SHARING ECONOMY: BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE
Written on the 10 July 2015 by Laura Daquino
FIRST there were rooms for rent, then cars for sharing and now pets for earning - welcome Brisbane startup PetCloud to the evolving sharing economy.
PetCloud gives you the ability to realise your pet ownership dream, minus the commitment and plus the earnings.
Norman Park's Deborah Morrison recognised the opportunity in the market after frequently experiencing a lack of availability when trying to book a pet stay with kennels.
Short notice trips - commonplace in the corporate world - and the lack of flexibility with opening hours only exacerbated her frustrations.
"Family and friends weren't pet lovers and I found that taking pets to a kennel was a very impersonal experience anyway," says Morrison.
"I wanted to be able to find convenient local pet care with minders I could trust and people who were flexible, where I wouldn't have to pick up my pets by 5pm on the dot or risk paying for another night's minding.
"It made me think that I couldn't be the only one, and I viewed it as an opportunity to use my skillset as a consultant and work for a cause that really resonated with me and what I was passionate about - connecting people."
Morrison says PetCloud is ideal for students, shift workers, stay at home mums and dads, and retirees, as well as people who would like to slightly buffer their income with little hassle.
There are more than 400 people registered as pet minders on the site, with the majority in south east Queensland at this stage.
It's free to register and owners cab arrange a free 'meet and greet' with at least three potential pet minders before agreeing to drop off their pets along with bedding, food and accessories.
Pet owners on the site naturally fluctuate and Morrison says demand has been healthy.
"Many households have both parents working, and they'll employ a cleaner or a gardener to do some of the jobs they struggle to find time for so PetCloud is just an extension of that concept," says Morrison.
"If you own a pet you can do a search in your local area and look at minder profiles which are very specific and will detail the type of residency, reasons for wanting to be involved, years of experience, qualifications and other points of interest such as whether the minder has a secure fence.
"People are heavily vetted on the site and the booking and payment is processed through PayPal."
Having worked with developers for the last ten to fifteen years in across Australia and in London, she understands the required elements for a responsive website, which for PetCloud will ultimately makes it a scalable business.
"The current team is seven people, most on the tech side, and also a business development manager whose previous experience is News Corp and Fox Sports and has a few startups of his own."
Morrison says PetCloud has been built on a traditional Aussie value of keeping connected with your neighbourhood.
"We have found out what's important to Australians when it comes to pet minding and gone through due diligence," says Morrison.
"More people are accepting of new technology and ideas and are trialling a myriad of new sites that involve renting products and services, rather than buying.
"The timing is right in Brisbane at the moment, we've seen a real shift in people going back to that original village feeling where people are open to getting to know others in their local neighbourhoods."