Where the ‘Sharing’ Economy Falls Short
Our economy is making a shift, and has been since the beginning of the 2000s. We’ve started to ‘share’ and trade our materials. The sharing economy is part of our daily life; from the photos we share on Facebook, the couches that host travelers at night, to the TV show marathons we watch on Netflix. What began as a technology shift providing efficiency in our communities, is now an industry filled with multi-billion dollar companies.
The major advantages of the sharing economy are enabling our peers to make use of their unused commodities and turning them into a profit. Companies are not the only ones benefiting from this new way of capitalizing on “what’s mine is yours” attitude. Individuals are able to use their peers houses, cars, clothes, office space, and yes, even a spare couch. Providing the option to ‘rent’ instead of buy has made materials more affordable, less cumbersome and more productive. There’s now an easy way to get a designer handbag, other than trucking around the mall, spending hours shopping and then realizing you don’t want to spend a $1000 on a bag. You simply go online, look for one that’s fitting for the event and click “Borrow”. No hard decisions made because it’s not a long-term commitment and it’s inexpensive (considering the alternative is to buy). With all of this sharing, there is bound to be some downsides.
Trust. Both parties have to be willing to trust that the person is not a fraud or criminal. The ‘sharing’ companies are not able to interview every person that opens their house to travelers or watches your dog for a weekend while you travel. Booking with these companies is based on having confidence that they are who they say they are. If you aren’t comfortable with meeting strangers, ‘sharing’ is most likely not for you. There’s no buffer or safeguard around the fact that you do not know these individuals; trust and confidence is all you have. While the ‘sharing’ economy is a trend that will only continue growing as technology is developing and GenX ages, we are hopefully that companies will continue to strengthen their ability to analyze the offerings. After all, who wants the commitment and payments of having a car, house, or even a dog, when there’s a whole world of your peers that are willing to let you borrow theirs?
Now onto the subject of how FlipFlop Dogs fits into the ‘sharing’ economy picture. FlipFlop Dogs’ franchises provide companionship as our customers travel. Our customer’s dog stays in the home of a background-checked, home inspected and certified dog lover. In this case, we are ‘sharing’ dogs. Some of the Companion Families gain the joy of having the company from a visiting dog, while others like that their dog has a playmate. Our Companion Families do not have the full time commitment of dog ownership, and are only asked to watch dogs based on their availability.
“We are technically the middleman, or as we like to say “doggy matchmakers” in the business.”
Our FlipFlop franchisees find a Companion Family that is best suited for your dog, that meets both your dog’s personality and needs, as well as what the Companion Family is looking for. We go above and beyond in conceptualizing the sharing way, but we strive to make it the best possible match for all parties involved. If there was a high-energy dog that runs 3 miles a day, they would not enjoy a ‘vacation’ with an elderly Companion that likes to lay around and read. The other concept that we feel is important to maintain, is that only your dog is being cared for by the Companion Family- no other customer’s dogs. The Companion Families are not doing this to make a living off of, but for their love of dogs. Lastly, if anything were to happen to the Companion Family, we have back plans. If you are on vacation, the last thing you want is a phone call saying that your dog is no longer being taken care of and is left alone. We assure you, nothing like that will ever happen on our watch. We facilitate the trust and responsibility by getting to know both parties extremely well. Although there is no interaction between the Companion Family and the customer, we feel it’s a vital part of how our ‘sharing’ works. On the customer’s side, you do not have to meet with strangers or know if they are a good fit for your dog by talking to them for a few minutes. On the Companion Family side, you will never have a stranger walking around your house, wondering where their dog will stay and grilling you with questions. We gather all our information from background checks and in-depth in-person interviews. Our FlipFlop Dog franchises are trained to be the best at what they do: match dogs with qualified dog lovers. Taking the negativity out of the ‘sharing’ economy to benefit dog owners and dog lovers, is what we do.