Back To Basics: Businesses That Emphasize Sharing
Sharing is a concept learned from a young age, and while we may not all do it well, new and innovative companies believe it's important to try to share and be a friend through use of their unique services. ParkatmyHouse.com connects drivers with parking spots, SingleSpotCamping.com takes backyard camping to a new level, and Bixi brings bike sharing to Montreal.
If you live or work in a major urban center, you know as well as ParkatmyHouse.com that finding a place to park can be a big problem. Using public parkades are expensive enough, they might as well be asking for your first born child; when parking in the street you have to contend with plugging meters, parking enforcement, and weather conditions; and no matter where you choose to park, you typically find yourself driving around for endless moments trying to find a spot.
ParkatmyHouse.com eliminates the never ending parking problems by allowing home owners to rent out parking on their driveways, garages and car parks when they're not in use at affordable rates; bringing in extra income during these tough economic times and helping out fellow drivers in need. Individuals interested in renting their parking spots, can advertise their location, rental price and the availability schedule of the parking spaces on the website. Posting is free, but ParkatmyHouse.com takes a 10% fee from the parking spot owner once their space has been successfully rented. ParkatmyHouse.com is currently available in Canada, the US, Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
SingleSpotCamping.com isn't so different from ParkatmyHouse.com, since both services offer individuals the opportunity to rent out portions of their property for the use of others. Unlike with ParkatmyHouse.com, which deals in cars, SingleSpotCamping.com offers a place to park your tents, provided you live in North America, Europe, or Australia.
SingleSpotCamping.com allows land owners to advertise ideal camping spots on their property, suitable for tents, motor homes or caravans for the equivalent of $60 USD per year (or at a 50% discount until the end of February). They are able to determine the size of the lots, facilities available (including or discluding electricity), post their pictures and set their price. Would-be campers simply need to search the site for available camping locations at their destination of choice and contact the advertiser to make arrangements.
Bixi, is a sharing business concept of a different form, and does not run in a peer-to-peer format like its competition above. It's the first business to bring the popular high-tech, public bike sharing program to North America, through its upcoming April launch in Montreal, Canada. Bixi is funded by membership contributions, which are by the year ($78 CDN), month ($24), or day ($5) which allows bikers to take a bike from one of the solar powered bike stands in the city, and drop it off when they're finished at another designated location. Bikers are encouraged to make short trips, since any voyage under a half an hour doesn't come with any additional charges; after that rates climb as high as $12 for an hour.
Bixi's first 3,000 bikes will be installed in April, 2009 and will be equipped with RFID tags so that live information is available online regarding the availability of bikes at various stand locations. Due to Montreal's harsh winter seasons, this green transportation solution will be available only from April through November each yet, but they are hoping that this economically and environmentally friendly concept will be quick to catch on to build it into a self-sustaining program.
Peer-to-peer business services and other sharing business concepts are growing in popularity, as they give individuals the opportunity to generate additional revenues in a time of need. But if our favorite kindergarten teachers taught us correctly, it shouldn't be about the money, it should be about being a friend.