While house rental websites are aplenty, there used to be nothing targeting FIFO workers – until last month. Brothers Daniel and Chris Del Borello noticed this gap in the market and built a website that will help FIFO workers find a place to stay.
The idea originated when Chris, who works in the FIFO industry(Fly-in fly-out is a method of employing people in remote areas by flying them temporarily to the work site instead of relocating the employee and their family permanently. It is often abbreviated to FIFO when referring to employment status. This is common in large mining states in Australia – Wikipedia), was looking for a FIFO housemate for his small apartment. He checked online, but couldn’t find anything FIFO-specific. He talked to his brother Daniel, a high school teacher, and the idea took off.
The website – www.fifohousemate.com.au: Designed for simplicity and ease of use, FIFO housemate does not even require registration to search for a house or room. There is a simple email registration for adding a listing – listings feature houses in both Perth and Indonesia. The best feature about the website is that it is completely free.
Daniel also offers personal email support to anyone who needs additional help using the website.
Benefits for everyone: Daniel feels that the most important thing about the website is that ‘it is creating real estate where it did not exist’. Often FIFO workers have trouble finding a place to stay – leasing a house for the whole month when they use it only for a week or two is difficult for many.
With FIFO Housemate, people with a spare room are offering the space to FIFO workers, helping the rental shortage problem by leaving the houses for those who actually need it. Both parties win by having a flexible roommate to share the rent or help pay the mortgage.
Media coverage: The website has garnered quite some local media attention with Channel 7 doing a news exclusive and Perth Now doing a feature as well. The response to the website on Facebook has been hugely positive, with almost 95% people loving the idea. The website will also be featured in Cobham in-flight magazine next month.
The brothers have recently invested in a large airport sign right near the baggage claims area and are running a promotional Facebook competition. It asks people to take a photo in front of the sign and get their friends to like it. Ending on August 14th, the photo with the most likes will win a $50 prize. Visit their Facebook page to enter.
Daniel and Chris have plans of expanding their site to include Queensland, and also target Drive in Drive out workers. They are also thinking of including a paid, featured-style listing for increased visibility.
Behind the website: With half his savings invested into the website, Daniel is giving it his full attention. He has now switched to relief teaching, and is focussing on getting more advertisers and additional coverage across Australia.
Knowing where to go with the website and getting it up has been a challenge for the brothers. The Small Business Development Course that Daniel attended and co-working at Atomic Sky Tech Hub, have helped him find mentors, and bring shape and direction to his ideas.
The brothers are not concerned about competition right now since they are targeting a niche market, and they are currently the only ones offering such a service. However, they do have a trademark pending for their name, and have bought up a few similar sounding domains.
Daniel and Chris Del Borello certainly seem to be on the right track with FIFO Housemate. We wish them success for this and future websites.