Will Davies – founder of Car Next Door

Will Davies is a greenie, entrepreneur and long-time member of another car-sharing service. Will’s mission is to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by humans and help preserve the environment.

Before starting Car Next Door, Will founded and managed several successful ventures in the mortgage, real estate and fitness industries. Namely: Scope Lending, a mortgage broking business that he sold in 2008. Keypoint Holdings, which buys houses in the US; and Southport Studios, a gym on the Gold Coast.

We envision neighbourhoods in five to ten years’ time where the majority of people don’t have to own a car…”

More recently, Will began serving on the Board of Directors for Halotechnics a company that develops breakthrough materials to enable solar thermal plants to generate electricity 24 hours a day.

Will lives in Bronte NSW.

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen? 

at some point you just have to take the plunge and get started!”

I was a member of a car share organisation and the nearest car was about ½ a km away.  So I was walking past car after car getting to my car and realised there was a better way.   There were a number of businesses launching overseas doing similar things, so I kept an interested eye on them for a few months, but then at some point you just have to take the plunge and get started!

How do you make money? (please explain your business model)

There are a few different ways:

  • We earn a % of what each car brings in
  • There are either booking fees or monthly fees for borrowers, depending on what their plan is, so we earn money from these
  • We are building a large database, that may have additional value as time goes on

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months? 

We have the platform built, now its time to get customers on it.  We are building a very cool referral system that rewards members for inviting other members to join us plus a platform that allows us to do joint ventures with people who have big databases in the areas we are targeting

How do you make ideas happen?

Every week, make a list of the jobs I have to do, and then hold myself accountable to doing it.”

Sit down for ½ a day every 3 months and plan out the key things I want to get done over the next 3 months.

Write down on a table what I am going to do each week for each goal to achieve the 3 month goal

Every week, make a list of the jobs I have to do, and then hold myself accountable to doing it.

What does your typical day look like?

I love the double screen!

And I have a standing table and a saddle chair, heaps better for the back.

image

Typical day.

At the start of the week I diarise when I am going to do each major chunk of work that I have set out for myself which has to be done.

During the week, I do it – see typical week below.

image

I also run a todo list on a paper diary, I cant seem to move my todos to the computer, it just doesn’t feel right for me.

So really it’s a combination of planned tasks that I have  scheduled + meetings with team, + items from my todo list + all the other ad hoc crap that always comes and gets in the road of the tasks I have scheduled.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

Its mainly challenges that I create for myself.  I am tough on myself, and so often feel a lot of frustration that things aren’t going as well as I would like them to even though when you look back at what we have achieved in a period, we have done bloody well!.  So I need to make sure to celebrate and be grateful for the good things that are happening.

There is always beurocracy, and I have been amazed at how little impact that has had when setting up Car Next Door.  The Traffic Authorities have so far been very helpful towards us.

A big challenge is just trying to get really clear as to exactly what the most important thing you need to be doing is, and then doing it.  There are so many different things you can do in a day.  All of them make you busy, and only some of them will give you a really good payoff for your time.  See next questions for more on this.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Every week, every one in the team tells us what  ‘their number 1 thing to get done in the week’ is.  That gives great focus and clarity, and lets you know where your time is going to be best spent for the highest result.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment? 

What about internationally?

I am really interested in sites like Airbnb, and the P2P car sharing sites over seas like WhipCar and Get Around.

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

…there will be a massive ‘de car-ing’ of metropolitan Australia, which will bring huge environmental and community benefits…”

We envision neighbourhoods in five to ten years’ time where the majority of people don’t have to own a car, and can share the cars of the ten to fifteen Car Owners who live within a 100m walk from their home.  Once our network hits this type of critical mass, it will make perfect sense not to own a car and there will be a massive ‘de car-ing’ of metropolitan Australia, which will bring huge environmental and community benefits in the way of less congestion and pollution, people exercising more,  and higher public transport adoption.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?

  • Toggl – awesome time tracking site so you can work out what the hell you are doing with your days and time!
  • Dropbox – Im sure nearly everyone knows this, but this is amazing.  Awesome referral strategy they have for their growth as well.
  • Future Simple – this is a CRM we use, and it dominates, has a really good phone app. And its free.

Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter?

I don’t really get on twitter enough.  I reckon Malcolm Turnbull is doing good things, and is worth following.

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

At the moment we are conducting our pilot, so we are getting 40-50 cars in Bondi and Paddington and the plan is to have 400-800 people sharing them.  Once we have completed this, we will be raising capital and so we are definitely looking for investment at that stage.

We would definitely be interested to speak with people keen to intern with web skill, programming skill, or Marketing.

Our readers are smart, creative, talented and good looking. Here’s your chance to ask them anything.

I am always keen to hear peoples ideas.  If you could only choose one marketing strategy for my business, which one would you choose and how would you execute it?

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

I really like Bellagio Café – great staff and awesome food

What is your favourite song by an Australian artist at the moment? This is old school, but I still really love “Sunsets” by Powderfinger.

We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?

Yes, a $50 driving credit voucher to use on our platform.

Make sure you sign-up to join our amazing community for Australians making ideas happen.

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