A new startup is utilising the rise of the sharing economy to help people live rent-free in exchange for pet and house-sitting.
Your Home My Home (YHMH) has already facilitated the exchange of more than 4000 nights of accommodation across Australia, and founders Mikaeli Loughrey and Rebecca Nankervis say it offers a way for young twenty-something’s to save money and live rent-free in real homes.
“The share economy is reinventing old forms of trust,” Loughrey tells StartupSmart.
“Particularly after the GFC, people are more and more willing to share their homes and goods in the interest of the public than for money.”
Targeting a younger market
Compared to other housesitting platforms on the market, Loughrey says YHMH is designed for a younger audience, particularly, young homebuyers.
“We wanted to capitalise on the share economy and provide a clean, neat, high-tech website that would attract a younger demographic,” she says.
Loughrey started up the platform with Nankervis to make it easier for people to find house sitters to mind beloved pets.
“There are 33 million pets in Australia and there are lots of people in isolated areas that want someone to come in and care for their pets,” she says.
Loughrey has used YHMH several times so she and her family can travel with peace of mind their pet is home and safe.
“Our Labrador is basically one of my children,” she says.
A new share market
However, with only 50% of listed homeowners using it for pet minding, she believes YHMH’s greatest value comes in its establishment of a new share market that can make it easier for first homebuyers to save for their investment.
In contrast to the likes of startup giant Airbnb, users don’t pay to stay in the homes, but instead exchange rent for looking after the house and any pets.
“You can save more than $25,000 in a year by living rent-free,” she says.
YHMH is free for homeowners to use.
For unlimited applications to house sit, people can opt for a $79 annual subscription.
So far, house sits have lasted from four days up to three months.
Loughrey says insurance and screening measures for safety are recommended by YHMH but are the responsibility of homeowners.
The duo, aiming to make YHMH the world’s preferred housesitting platform, are planning to expand into New Zealand before going further global later in the year.