Company lets customers ‘buy time’ – literally

A start-up in the Canary Islands is selling a unique product – time. Customers can buy exclusive rights to a birth date, anniversary or even the September 11th attacks.

Company lets customers 'buy time' - literally
The team behind 'Get Your Time'. Photo: Miguel David Díaz.

The company, ‘Get Your Time’, launched less than two weeks ago and has already sold days to more than 1,000 people.

“It’s a very abstract concept,” company executive vice president Miguel David Díaz told The Local. “People say that it’s not possible to do, but the truth is that we’re doing it.”

Díaz joined the currently three-person company after founder Lucas Ordieres came up with the idea when he inherited some land about two years ago.

“Lucas thought about how before people, the Earth did not belong to anyone, there were no borders or the concept of property,” Díaz explained. “Without maps you would not know where, for example, the border is between France and Spain.”

Díaz said that Ordieres then thought – what if one could apply the same concept of owning land to time?

Ordieres had his project registered as a physical entity by public notary and presented it to the United Nations in March of 2013 for approval – just as one might seek recognition of a new territory. The website was launched earlier this month.

Most customers use the site to buy someone's birthday or anniversary date as a gift. They can then personalize how the day appears on the site's calendar with a photo or message and receive a certificate online stating that they are the owner of those 24 hours.

A certificate issued by Get Your Time. Photo: Miguel David Díaz

“It is something unique to be able to have this exclusivity,” Díaz said. “It’s a product of personal value.”

Díaz said the company also intends for the site to be used by publicity agencies looking to promote events and products.

And the site even offers the opportunity to own historical dates. A standard day costs €4.99, but the price of a famous event depends on its historical value. 

For example, September 11th 2001 is valued at €291,000. Both the signing of the Spanish constitution in 1812 and the fall of the Berlin Wall are valued at €10,000. After news of the death of The Simpsons creator Sam Simon on March 8th, one customer bought the day and now values it to be worth €80,000.

Prices may go up for highly sought after dates and customers may end up trying to outbid one another as a day's owner can raise the price. A Uruguayan firm bought the day of the foundation of the Red Cross in order to auction it off for charitable donations.

Díaz said the company has plans to grow the site further and are currently in talks with agencies in countries including Singapore, Japan and Argentina about bringing the company to their countries.

For members


EXPLAINED: What you need to know about locksmiths in Spain

If you get locked out, have a break-in or need to change or fix the door lock at your home in Spain, here are the rates and advice you need before calling a Spanish locksmith (cerrajero).

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about locksmiths in Spain

Like anywhere, locksmiths are generally expensive and the price can vary greatly depending on the service you need and where you are.

It also depends on when you need them, as it’ll cost much more to call them out on a Saturday night than a Monday morning, for example.

Nor would it cost the same to open your front door as it would a reinforced security door.

But locksmiths don’t just make copies of keys and bail you out when you’re stuck outside your flat.

They also offer a whole host of different services including, but not limited to, opening safes, creating master keys, installing security doors, anti-drill doors, cutting specialist locks that reject copied keys, and even unlocking the boot of your car.

How much does a locksmith cost in Spain?

Given all these variables, the price can range massively.

According to Cronoshare, the average price for a nationwide call out in Spain can start from €80 anywhere up to €400.

On average, for a basic service, you can expect to pay anywhere between €40-€70 an hour for the labour, with the price of changing or installing a basic lock anywhere between €80-€200. 

For basic door openings, it depends on the situation you find yourself in: for doors locked with a key, which is a more complex task, prices average around €200, and for doors that are jammed or slammed shut, slightly cheaper in the €80-€100 range.

For an armoured or security door, prices can start at around €300.

In short, a general rule is that the more complex the task is, the higher the prices.

And as always, prices can vary depending on where you are in Spain, the quality of the locksmith, the time of the day and week you need his or her services, and if its a public holiday or not. 

So, as always, compare prices to try and find the most economical solution without skimping on quality.

As such, the following rates are estimations taken from average prices from locksmith.

Weekend/holiday rates

Where prices can really start to add up, however, is when you have an emergency situation requiring a locksmith’s assistance at the weekend, on a public holiday, or outside of normal working hours.

And if you live in Spain, you probably know there’s quite a few of those days throughout the year.

If you really need a cerrajero on a public holiday or during non-working hours (usually defined as anything between 8pm-8am) prices can reach €300 or €500 due to the fact you’ll have to cover the cost of travel, which starts from around €40 plus the increased rate.

Then you must also include the price of labour to the flat rate, which is usually somewhere between €40 and €70 an hour regardless of when you call them out.

Key vocabulary 

We’ve put together some of the basic vocabulary you might need if you find yourself needing a locksmith while in Spain.

el cerrajero – locksmith

la llave – the key

la llave de repuesto – the spare key

la puerta – the door

la cerradura – the lock

la bisagra – the hinge

día festivo – public holiday

cambio de bombín – change of cylinder lock

puerta blindada – armoured door

coste de mano de obra – labour costs

quedarse afuera – get locked out 

puerta cerrada de un portazo – door slammed shut

puerta cerrada con llave – locked door

Tips relating to choosing a good locksmith in Spain 

If you’ve just started renting a new place or have bought a property, it’s advisable to change the lock as you don’t know who has keys to your front door. If you’re a tenant, try to negotiate this with your landlord as it’s in both of your interests that only you two have keys to the property.

If there has been a burglary in your property while you’re living in it and there’s no sign of forced entry, then there’s a very big chance that the burglars had a copy of your keys, and you should definitely change the locks. 

If you’ve lost your keys and you think it happened close to your home, again it’s advisable for you to change the locks.

One of the best ways to avoid being locked out and having to cough up a hefty sum is to give a spare set to someone that you trust that lives in your town or city in Spain. 

When it comes to choosing a locksmith in Spain, you should make sure he or she is a reputable one. Asking friends and family first can be your first port of call.

If not, make sure you read reviews online if available to get any insight beforehand.

In order to avoid any nasty surprises, ask them on the phone for a budget (presupuesto) for all the costs attached to their services before accepting.

Be wary of cerrajeros that automatically want to change the whole lock when a simpler and less costly option is possible. 

Usually they should offer you a contract for you to read carefully before signing. It should include a three-month guarantee for the potential new lock or at least a breakdown of the costs.

Make sure that they are not charging you an excessively high price if it’s an emergency, as this is not actually legal.

There’s also asking them to prove their accreditation with the Unión Cerrajeros de Seguridad (UCES).

Weekend and holiday rates can be higher nonetheless, so consider your options and if it’s worth staying with a friend or family member for a night to save some money. A trustworthy and honest cerrajero will let you know about the money you could save if you choose to wait as well.