Since we announced the private beta in October, we've been publicly quiet and intensely focused on working with beta customers around the U.S. to refine the core pieces of Cozy. We have received mountains of feedback, learned from our original design decisions, and have made huge progress on elegantly solving the kinds of design problems found only when many people are using a product.
Cozy will never be "finished" because we'll always find ways to make things better. That said, we're at a point where we'd like to start sharing insights and ideas around what problems we're solving, and how we're solving them.
To start, I'd like to talk about a few aspects of our payments system. Designing a product to gracefully handle the endless edge cases that roommates introduce has proven to be a deeper challenge than we initially anticipated. Humans are unpredictable! For every 10 cases we initially solved, our customers helped us discover another 10. Let's take a look at how we're currently enabling folks to request and set up payments, and get things done alone or as a group.
How it works for the landlord
After a landlord sets up his property, he can then request payments from a tenant.
How it works for the renter(s)
The tenant gets an email with details of the request.
If she's the only renter, she simply checks that everything is correct, and keeps going.
If she has roommates, adding people is simple. As she adds roomies, Cozy does all the default calculations for her. If different people pay different amounts, it's easy to make those adjustments. If someone moves out, any roommate can change the allocations for the household, and everyone else is notified. If only one person is paying the dog deposit, no problem. If there's a tin foil hat roommate that won't use the internet, that's fine too.
We've observed that this is a collaborative process among roommates, and there are at least hundreds of payment allocation scenarios, life changes, and other factors that affect this core problem we're solving. While I'm sure we haven't yet solved every possible case, we're now confident that roommates can handle the vast majority of their payment setups with this simple interface. And as your household changes, Cozy makes it easy to never miss a beat.
Once the payments/bank accounts are setup by all roommates, everyone's Move-in costs are paid immediately. Then on the date the renters decide (1st through the 5th of the month), the landlord receives his monthly rent payment.
So far, we're seeing a reduction of time to the landlord having their money by about a week. So rather than waiting for a check to arrive then clear, the money is in the bank 2-4 days after the payment is initiated.
The average rent price in our beta is currently around $2100 per household. For landlords, that's nice cash flow to have a week sooner than checks provide. For renters, you know the precise moment your payment will be debited, and your account immediately reflects that. No more wondering when the check will be cashed. Win-win.
We want to make paying and collecting rent dirt simple, worry-free, flexible, and incredibly efficient. Landlords just want to receive one clean payment per property each month, and contractually, everyone on a lease is responsible for the entire rent payment. That said, renters don't necessarily want to expose to the landlord who is paying what in their household, and we agree with that. This piece of our product has been designed to meet the fundamental goals of both renters and landlords, with focus on speed, privacy, security, and flexibility for everyone.