(The moniker 1099 nods to the tax forms the IRS requires of most independent contractors.) In the 1099 economy, the company’s role is to facilitate two sides of a marketplace, linking people who have time and skills to people who need their help.
Home services seemed like a good fit for the 1099 approach.
But when I slipped into conversation with a woman from Handy’s customer service department, she told me something surprising.
Former Handy employees I spoke with described a workplace that has conformed to every caricature of the contemporary startup: Grueling hours for staffers.
I had come to the party at the invitation of a Handy PR rep and was making the rounds, introducing myself as a journalist and chatting with employees.
Most had drinks in hand and seemed eager to celebrate.
As for the cleaners, many have enjoyed the business the Handy platform has brought them.
But others have felt exploited by the company’s policies. They must maintain exceptionally high ratings to earn the most competitive wages and to keep getting gigs.
In the past, getting your house tidied typically involved either hiring someone through an expensive cleaning company or searching for help on the gray market.