By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4)– Power saws, hoses and definitely ladders are common tools for Geno Espineli.
He’s a West Metro Fire Rescue firefighter and among the first to work with a new kind of Hidrent (yes, that’s how it’s spelled). It’s a mobile app that launched earlier this year for firefighters looking to earn extra income.
“I downloaded it and within a few minutes I got a job opportunity raking some leaves,” Espineli said.
Most firefighters work 10 24-hour shifts every month, leaving them with 20 off-duty days where many seek side jobs. Firefighters are extremely handy and the Hidrent app connects them to people in need of help with a variety of things, such as painting, moving furniture, installing kitchen appliances, even hanging holiday lights.
“I think we get into firefighting to help people and just that much down time I wanted something to do where I could find something in the neighborhood and give back,” Espineli said. “We do this type of stuff around the station anyway.”
On Friday, Espineli earned extra cash from Katie Martz in Denver. She posted on Hidrent she needed help cleaning the gutters on her new home.
“Getting up on a ladder by myself seems a little bit unsafe,” she said, “so having a firefighter come and do that seemed like a perfect solution.”
Firefighters using the app are notified through Hidrent if there is help needed nearby. Of course, firefighters are trained to respond quickly and whoever responds on the app first gets the job.
“Geno showed up, he had all the tools,” Martz said. “It’s been a very positive experience.”
Instead of paying a high price for a company to come help her, Martz added Hidrent was a perfect option.
“I just wanted to give back to the community a little bit and using firefighters seemed like a great way to do that,” she said.
Unlike some other apps or social sites, Espineli said customers can be confident they’re getting a qualified professional to help them.
“In the past, I’ve used apps like Nextdoor and Craigslist to find jobs on the side,” he said, “but not a ton of people are open to having someone random from a public app just show up at their house. I think the benefit to the Hidrent app is someone like me is verified and they know exactly who is showing up at their front door.”
Espineli added the extra cash is nice, but he enjoys the fact that Hidrent gives him another way to serve his community.
“It’s more about meeting your neighbors and helping out,” he said.
So, what does it cost? Well, the app is free, but it’s the customer who sets the offer for each job within the app. Hidrent gives a suggested cost, but it’s ultimately up to the person requesting the helping hand. All payments are securely processed within the app, Espineli told CBS4.
“No money changes hands,” he said. “You just shake hands, put ‘job done’ on the app, and part ways. It’s that easy.”
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.