Shift Happens at

By September 13, 2010 is a Chicago startup, founded by Sean Corbett, that provides an online exchange for hourly shift workers.  The concept is simple.  As an hourly employee, such as a barista at Starbucks or burger assembler at McDonald’s, you sign up for an account and choose one of three options: post a shift, pick up a shift and manage shifts.  This is a brilliant idea.  Most workplaces put the onus on the employee to find someone to cover their shift but makes this process simple and seamless.  As the title suggests, sh*t happens and sometimes you need help finding someone to pick up a shift which you cannot work due to illness, unexpected emergency or that once in a lifetime event (such as a Flyover Geeks party!) that you just can’t miss.  This obviously fills a huge void in managing your time as an hourly employee.  This service also opens the market to shift seekers who are maybe down on their luck and need to pick up a few extra shifts to pay the bills or save up for that dream vacation to the Bahamas.  Normally these shift seekers would be limited to their store or maybe the small number of nearby stores.  Now they can simply search by zip code to find all of the available shifts in a given area.  The third service, and one that seems greatly under utilized, is the ability for workplace managers to use the site to manage shifts.  Employees are not always proactive in finding someone to cover their shift and workplace managers now have an option to staff shifts with resources beyond their local list of employees.

The site is completely free for basic usage and only charges for some features such as an emergency shift which is $5.  Five bucks gets you higher listing priority, pretty colors and the option to add a note explaining your extenuating circumstance.  Another interesting feature allows a user to add ‘extra money’ to the post when users are in a bind and need to find someone relatively quick.  The site is quick to point out that they do not guarantee the extra payment and it does not filter through their site.  An mention of extra money is simply a promise to pay the person who picked up the shift outside of

The site started in Chicago but has quickly gained traction in other cities such as San Francisco.  Do you think this is a good idea? Do you see any problems this site may face scaling to other cities or other services such as temp agencies?