We're giving away another startup idea that we think is really interesting, but simply don't have time to pursue. If you do end up looking into it, or even trying it out, let us know!
Here's the problem:
In most apartment buildings, landlords pay for services that are included (as a flat rate) in tenant's rent - maintenance, garbage, water, having a property manager around to answer questions...
Of course, the tenants don't care about any of that. It's a well-known phenomenon that when people don't pay for something, they don't respect it. If you aren't paying for the water, you won't be as quick to turn the faucet off. Or, if you don't pay for repairs to your sink garbage disposal, you might care less about what you shove down it.
On the other hand, the landlord does pay for that water and those repairs, and he'd love a way to get you to care, too.
Here's the idea:
A tenant training program that, when completed, gives tenants a small (maybe $5/mo) discount on their rent. The training would cover things like how to conserve water, how to better maintain your sink disposal - and, if it's shown to be effective, the environmental impact of conserving water. Essentially, get the tenant to be more aware of their actions, so that they save the landlord money. In return, they get back a portion of the money they save the landlord...and everyone wins!
How to start:
Find a couple of landlords and talk with them about the problems they face with tenants. Lots of repair requests? Too many noise issues? People leaving garbage around and smelling up the building? - Then, ask them how much they'd be willing to pay to get their tenants to be aware of these issues. If they're feeling financial pain from these issues, you've hit startup gold!
There's startup idea for the day. What're you waiting for? Go start a company!