How You Can Start Profiting from the Sharing Economy
The sharing economy, or rental economy, blew up in 2014, with the likes of Airbnb, Uber and Lyft dominating headlines, for reasons good and bad. It’s become a fantastic way to save and/or make money, but it’s nothing especially new – eBay anyone? Now however technology is facilitating more sharing – of bigger and more valuable things with unfamiliar people – whilst helping both parties benefit financially in the process.
The term “sharing economy” has been around for around 10 years now, but many people are still unaware of it, and others have serious doubts about the risks involved in, say, letting a stranger ‘borrow’ their car. Having said this, the 5 major sharing economy sectors in the UK have a projected annual revenue of £9bn for 2025. And with 30% of people in the world now participating in the sharing economy, what’s your excuse for not giving it a go?
Here are 7 ideas for how you can make money from the sharing economy to get you started:
- Rent out your home
Your home could join the 500,000 or so properties already listed on Airbnb for rent. Supposedly around 17 million people have now rented a room, apartment or other accommodation through the Airbnb site so money-making prospects seem pretty good! You just need a few nice photos of the space you’d be renting out – the more attractive the property appears in pictures the more likely it is to be rented apparently – and you’re ready to advertise your property on the site.
Some users have said that they manage to cover the entire rent of their homes through their Airbnb earnings over the course of a year – seriously impressive. And aside from making some extra money, many hosts get excited about meeting new people through their renting endeavours.
- Lend actual cash to make cash
You could try lending your money through a company like Zopa. Peer-to-peer lending can be a great way to make some money on any extra cash you have that you don’t know what to do with, or if you’re determined to achieve higher interest rates than traditionally achievable. Careful checks are done on borrowers, and Zopa holds a reserve fund to protect against defaults.
Having said this, like any investment, peer-to-peer lending has its risks, but you can make decent money and feel good that you’re helping someone in need in the process!
- Rent out your ride
Site Spinlister.com can help you to lend your bike out for an hourly, daily or weekly rate. If you don’t use your bike every day, or are going away for a while it’s definitely worth a try. You can also rent out other ‘rides’, like skis and surfboards, which aren’t in constant use – result!
- Rent out your unused parking space
The website YourParkingSpace.co.uk allows you to rent out your unused parking space, whether for months at a time, or just the odd weekend here and there. Whatever your situation, even if your space is only free for one week in the year when you head off on holiday, you could potentially make money from it.
It certainly seems more attractive than leaving it empty while you don’t use it, and as a bonus having a car in your driveway can offer some protection to your home by helping it appear as though someone is in while you are at work or away.
- Try out ridesharing
Through BlaBlaCar you can offer up seats in your car to save money on long journeys. Say you’re heading to visit family for the weekend…. driving alone would be expensive and boring. Through BlaBlaCar, you can advertise your journey online to others heading the same way. You won’t actually be paid for your journey but your passengers will contribute petrol money for the ride, as well as conversation and company!
- Rent out your attic
StoreMates allows you to open up your attic or extra cupboard space to someone in need of storage. It’s a great way to make money and help someone store his or her extra furniture, or maybe some sentimental items. It’s free to list your space, although Storemates take a commission of 15% of any rental. If you have a garage to rent out you can try WhichStorage.co.uk.
- Rent out your stuff
Electrical items like power drills – as well as those ‘fun’ items like popcorn machines purchased on a whim – don’t get used particularly often and are really just taking up space in your home or garage. The website RentMyItems.com lets you advertise your stuff for others to rent, helping you bring in a bit of extra income just by lending what you don’t use to someone in your area. It’s a very simple concept that is massively simplified by the platform the website provides, matching up people who have and people who need.
There are even more ways to exploit the sharing economy (check out BorrowMyDoggy for example) meaning there’s almost certainly something for everyone. The above ideas should serve as inspiration for you to get out there and start sharing!
Think about it like this: empty space and unused items are wasteful. The sharing economy helps to tackle this problem of inefficiency, as well as helping you to profit from your extra items and space. Others can also save money by renting these items from you, rather than purchasing them outright, or splashing out on commercial space.
It’s a win-win for both parties, and helps the environment. Now it’s up to you to decide where you’d like to start…