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'Uber for spare stuff' launches in Australia

Garage sale items (Image: Getty)
Garage sale items (Image: Getty)

An Australian startup has launched a platform for people wanting to rent out old items that they barely use.

Sydney’s PocketDolla allows users to make occasional-use items like sports equipment, camping gear and musical instruments available for others to rent. There are sixteen different categories of objects, covering most recreational activities.

The company was founded by UK expatriates, Emma Hickley and Scott Ferguson, who bought a whole bunch of recreational gear after arriving in Australia that they would only end up using a few times.

Then they realised many Australians actually have all these items sitting dormant in their garage.

“PocketDolla can help these items gather money rather than dust and reducing costs for people trying out new activities,” said Hickley.

“Take camping for example – investing in a full suite of high-end camping equipment could cost thousands, but many people already have this lying around for most of the year.”

The system securely facilitates communication and payment between the lender and borrower. The borrower is not charged any fees and listings are free, while the platform makes a 12 per cent commission on rentals.

Like other sharing economy marketplaces like Uber, AirBnB and Camplify, the PocketDolla system is a way for ordinary people to make money from otherwise unused resources.

And similar to those other platforms, user trust is built on a peer review system. PocketDolla directs users to negotiate compensation for any damaged items, while lenders are instructed to contact the police for stolen objects.

Cash deposits can also be arranged between parties, but Yahoo Finance understands this feature could be integrated into the platform in the future.

The system has undergone a trial run in NSW since November, but this week has fully launched around Australia. International expansion is also on the agenda, according to the company.

Ferguson said the platform hoped to solve the modern scourge of people buying items they don’t really need or getting into a new hobbies that don’t last very long.

“As people become more environmentally conscious, we see a huge opportunity for the community to come together and reduce their carbon footprint while saving cash or earning some on the side.”

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