1. People do not want to lend out things that belong to them without a guarantee it will be returned to them undamaged.This may seem like a no brainer and it is, but I did not realize just how much. Everyone I talked to had a hard time with the idea of trusting a person they didn’t know with small things that they owned. The majority of people do not want to steal what you have. If they know it belongs to you they will take care of it. I emphasized this to everyone interested, but it didn’t matter. They wanted some sort of security. Now this is one of the top priorities of the site. Verification of qualified individuals in order to ensure a quality transaction. Verification will include some form of identification such as a drivers license or passport, address confirmation, and private and public feedback for both sides of the transaction, the owner and the renter. Also, in order to ensure everyone gets their items returned and in good condition a security deposit will be used. If an item is damaged then the security deposit will be used to fix it. If an item is not returned then the security deposit will help reimburse the cost of the item. If something is outright stolen then the local authorities can be notified and the individual can be identified quickly and easily and dealt with accordingly.
2. Ease of use is extremely important.With my first attempt at the site there were lots of little things that did not flow and I could not adjust due to the website building program I had used. Some of these things included the amount of work it was to post an item, the date format not matching the standard used in the country, the ability to adjust all your items in one place and the process to reserve an item not being obvious. If things on the site are going to work I decided they would have to be fixed. Now the process to post will be simplified and smoothed out. The date format will make sense without people having to think about it and the ability to adjust all your items in one place will be available.
3. What if a person rents an item and is then ignored by the owner?Now the money is held by the payment processor until the transaction is complete. So the money can be returned without the possibility of them taking the money and running. Also, feedback will be a huge indication of whether or not you can trust someone. A person with many transactions and only positive feedback tells you that nobody has had issues with them. On he other side of the coin, a person with much negative feedback should warn you to be cautious of the person.Read More
(Scroll down toward the bottom for the lessons learned)I got home from work the next day picked up the canopy and went to drop it off. I had asked if anyone was going to be there to hand it over to and they had told me that yes there would be. As I pulled up to the front of the house I could see some pre-teenage kids sitting on a couch on the front porch. I told them I had a canopy to drop off, but they had no idea what I was talking about. They went in the house to get their mom and she came out. She also had no idea what I was talking about. I tried calling the person who had made the request, but they didn’t answer. Then one of the guys who walked out of the house with the mother said it was probably DJ who had rented it. He called DJ and talked to him. It was him who had requested it. So I proceeded to the backyard with the caravan of about three kids, two male adults and, the wife. I helped them set up the canopy and they seemed very grateful, because as they put it, they would have had no idea of how to set it up. I left there now a little bit more comfortable knowing where they lived at and having met the family who would be using it. A couple days later I messaged (who I thought was) DJ asking exactly when he would be bringing the canopy back. He asked if I could come by and pick it up from the house again. I agreed because I was anxious to get it back and complete the transaction. He said he was having trouble paying with the website and said he would give me cash in person. I reluctantly agreed knowing that it was very likely that they were having trouble since I was still new to all this too and the payment process wasn’t super simple. I drove over to the house knocked on the door, told them I was there to pick up the canopy, and asked for DJ. DJ was not home was the answer I got. I walked around the side of the house to the backyard where the canopy was still set up. I could see that they had haphazardly put up the walls to the canopy, although it did not appear that they even tried to do it correctly. The corners were not in the corners. They were half way dangling on the ground in the dirt and mud (as it had rained last night). And kids had taken a red marker and colored on a small portion of the wall. I disassembled the canopy and put it away. Upon doing this I discovered one of the legs had been bent. I took it all out to the car. As I did so, DJ drove up to the house. I talked with him for a little bit and he seemed extremely grateful for the use of the canopy. I asked him for the money and he seemed flabbergasted that I had not yet been paid. Come to find out it this whole time it was one of his students who had reserved the canopy for him. And I had no idea. In the end it all worked out, just not very smoothly or efficiently. The $30 I charged for the rental covered the cost of a new leg and the red marker and dirt came off the canopy walls after much scrubbing. In all it took me several hours of work to fully complete the transaction, clean the canopy, and fix the broken leg and I might have made a dollar or two. Was it worth it? Monetarily, no. But in the lessons I learned, yes. The next time around I could complete the transaction without all the problems and make some money.