations, handymen/craftsmen.
This company enables you to hire a pensioner for the work you need done and has over 30 offices in Sweden. Tasks profiled include gardening, cleaning, painting, handymen/craftsmen, care of the elderly, and last but not least, hiring an extra grandparent.
Unfortunately Swedish is required to use the above sites and may be needed to have satisfactory communication with the service provider. If you need help using these sites, information on tax deductions for household services or even better, a good old fashioned recommendation for help from someone tried and trusted, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation or to arrange project management. We provide a full range of support services for newcomers to Sweden. See www.relocatetosweden.com
About the author
An Irish expat in Stockholm. I moved to Sweden in 1998 with my Swedish husband and new-born daughter after living and working in England, Germany and Ireland. With nearly two decades of experience of living, working and raising a family in Sweden, I now help other expats moving to Sweden through my relocation company.