By ALEXANDROS VAROUTAS
Come with me on a journey to a time before smartphones and the internet. A time where, instead of Netflix, you’d call a hotline to find out what time a movie was playing. A time where going to the movies didn’t require a down-payment. And a time where you’d knock on doors offering to rake leaves and shovel snow to buy the movie tickets.
Well a few dads in the Beach have launched a website with the hope that they can bring back a small piece of this era. Don’t worry, it’s not the movie hotline.
The website is called Biddeee.com and the goal is to help connect teenagers with their neighbours so they can provide simple services in exchange for a fee. The service, which launched in April, has seen robust sign ups already in the Beach and will be gradually expanding to more of the city.
Users are either bidders or biddees. Biddees are the homeowners. When they sign up, their house appears on a map along with other participating households. They then select the jobs that they need done and put out the request. All the work is outdoor and within the skill set of a teenager. (Lawn mowing, weeding, car washing, leaf raking, snow shovelling, etc…)
The bidders are the teenagers who find jobs and bid on them by setting a price for the work. As more teens sign up they can each bid their own price. The idea is that this will create a two-sided digital marketplace and allow for a balance between supply and demand.
Although teenagers 18 and over can sign up on their own, those between the ages of 13 to 17 have to be signed up by a parent or guardian who will then manage their profile for them. This way the teens can go to their map and select houses with jobs posted and submit their bid, but parents maintain an overview of their activity.
The site operates off of a small service charge that’s put on top of the fee the teenagers charge. This way the teens keep 100 per cent of the rate they set.
John, one of the dads behind Biddeee, currently lives in the Beach, but remembers growing up in Scarborough and going from house to house helping with chores to make a little extra cash. Today his daughter does the same. But with no other teenagers out taking on the same work, she quickly gets booked up within the first few houses. So John, along with the other dads behind the service, endeavoured to bring more teens into the space.
The other element of the service is the role it could play in building community and supporting the ageing population in the Beach.
“There’s a real need for some of these jobs to be taken on,” said John, pointing out that some seniors have even gone to their local high schools in search of a bulletin board to post ads.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted some of the weaknesses in our social support for residents that hope to age in place. Many countries around the world are tackling the same issue and the successful ones have found that a strong community plays a crucial role in providing this standard of living.
The hope is that, beyond providing work opportunities to teens in the area, Biddeee could get them interacting with seniors in the community as well, building relationships that could also help keep isolation at bay.
Madison is in Grade 8 and has lived in the Beach her whole life. She’ll be among the first bidders on the service and looks forward to meeting more of her neighbours through the work. Having grown up in the Beach she’s said she has seen first hand how important having a close connection to your community can be.
Another big part of it was making some disposable income both to spend when she’s out with her friends shopping in the area. But above all else, it was just a smart business move on her part.
“I’m already doing these chores at home. I may as well get paid for it,” said Madison.
To connect with Biddeee, please go to https://biddeee.com/
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