9. What Do We Get to Do?

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Here's the fun part: What does each member get out of the sharing arrangement? Who gets to do and use what, when, and how often? This includes questions such as: Which part of the shared house do each of the sharers get to use? Which area of the garden do they get to cultivate? On what days does each person get to use a shared office? How many days of childcare will each member get for taking part in the child care co-op?

Many sharing groups share and share alike, giving each member the same basic rights to use the shared items. In some sharing groups, however, it makes sense for members to have different rights or privileges. For example, if one member of a carsharing group pays more of the expenses, that person may get the right to use the car more often. In a tool-sharing group, the right to use certain dangerous tools may be assigned only to members with special training.

EXAMPLE: Jean, Pat, and William are therapists who share an office space to meet with clients. Jean pays $400 per month, and Pat and William each pay $200. Because it is often difficult to coordinate schedules with clients, they created a flexible scheduling system, dividing each day into four three-hour time slots: 7:00 to 10:00am, 10:30 to 1:30pm, 2:00 to 5:00pm, and 5:30 to 8:30pm, thereby creating 28 time slots per week. Because she pays more, Jean chooses 12 slots and Pat and William each chose six slots. The remaining four slots are "floating." Any therapist may use them on a one-time basis or permanently switch one of their slots for one of the floating slots.

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