An Indian company has been entrusted with the job of reading out bedtime stories to kids in the US. The company's to-do list also includes daily wake-up calls, collecting parking fines, "apologising" and sending flowers and cards — on clients' behalf to friends and spouses.
Welcome to life outsourcing — or "personal assistance". Two Indian companies — the Bangalore-based Get Friday and the Hyderabad and New York-based Ask Sunday -- are providing personal assistance services to customers in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia.
"We can carry out any personal task for our clients that can be carried out over via email, fax or telephone," says Sunder P, CEO, TTK Services Private Limited, the company that runs Get Friday.
Also popular are "requests from customers for finding dates online," says the 27-year-old New York-based co-founder of Ask Sunday, Avinash Samudrala.
Sunder says payments are based on the number of hours allotted every month to carry out tasks: they range between a 160-hour plan ($ 1,120) and a 10-hour plan ($ 120).
Finally, sample a few requests made by customers to Ask Sunday. "Call Monday 8 am to make sure I'm awake in time to prepare for my presentation", or "Pick up a charity gift basket I just won in an auction at the MOMA and drop it off with my doorman. I'm out for dinner and don't want to carry it around all night".
Aren't clients uneasy about sharing personal information, credit card details or passport numbers? "We have full proof security measures in place to protect our customer data," says Samudrala. "We've had no complaints so far," adds Sunder.