Broke students turn job brokers

By Amelia Wade

Polytech pair inspired to launch website dedicated to listings for casual work

Josh Dean (left) and Will Finlayson are driving the length of the country to promote their website. Photo / Dean Purcell
Josh Dean (left) and Will Finlayson are driving the length of the country to promote their website. Photo / Dean Purcell

The plan was to find jobs for those who wanted to work only when the mood struck.

And that's exactly what Josh Dean and Will Finlayson have managed to do, creating jobs for themselves and enjoying a sight-seeing tour of the country in the process.

"We thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if you could just work when you wanted?' and so we came up with this idea for the website," Mr Dean said.

The pair met at the Southern Institute of New Zealand last year while they were in their first year of a bachelor of information technology.

Mr Dean, 23, said they were a bit strapped for cash because they found it difficult to meet the commitments of a full-time job while not letting their studies fall behind. And so the pair came up with jobit.co.nz.

People who need jobs done around home - like mowing the lawns or walking the dog - put up a listing, then interested workers start a reverse bidding war of quotes.

The website took off in Southland, but the business partners wanted to expand further.

"We wanted to tell the rest of New Zealand about this, so we figured we'd get a car and drive from the Bluff to Cape Reinga just mowing people's lawns everywhere we go while raising money for charity."

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt helped them find a ride for their big adventure - the car used in the local film Two Little Boys.

After day 10, they put the car on Trade Me and it sold on Tuesday for $850. In total they have raised more than $1000, including the proceeds from mowing more than 20 lawns for the SPCA.

The pair were in Auckland yesterday and hoped to make it to Cape Reinga by the end of today. This is the first time Mr Finlayson, 28, has been to the North Island.

Their site listing odd jobs is not the first of its kind; builderscrack.co.nz has run a similar service since 2006.

Homeowners list jobs they need done and the website sends them a list of recommended tradespeople.

There are currently more than 24,500 jobs posted on the site.

"It's kind of like the Yellow Pages, only easier," said co-founder Jeremy Wyn-Harris. Mr Wyn-Harris said they had recently seen a marked increase in listings, which are free, and tradespeople looking for jobs, who pay a commission to the site.

Some people make their living through work from the site, while others use it to make a bit extra on the side or during their holidays.

- NZ Herald

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