Questions and Answers
Q. Do I have to commit on the night?
No, the event is only intended to help with the filtering process. At these events you are given the opportunity to rule out flatmates/flatshares because of incompatabilities, rather than waste whole evenings doing so the traditional way. At the end of the event you will probably have narrowed it down to 3 or 4 rooms or flatmates.
Q. Can we swap details on the night?
That is of course up to you, however we recommend you stick to contacting after the event through SpareRoom.co.uk (using people's advert reference numbers). It is free and easy to use, and also avoids awkward situations where you or the person you are talking to does not wish to pursue things further.
Q. What happened to the old Speed Dating style events?
In 2004 we launched SpeedFlatmating as a way to find flatmates using (quite literally) the speed dating format: 10 to 20 households sat at tables with 10 to 20 room seekers working their way around one by one spending just 5 minutes with each - plenty enough time to form that all important first impression of someone. The events were a huge success, which got us on the telly, on the radio and in just about every newspaper you can think of! Many happy households (and friendships) were formed through the events.
So why did we stop them? The problem was that unlike with its dating counterpart, being able to get on with someone isn't the only factor involved with finding the right flatmate. There is of course affordability, unavoidably. Also, some attendees are more open minded than others about location. Some also came with quite set pre-conceptions of who they wanted to live with: e.g female only or must be non smoker. Fortunately the majority of those with these specific ideas surprised themselves when in the end they ticked a male when they thought they only wanted female, or found they could compromise with a smoker so long as they smoked in the garden!...
Anyway, for most the events worked really well, but for the odd few 5 minutes wasn't anywhere near enough! Now, rather than just 20 people, our events are aiming at numbers up to 150. We're widening everyone's choices and giving them the means to narrow their search on the evening so they can speak to just those they want to (and for as little or long a time as they want!). It doesn't mean there isn't still room for surprises and chance perfect matches, it just makes the evening much less daunting!
One final (though quite big) reason for ditching the old format: a lot of unexpected success came from room seekers buddying up with other room seekers to form a new flatshare with. We wanted to somehow facilitate this, but it was virtually impossible to work it into the old style events. With our new events, Room seekers who are also interested in "buddying up note this on their badges so potential buddies can find each other. Our central London event even has a dedicated buddy-up area.
Q. The event is mixed but I only want to live with a male/female
You have the power to not talk to anyone! Plenty of seekers and landlords turn up with a gender preference as part of their criteria. It's worth keeping an open mind though: we've had a lot of feedback from previous attendees who found their perfect flatmates in a form they weren't expecting. e.g: "Initially I had advertised only for male flatmates, however after this evening I realise I was wrong to rule people out and have found two flatmates, one of whom is female" (feedback from a previous flatmater).
Q. How many flatmates/rooms will I be able to see?
This is very much dependent on the area and time of year (August and September see a large number of students seeking accommodation). Our Zones 1 & 2 events regularly see 150-200 attendees each fortnight. We expect our more area-specific local events such as Clapham, Islington and Fulham/Putney to have around half as many people. Whilst we cannot guarantee the proportion of room seekers to those offering, we do cut off registration for room-havers if it looks like there are an excess attending. The events are fun and useful, but they can also be exhausting. You may well find that after speaking to 10 people that you have not only found some great potential flatmates but that you don't have the energy to talk to anyone else!
Q. What's the difference between the different event types?
There are two main event types, regional and local events. The regional events cover larger areas, such as our fortnightly London Zones 1 and 2, while local events cover a specific area, usually a few postcodes - e.g. SpeedFlatmating Clapham. All events now follow the same free flowing structure described in the how it works section of this website.
Q. How do we make money from SpeedFlatmating?
It might sound bizarre in these cynical days, however this is one of the most popular questions at events. The truth is that we don't - SpeedFlatmating is a service we offer to everyone who visits SpareRoom.co.uk