Friday, May 18, 2007

The Loanables Mission

We are long overdue for a more interactive way to communicate with our fans! For starters, here is a little more background behind who we are and what we're trying to accomplish. We have a humble goal: to change the world through community bonding.

In the beginning...

Loanables started out as two families living in Austin, TX who realized the untapped power of neighborly connections. More specifically, we observed a couple of trends that we felt needed to be changed:

1) Neighbors tend to be strangers.

We enjoy our neighbors and our neighborhoods, and we welcome the opportunity to meet more of the folks who live in our area. The trend today is towards less neighborly interaction. Many people communicate more with folks halfway around the world than with the families living just a couple of doors away. That seems odd to us.

2) People have a lot of unused stuff.

We realize how much "stuff" the average family accumulates, and more specifically, how much dust this stuff collects from not being used most of the time.

So we said "hey, why not put these together in a way that benefits everyone!" And Loanables was born.

But wait, there's more

The idea quickly expanded. You see, we also believe in charitable giving. The borrowing idea seemed like a perfect way to benefit non-profits, schools, and other groups and individuals who often need to borrow things that they cannot afford to buy or rent from conventional stores. Donating money is great, but why not also donate items you aren't using? Thus we added a new role at Loanables, that of the CCO -- Chief Charitable Officer. We now let Loaners offer up their items to schools & non-profits at no charge, and are always looking for other ways to benefit those in our community who are in need of help. We have a couple of programs in the works, including one to provide baby clothes/items to parents who cannot afford to buy stuff that their children will outgrow every 3 months.

We also realized that the flip side of borrowing is not purchasing. In addition to saving money, our community is helping to save the earth by reducing the consumerism that seems to be rampant these days. We gave our Chief Charitable Officer another hat to wear, that of CEO -- Chief Environmental Officer. (She is now the CCEO, and is always on the lookout for more letters to add to her title.)

Most importantly, what do you think?

We love talking to like-minded folks, in Austin and around the world. Do you like what we're doing? Do you have ideas for how we can do even more with this community? Please share your comments with us!

(comments were removed during migration to Blogger)


26 comments:

30something said...

Hi,

This is a great idea that occurred to me recently - but we live in the UK - do you know of a similar organisation here? If not, have you been approached about replicating this idea in the UK?

regards

Rachel

Ryan C. said...

Hi Rachel,

I don't know of a similar organization in the UK. We have been approached by people who were interested in expanding Loanables to the UK. We haven't had the opportunity to localize it for other countries yet, but the UK will be the first on the list when we do!

C.T.LIVE said...

Hello,

Be aware, ther's allreday a company doing this in UK, France, Belgium and Luxemburg it is www.zilok.com and is in the US also.

Regards,

C.T.

Ryan C. said...

Hi C.T.,

Yes, there are a few other sites that are similar, including Zilok. We think that's great -- the more opportunities there are for people to share their stuff, the better for everyone. The main difference with Loanables is that we don't charge people any fees whatsoever. It is entirely free. We welcome Zilok members to also list their items on Loanables!

DCMetro said...

Hello,
I stumbled upon your site and thought it was great, however, i have noticed that most of your clients are from Texas. I am in the DCMetro area and could not find anyone there. In the future, will your company have service in regional areas like craigslist? and would there be a way to assist you in the DC area as maybe an affiliate?

Ryan C. said...

Hi DCMetro,

Yes, most of our postings are in Austin because that's where we started, though we do have users all over the country. The best way to get more activity in the DC area is to post as many of your "Loanable" items as you can. The listings attract other users in your area, and that's how the community expands. So please post some stuff and help spread the community!

SoniaG said...

Great writeup in the Northwest Austin Community Impact Newspaper. Incredible vision and kudos for providing an avenue for teachers to get much needed supplies for their classes!

Linda said...

what about liability?
Do the borrowers sign a waiver?

If someone borrows my saw and cuts their arm off, could they sue me?

has any of your participants ever been sued or had to pay a settlement for an injury?

I think it is a great idea, but worry about accidents.

Ryan C. said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your comment. Loanables puts a rental agreement in place between the parties, and the borrower assumes all liability. We haven't had any issues to-date.

mojorider said...

Forgive me for being crass, but how does loanables make money?

How do build up in a local area like the SF Bar Area?

briar rabbit said...

I think the idea for loanable's is a great one, but I think the address of the loaner should be hidden to the general searcher. I can forsee a potential thief using this service as a search engine for easy pickings. He has a description of the item and a place to pick it up. I removed my item from the listing and will not list it again until the address is hidden.

Ryan C. said...

Hi Mr. Rabbit,

We do anonymize the address until both parties agree to a rental transaction together. For example, if someone lives at 123 Main Street, then it will just show their address as "100 block of Main St." so that people will know generally where the person lives. Once a rental transaction is agreed to, it shares both parties' contact info (address, ph#, and email).

If you found that the site isn't obscuring your address correctly like this, please email the member support address (click the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page) and we'll take a look.

Thanks for being a member of the Loanables community!

Staci said...

Loanables Canada?
Is it out there?

Rick said...

Hi There,
What a fantastic site. I would like to have some more information on starting an affiliate site in Australia if that possible? I would be happy to assist in any way. Good on you.
Richard

Rick said...

Hi There,
What a fantastic site. I would like to have some more information on starting an affiliate site in Australia if that possible? I would be happy to assist in any way. Good on you.
Richard

Jack & The Tool Box said...

Hi Rayan, I'm an ex-contractor with fulltime job and a garage full of tools and have often thought of renting them locally, but as a gal said in an earlier post was concerned with the liability in renting out power tools. You seem pretty assured that your "borrowing" contract is legally binding, yes? Also, does loanables have bumper stickers, auto graphics, signs etc. Can an add be place on caigslist directing people to loanables.com

Great idea! Thanks, Jack & The Tool Box

Jack & The Tool Box said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack & The Tool Box said...

Ryan, Just posted comment and the heading Jack & The Tool Box says Jack amp& The Tool box and the date is wrong. What Happened? :(

Ryan C. said...

Hi Jack - that's just the Blogger platform messing up the "&" in your name. You might be able to change your Blogger profile to "Jack and the Toolbox" but I don't know if it will update.

Regarding the rental agreement, I'm not a lawyer so I can't provide legal advice. But take a look at it, and I'd recommend having someone qualified review it to address any specific concerns that you have.

We don't have any bumper stickers/etc. right now unfortunately! Some users have tried posting Craigslist ads directing people to specific items on Loanables (good idea) but they took them down, I guess because they link to an outside site.

Thanks for your note, and happy loaning!

cw. said...

I found something today that I want to borrow tomorrow but I haven't heard anything. If the timing doesn't work, I need to make other arrangements. Should I cancel my order? If so, how do I do that?

Jaya Wadhwani said...

Hey this is a great idea. Yesterday only my husband was talking about this idea and here you go it already exists! But I do not see many people knowing about loanables. Have you not been promoting this? Also I see the last blog in 2011. Is it really active ?

Ryan C. said...

Hi Jaya - thanks for your note! Yes, Loanables is alive and well. There are certain areas where it is more active than others. And we're not very good about keeping up with the blog. But please try it out. We collect ratings of both parties -- renters and loaners -- and the average rating across all transactions to-date is 4.8 out of 5 stars. People are overwhelmingly very satisfied with their experience. Let us know what you think!

James Hatcher said...

I listed 10 items on loanable but when I do a search only one shows up. What gives. I won't rent much and you won't make much, off me anyway.

Ryan C. said...

Hi James - we put all items through a moderation process before they are posted. All of your items are now live. Good luck renting out your scuba gear, and thanks for being a member of Loanables!

Vicar Chad said...

I don't see much activity on this website. I just listed my snowmobile. If someone rents from me thru this website I will still be contacted by you??? Chad Starfeldt

Ryan C. said...

Hi Vicar - yes, the site is alive and well! We're just not very active with the blog. Thanks for posting the sweet snowmobile; it has been approved and I also marked it as featured on the home page!