AskNextDoor is not a modern invention; borrowing and lending tools amongst neighbours has been a common and popular way of building communities and sharing tools between friends and neighbours for hundreds if not thousands of years. AskNextDoor is an old idea and a known way of interacting between people, being further enabled through new technologies and peer-to-peer networks. In other words, technology is reinventing new ways to establish trust among neighbour, and to enable a means of exchanging favours.
How it all started
Thomas, the founder of AskNextDoor, was moving houses and needed to hire a trailer for a few hours. As he was driving through his neighbourhood he passed multiple car trailers that nearby people owned but kept unused. He was willing to pay one of his neighbours in order to borrow their trailer, but couldn’t overcome the introduction barrier. Also, not knowing many of his neighbours well, he didn’t know who would be most receptive and reliable, and similarly how to demonstrate his own trustworthiness to them. The AskNextDoor idea was born.
Lucas joined the team
In order to build the largest neighbour-to-neighbour car trailer (and other cool stuff) hire community, we needed to introduce some additional technologically savvy firepower; this is when Lucas (www.lukaszwidz.pl), our amazing platform programmer, joined the AskNextDoor team.
We are online
AskNextDoor had officially launched, and we began writing the rest of our history. We know that it is not easy to approach an unknown neighbour, who often can seem to be a stranger. However, we were surprised to realise how quickly any person can lose that “stranger” feeling once the initial introductions have been made and the conversations start flowing. AskNextDoor helps to ease the awkwardness of that initial introduction, by matching people who share a local community and have resources that they would be happy to share with their neighbours. Gumtree, Craigslist, and eBay are a marketplaces matching items for sale with prospective buyers, AirTasker matches people who have tasks to be completed with “strangers” who offer their services in response, and AirBnB allows people to open their personal properties to “strangers”. The list goes on. AskNextDoor offers items for hire and helps to introduce people who are specifically looking to hire car trailers, storage space, and other similar resources from each other.
AskNextDoor is completly free
When making a booking, AskNextDoor doesn’t charge any fee, but we still have the costs that are associated with running an online website, hence we offer the opportunity “to-buy-our programmers a coffee” (LINK) where you can make a small payment using either a credit card or PayPal account. The item hire at AskNextDoor website can be either free of charge or at some payment, depending on the hirer’s preferences, but regardless we always encourage some form of payment, as we believe that this kind of transaction encourages both parties to behave with consideration, and makes the whole process more reliable.
AskNextDoor is at the heart of peer-to-peer collaboration that may be local, face-to-face, or online to connect and its purpose is to help overcome the introduction barrier between people meeting for the first time, and to build initial trust based on others users past experiences. It serves to simply connect nearby people and enable sharing of resources for a reasonable fee or even a favour within their communities – be it in a geographical region or general interest areas i.e people who want to transport horses can hire horse floats using AskNextDoor.
Now we count on you
Help us write our story. As the Economist magazine noted, individuals involved in a sharing economy (i.e. Uber, eBay, AirBnB, AirTasker) are becoming ‘microentrepreneurs’1. Some people are making a small buck on the side and others are making significant income from peer-to-peer, neighbour-to-neighbour rental and purchase of resources that would otherwise be sitting in the corner gathering dust. Wikipedia, Linux and YouTube are a well-known knowledge sharing phenomenon which have all grown astronomically over the past decade. AskNextDoor is here to offer people way to share their assets with their neighbours and other people who may be able to make good use of them at times when they would have otherwise been sitting idle.
1 ‘Collaborative consumption’, posted www.economist.com (Babbage; Science and technology; posted 22 April 2010)