The Sharing Economy – Changing the way we live

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The sharing economy is changing the way we live and the face of business. The rise of companies like Airbnb and Uber has caused a level of disruption unlike any before.

In Australia over half of the population now spend and earn money through the sharing economy, according to RateSetter’s 2017 Report: Sharing Economy Trust Index. That’s a pretty high number considering ten years ago this marketplace didn’t even exist!

This data also shows that in the next six months 60% of Australians are set to earn additional money from this burgeoning economy. Not only is this good news for individuals looking to earn extra funds, but also for those with business ideas who are keen to expand this space.

The shifting business landscape for start-ups

In the past six months as a media presenter I’ve interviewed the founders of Airtasker, Camplify, Spacer, Flatmates.com.au and Work fast – all share economy start-ups and I see no signs of this industry slowing down.

In fact, businesses ready to take advantage of peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing seem to crop up almost every week. There’s really no limit to the possibility of ideas in this space. Basically, if you own something that someone might want to use or borrow, you can make money.

The Room Xchange

To my mind, one of the latest and greatest share economy businesses to crop up in Australia is The Room Xchange. This innovative start-up allows individuals to exchange their spare room for a couple of hours help around the house per week.

The great thing about this concept is that it’s a win-win situation for both the host and guest. Busy families or working professionals get help without the costs and those struggling to make ends meet get free accommodation and board.

I recently interviewed the company founder Ludwina Dautovic about her game-changing business and its place in the share economy.

“In a nutshell it’s Airbnb for barter but for mid to long term accommodation, so instead of exchanging money for the room you exchange your time.

According to Ludwina there are over “7 million spare bedrooms in Australia” which illustrates the potential The Room Xchange has to help the time poor and those looking for accommodation nationwide.

The idea stemmed from Ludwina’s own personal experience when she took in a French Canadian backpacker for free in exchange for help around the house. What she and her family had expected to be a short term exchange actually extended to an 18 month stint.

“It was amazing, a remarkable experience and he went about two months ago. He became like a son to us.

Every single drawer was organised, he was methodical. He cleaned out my husband’s garage and we never had to weed the garden. And any time we had a dinner party, and we do it often, he got the house completely ready.”

To keep things fair, and prevent any hosts from overworking their guests, Ludwina came up with a loose cost model for the Room Xchange.

The cost model for The Room Xchange

“It’s a couple of hours a day, 14 hours a week and we work it out to about $25 an hour which we think is pretty fair for domestic help.

We also evaluate what it would be if you were to pay rent and utilities in the kind of home you’d be staying in”, said Ludwina.

With increasing rental prices across capital cities in Australia Ludwina says the room Xchange is the perfect platform for university students or those looking to save some extra cash.

But, the biggest concern for individuals when it comes to using any share economy platform is security.

Is security an issue for share economy businesses?

“Years ago we would never have jumped into a car that wasn’t an identified taxi, yet [now] we do it every day.

But we’ve come to realise that there are platforms available to vet and verify people and I think too, it’s really nice, to see society as whole trusting each other more”, said Ludwina.

Ludwina says when it comes to personal security The Room Xchange team go above and beyond to ensure their users’ safety.

“You need two social media accounts, an email address, phone number and a copy of photo ID.

We even take it one step further, beyond other sharing platforms, and insist that both users (host and guest) provide us with a police check – that can be approved in one day”, she said.

The Room Xchange had their first public launch and capital raise last month, which will fund the technology needed to build in ratings and reviews for their website.

“This will help make everybody feel secure”, Ludwina said.

At two dollars a night for both host and guest to cover administrative costs and insurance, this platform is sure to change the way we think of bartering time, instead of money, for physical commodities.

To find out more about The Room Xchange click here.


Listen to the full 2GB interview with Ludwina Dautovic  CEO of the Room Xchange below.

 

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