Earning power: Kenisha Benjamin earned $300 doing odd jobs around the island including bar-tending, painting and weeding.
Earning power: Kenisha Benjamin earned $300 doing odd jobs around the island including bar-tending, painting and weeding.
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Out-of-work Bermudians with skills going to waste are beginning to benefit from a new job auction website. 

Jobber.bm is connecting people who need one-off jobs doing but don’t know where to find help, with people who have the skills but can’t find the work.

The man behind the venture, Stafford Lowe, said that while the site can’t claim to solve the long-term employment struggles the island is experiencing, it is a quick fix for those with little or no income. 

What’s more, the auction aims to create a competitive market for work on an island that often sees businesses charging unnecessarily expensive prices for goods and services. The site, which was soft launched about a month ago, is currently free but if it remains successful there will be a small fee for those posting jobs.

Competitive market

Lowe told the Bermuda Sun: “The job auction concept is a simple one designed to create a competitive market for these jobs, where people who have the skills but not the track record, can compete with more experienced tradesmen who charge more for their work. In the job auctions, ‘jobbers’ are allowed to make a single bid to tell the ‘poster’ why they should be chosen for the job.  

“It’s great for Bermuda. Most gratifying is that every single message I have received has been positive. It is a lot of hard work
especially when you are not charging — ultimately they will.”

The site currently has a self-regulating vetting system where posters and jobbers can rate one another thereby gaining good or bad reputations. More difficult or trustworthy jobs such as house cleaning and baby-sitting will soon become subject to official vetting by the company owners.

“Some jobs auctions are filled within hours of the job being posted, because the poster doesn’t really mind who washes their car or disposes of their old household items. Other more difficult jobs can remain on the website for up to a week while bids are gathered and the poster reviews the suitability of the applicants before making their decision about which jobber to choose.

“We are creating a system on the site where it is self-governing — a rating system. Jobbers can rate the jobs and posters can rate the jobber. It keeps everybody honest. 

“We realize that for jobs like babysitting and cleaning where people are invited into the house you can’t not vet that easily. We will be launching a pre-vetting process where only those who are cleared will be allowed to bid on these types of jobs. 

“Also, the site’s not for people to bend the rules in terms of any commercial licences that are needed in order to do the job legally. As long as it doesn’t break any rules around social insurance payments or employment law then I think perhaps there is an opportunity, if traditional employment isn’t growing as quickly as we would like it to then non traditional alternative self employment, where people can do a lot of different things, could be the future not just here but in a variety of places.”

He added: “There is a lot of work out there which the community creates. It’s just about bringing that supply and demand to the surface. 

“This doesn’t serve the long-term employment problem — it is a short-term solution but a very valuable one.”