Borrowing instead of buying is always a practical choice. However, it can be a problem finding people who would willingly let you borrow from them. What if there was an organization where you can borrow from people who lend out things?
Most of you reading here have heard of FreeCycle.org. It is a nonprofit movement where you can get rid of items you no longer need by giving them away for free or request items that you need. There is another interesting site that is currently in its pre-stage that looks quite promising. It is attempting to address some of the major problems people have with FreeCycle.
The site is called Borrow Me. It’s a place where you can form groups in your community to borrow and lend items amongst one another.
Here’s how it works:
These are some of the issues it is trying to improve over FreeCycle. Some of which ring true to me in my experience with FreeCycle:
- NO REPLIES TO REQUESTS: a queue for all borrow requests and the ability to respond to all or any of them at once. We should even have a reminder if people haven’t been replied to – and the request will stay open until dealt with. (it’s only polite, right!?!)
- NO SHOWS: I have had many people not show up to claim an item. Our feedback (aka reputation) system will report any no-shows as well as a generic transaction history – so you can see how many borrows or lends someone has done, and how responsible they have been in dealing with others. There won’t be anywhere to hide!
- OUTRAGEOUS OR FREQUENT REQUESTERS: Any user can block or filter communications with any user – and we report how many ‘blocks’ each user has on their feedback. We’ll also have security features to make it really hard to have more than 1 account – or apply for a new one if you’ve spoiled the first.
- BIG STORIES FROM ‘DESPERATE’ FOLKS: There are legitimate people in need – so we are creating a way to distinguish those who are sincerely in need, from those who use such stories to get preferential treatment. There will be a method to get a ‘family in need’ flag on a members account – through a sponsoring agency or certified professional (accountants, OT’s, doctors, etc). There will be preferential treatment shown these folks – and users can tell who has a story and who is in a tight spot. Some FreeCycle groups have banned explanations for this reason, but I think it is very important to know why someone would like to borrow my baby crib, volleyball net or an Xbox console. Is it for single mom? Children’s party? Special occasion or unique event? Is the person genuinely in need of help, or just looking to exploit my goodwill for another few dollars?
- TOO MUCH INFORMATION: I’ve been quickly overwhelmed with FreeCycle listings – so BorrowMe will allow significant control over how much email and outside communication you get. Only want your friends to see your Lend List? That’s ok. Want to save certain special items for certain people? That’s ok too. Wouldn’t it be great to target our generosity a wee bit better?
What this service will do is give you the opportunity to borrow items from others in your community. As well as develop a circle of trustworthy borrowing and lending counterparts that can significantly reduce your costs each year. There won’t be a need to purchase a tool for a one-time project, or to put off that project because you don’t want to purchase the tool needed. In addition, many of the items that you have that sit around your garage or are stored in your attic or basement can help others save money. It’s a win-win situation all the way around.
By becoming a part of the group and getting in a position to borrow items you need instead of purchasing them, you will likely save hundreds of dollars a year over what you would have had to spend by yourself.