The sharing economy is a system in which items and services are shared by individuals, usually for a smaller fee than you’d pay on a shopping trip or to a professional. There are so many options out there that it’s hard to know where to start. Which ones will lead you to a pot of (digital) gold? Which ones are a waste of time? We’ve listed three favourites below.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Sharing economy sceptics who agree with the old adage might prefer to steer clear of platforms promising money that feels a little too easy. TaskRabbit is the sharing economy lite: as you share your own surplus time and skills in addition to useful tools, it’s not too far from being a one-off freelance job site.
What sets TaskRabbit apart from Craigslist or Gumtree gigs is the careful vetting of participants and payment protection in place. Rates of pay can be excellent, even for simple tasks. You can choose between shopping, cleaning, carpentry, gardening, research and delivery services, to name just a few.
Parking spaces are an afterthought. Estate agents don’t emphasise a deliciously capacious garage, thoughtfully-designated on-street parking bay, or a tastefully shrub-lined driveway. Perhaps they would, if they understood how much value they can add to a property.
Running a car is more expensive than ever. Many households are moving away from multiple-car ownership and individuals must consider the cost of public transport, cycling and car-sharing schemes before investing in their own vehicles. These empty driveways can put the pennies back in your pocket: there’s an easy extra income to be made from renting out spaces to motorists who really need them. YourParkingSpace is based in the UK, so try SpotHero if you’re in the USA or Parkhound in Australia.
Airbnb’s concept is simple. Your spare room can help a guest save money and experience your city from the perspective of a local, rather than a tired guidebook or weary concierge. It’s a lucrative earner: the model simply relies on hosts to undercut local hotel offerings, which isn’t a difficult thing to do.
There’s a great deal of flexibility with Airbnb, which makes it accessible to all kinds of hosts. You can rent your room long or short-term, to guarantee a steady income or return to a cash boost when you go away on holiday. Almost any habitable room is fair game. With clear photographs, a fair price and detailed options for listing the facilities on offer in your home, chances are high that your honesty and great value will tempt visitors inside.
This article was written by Lydia Woodward, a penny-pinching aficionado of the sharing economy, largely by virtue of having pursued a career as a writer. As Head of Content for YourParkingSpace, she spends her working day abusing buzzwords and cackling at her stale own parking puns. She wishes her colleagues would share walkies with their sausage dogs.