Recently, a new kind of community outreach has come to American cities in the form of Collaborative Commerce. Now what is Collaborative Commerce? It is a coordinated effort made through interactions among employees, partners, and customers of diverse firms belonging to a trading community or industry segment. This is a fancy way of saying that customers work with companies to better their community and get the things they need. This is a very progressive idea for Americans to be implementing, since we are generally a country of individuals who want everything individually, rather than sharing resources. This is particularly true when it comes to sharing of resources. We are used to having everything ourselves, our own houses, our own cars, etc. But with rising gas prices and the state of the economy, it is time to find some solutions.
- City Car Share
City Car Share is a California based company that has locations in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, El Cerrito, Albany, and Daly City, California. Having found its roots in San Francisco, City Car Share is one of the largest nonprofit transportation distributors in the country.
How it Works
The Process: You can look for cars at specific locations and reserve them online or by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Then you simply pick up the car at the location and can use it for as long as you have rented it. Gas and insurance are included in the price of the rental.
Costs: The rate for renting the car is only $45 a month (compared to paying around $500 to own a vehicle) or $6.75 an hour based on fees for hours and miles driven. The rates include all gas, maintenance, and insurance in case of accident. The insurance works the same as any other insurance plan but with much higher base coverage and also offers road-side assistance 24-hours a day.
Requirements: Like renting any car, you must be 21 years old to do so and have a valid U.S. driver’s license (this can be from any state and is not limited to California drivers). Also you must have had a driving record for at least two consecutive years and minimal driving violations.
The Community Impact
City Car Share is not only beneficial to those who need to rent cars but also for those who may not use their car very often. The company also offers the option for people who own cars to rent their cars out to others through the company’s partnership program. This means that when you’re working or staying at home for the day, you can make money (up to $9 an hour depending on the vehicle) letting others use your car. You can also offer parking spots or garages to house the vehicles when not in use. In this way, the members who use City Car Share are really able to give back to their community, reap the benefits of having a car when you need it, and making the environment around them a much better place.
- The Hospitality Club
This is a free membership site that connects people around the world who are looking for a place to stay while traveling to other countries or who is interested in meeting people from around the world. There are over 200 countries to choose from all of which are listed in a database that also provides information on how many members are offering accommodations.
How it Works
The Process/Costs: Joining is absolutely free, though obviously members will pay their own traveling expenses and may be required to give some compensation to their hosts, though it will be far below the prices of normal hotels and condominiums.
Requirements: The Hospitality Club requires members agree to a list of rules that are legally binding within the club to ensure the utmost safety for travelers and hosts, easy communication between parties, and minimal problems during the traveler’s stay.
Safety: Other safety measures are Hospitality Club profiles, which members use when selecting households to live in or travelers to house. Members often use testimonials from others who have stayed at a place or had a person stay with them as an added measure of security.
The Community Impact
This is a way to unite people around the world as a larger community. It can be a way to save money, travel more extensively, and meet people who will become lifelong friends. Also with the economic state of the world, it is important to minimize costs and find solutions for the community of world travelers as a whole.
This website is basically a safer version of Craig’s list that is based around the local community instead of across the entire country. It helps people buy and sell goods and services within their own neighborhoods. Think of a time when something’s broken down or you’ve been overwhelmed with work with no time for household upkeep. With Zaarly you can easily search for help and find people who are willing to fix that broken lawnmower, paint your house, water your grass, or whatever else. But it’s not limited to only normal household tasks, you can find things as abstract as a painter, a DJ, a chef, and more.
How It Works
The Process/Costs: Simply sign up for a membership on the site, and then if you are looking for a service, post what you need and how much you are willing to pay for it. Then people from your community will respond and you can decide who is best for the job based on their experience levels, credentials, and more. It’s sort of like hiring individuals for a one-time job but you get to provide your own price. Also, if you have a good or service to provide, you can create a listing for it or simply search for those who need it.
Locations/Availability: Zaarly is available in many cities all over the country with the most active being San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
The Community Impact
This connects people who live nearby each other and brings back that sort of neighborly relationship that used to exist in close-knit communities. And for the most part, it encourages creating friendships, helping others, and promoting the local economy. Instead of using the giant corporation to help you paint your house, why not ask a neighbor? If this idea was more pervasive in our society then our local economies could improve, which would in turn help our national economy.