Every year thousands and thousands of people set out to look for a shared house or flat to live in …. or for others to share a house or flat they already rent or own. And thanks to the recession and high property prices and rents the shared housing sector is expected to boom over the next few years.

But if you’ve ever been looking to share a house or a flat with others you’ll know it’s not that easy to find the right house or flat mates. Finding people you like, can get on with, and whose odd habits won’t drive you up the wall can be very frustrating.

Now a new concept has arrived to make the whole process easier and even fun. And it could represent an exciting part time, extra cash biz opp.

It’s called speed flatmating.

Here’s how it works …. together with some ideas for setting up your own speed flatmating sideline business.

This is basically how speed flatmating works: It’s very much like speed dating in that you invent people to come to a social event to mingle and meet each other. But instead of looking for partners to date they look for house and flat mates.

This could make a great extra money sideline. It could work really well if you’re in a city or large town.

  • Hire a venue for the flatmating event. Look for a centrally placed pub or bar with a large room available. (Many pubs and bars will let you hire a room for free in return for the extra takings it brings – usually on a quiet weekday evening such as Monday-Thursday.)
  • Promote your events extensively. Look for free and cheap methods like social media, posters and leafleting. You might even be able to get the local newspaper, radio and TV station to give you a mention.
  • Target the right sort of people for speed flatmating. Young working singles, 18-30ish are most likely to be interested in speed flatmating. Also don’t forget the student market – you could even do separate events for students.
  • Speed flatmating events are both for people looking for a room to rent in a house or flat – AND for those looking for people to share a property. You could also let letting agents come to your events if you like.
  • When people turn up they’re given a numbered label or sticker to wear. Those searching for a house or flat to share wear a sticker or label of one colour. Those with a room or rooms available to share wear a different colour. The sticker shows their name, together with a little bit about them. For example, ‘smoker/non smoker’, ‘looking for male/female/any housemates’, ‘looking for quiet property’ ….. or ‘party animal’!
  • Once the event starts, each person in the ‘searchers’ group has to spend five minute chatting with each person in the ‘room available’ group. Keep time with a watch then blow a whistle and make sure everyone moves on at the end of the five minutes!
  • If two people who meet don’t hit it off then nothing is lost – except five minutes of their time. But, if they think they might like to share, they arrange to meet up later – or exchange phone numbers.
  • Your job isn’t complicated. Just keep everyone moving round, chatting and, hopefully, meeting lots of potential sharers!

So how could you make money from speed flatmating?

Charge each person to attend the event – say a tenner or so. Maybe even more once you’re established. You might decide to charge either sharers or those with a room available slightly more or slightly less, to encourage a good balance. (Whatever you charge, it will work out a lot more cost effective for everyone than using an agency.)

This isn’t a big money project by any means – but operate it regularly in several different venues and it could be a nice little sideline biz opp, as well as a lot of fun!