Making money from your spare room 空房間變生財之道

Not enough space for your things? Why not leave them in your neighbour's house?
Need somewhere to store your things?

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你想足不出戶賺取外快嗎?分享型經濟允許你向陌生人出租自行車、停車位,甚至家裡多餘的空間。近年來,一些企業給希望通過保管他人財物來賺錢的人們提供了眾多新平台。《隨身英語》介紹傳統儲物公司和新型儲物模式的利與弊。

課文內容

Vocabulary: Business 詞彙: 商業

If a stranger offered you money to keep a suitcase in your spare room, would you accept? How about the other way round: if you had too many belongings, would you consider trusting someone you met online with their safekeeping? Anthony Paine believed enough of us would answer ‘yes’ to these questions to launch his own startup, Stashbee. His business links people with space to those who need it.

And it’s just one player in the booming ‘sharing economy’, an industry that relies on people renting out things like their beds, bikes and even parking spaces. Airbnb, a company valued at 200bn RMB, provides a platform for those renting property short-term. DogVacay pairs holidaymaking pet owners with pet-friendly hosts, and aims to be profitable by 2017.

All their business models revolve around one simple word: trust. So, how does Stashbee measure up? BBC journalist Dougal Shaw decided to try it out for himself. He had some odds and ends to store while renovating his house, and met a host through the site who could keep them for 475 RMB for two months. All relatively smooth and painless.

Heavyweights in the traditional storage industry, such as Big Yellow and Access, aren’t convinced. A representative from Access told Shaw he was sceptical about storing with “amateurs”. He cited 24/7 access to the items and better security as the main advantages of his service. Cost-wise it would set you back an extra 160 RMB to store with them.

Stashbee agree that tackling security concerns is important, but say business success depends more on people overcoming a distrust of strangers we’ve been taught since childhood.They aren’t alone. Companies such as Costockage, Roost and Spacer all run similar storage businesses, and are all banking on a shift in consumer attitudes.

And the concept of social storage doesn’t stop there. CityStasher believe there’s a gap in the market for those who want to store things for extremely short periods of time. For example, if you have three hours to kill in a city before your train leaves, what do you do with your suitcase? CityStasher hope you will choose to leave it at a local newsagent, found through their website of course, rather than in the station’s pricier left luggage office.

Would you try it out? It’s a question of trust.

詞彙表

safekeeping (貴重物品的)妥善保管
startup 剛起步的小公司
player 主要參與企業
short-term 短期地
holidaymaking 在外度假的
-friendly 對……友善的(詞綴)
profitable 有盈利的
business model 商業模式
to measure up 達到(標準)、滿足(期望)
odds and ends 零碎的雜物
painless 輕而易舉的
heavyweight 行業巨頭
24/7 全天候的
-wise 在……方面(詞綴)
to set (you) back 花掉(你)一大筆錢
distrust 不信任
to bank on 指望
a gap in the market 市場缺口,市場空白
pricey 貴的,價格高的
left luggage office 行李寄存處

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Do Stashbee provide storage space? 

2. Which word means ‘things you own’?

3. What do Stashbee consider to be the biggest obstacle to success?

4. True or false: DogVacay arrange vacations for dogs

5. What main advantage does CityStasher have over a traditional storage company in a station?

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. I expected moving house would be a nightmare, but in the end it was quite ______. 
painless      pricey      heavyweight      sceptical

2. These shoes will ______ 2,000 RMB, but they’ll last forever. 

set backing      setting you back      set back      set you back

3. We’re ______ good weather tomorrow for our walk in the forest.

banking on      safekeeping      banking      bank on

4. The restaurant wasn’t child ______. There was nowhere to leave the buggy.

-term      -friendly      -wise      -ways

5. You’re losing money. You need to change your business model if you want to be ______. 

measure up      banking on      profitable      heavyweight

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Do Stashbee provide storage space? 

No. They connect people who have storage space to others who need it.

2. Which word means ‘things you own’?

Belongings.

3. What do Stashbee consider to be the biggest obstacle to success?

They believe that overcoming the distrust people learned as children is the key to success.

4.True or false: DogVacay arrange vacations for dogs

False. DogVacay help people going on holiday to find a host they can leave their pet with.

5. What main advantage does CityStasher have over a traditional storage company in a station?

The main advantage mentioned in the article is that storing with CityStasher is cheaper than using left luggage in a station.

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. I expected moving house would be a nightmare, but in the end it was quite painless.

2. These shoes will set you back 2,000 RMB, but they’ll last forever.

3. We’re banking on good weather tomorrow for our walk in the forest.

4. The restaurant wasn’t child­-friendly. There was nowhere to leave the buggy.

5. You’re losing money. You need to change your business model if you want to be profitable.

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