The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
To the Federal Trade Commission, The Airbnb opportunity to rent my home saved me from LOOSING IT. Background: I was let go of a 14 year job, not because of recession, rather due to unscrupulous business partners accounting policies and their forcing me to commingle funds, which I refused to do. I was 60 and found it nearly impossible to immediately find work, I was either "overqualified" for work that does employ "old people" or too old for a position matching my skills and similar to my previous. At 50 I was suddenly widowed and employment was crucial to keeping up the mortgage payments on our home of 35 years, and in losing my job at 60, simply renting a room out was not enough income to help. Airbnb was the perfect solution, they ran a class-act organization, an inventory of quality properties and were absolutely professional at every turn. Their program was the OPTIMUM METHOD for my SUCCESS in my qualifying guests and handling the financial transactions. Each & every guest/group was wonderful, always rating my property 5 stars. I NEVER had a problem, when I returned I consistently found my home in the exact condition as I left it for their arrival, most of them even stripped the sheets, some even starting laundry. I received several Thank You Gifts, and 95% left Thank You notes. My property is located in a resort beach community and an easy walk to famous beautiful secluded beaches along the Southern California Coastline and our quaint town. I produced an extensive information book complete with pictures & maps which was onsite for reference, also emailed in advance. Most importantly, it included neighborhood details with reminders to be observant of the family atmosphere and conduct activities accordingly. It also explained the parking situation in a beachside neighborhood and limiting autos on site, etc. In actuality, the number of cars associated with each group of guests was less than during the years my family and I occupied the home. For 18 months my home hosted 26 reservations and not one neighbor complaint, most of whom are long time residents. Another of the many benefits this method offers was that families or the groups of friends renting my home enjoyed our town, and our town financially benefited from their vacationing there. In an area where a hotel room charge is well over $400/day per ROOM, wonderful visitors from ALL OVER THE WORLD were given the opportunity to stay in and enjoy the convenience of my home and access and the beaches and town where my family and I was fortunate to live for 35 years. My home is locked into a long term lease now as maintaining and preparing my property prior to each guests arrival was full time work. I would spend 2 days cleaning, grocery shopping, decorating with yard plants, interior flowers etc. prior to each group's arrival. I needed to focus on securing full time employment. Financially continuing with Airbnb would have been wiser as I now run a negative, I am unable to support myself with that alone as it does not cover all home's expenses; deferred maintenance and City required items i.e. massive tree trimming required and front yard maintenance, water expenses (the home is +75 years old). I have been augmenting to cover my current monthly expenses with another controversial business model: UBER. They don't care how old or what sex a person is, as long as a safe auto is driven, and it's age and the driver have a clean driving record. My knowledge in business, property management, accounting or the several business related licenses I maintain do not come into play. Thank you for your consideration, Barbara Geiger PS: the mailing address included here is my room rental location, not my family's home detailed above.