Sharing is not only caring in today’s economy, but profitable and thrifty.
The share economy, also known as the peer-to-peer market, works when owners rent out objects or space that they are not using to people in need of it temporarily (or in some cases, permanently).
This type of transaction cuts out the need for people to purchase otherwise expensive goods or services, replacing it with an affordable borrowing/lending process that has quickly grown into a profitable sector.
Airbnb stands out as the poster child of successful share economy services. The company, which started out as a San Francisco startup and quickly expanded, allows travelers to rent a room or house when and where they need it.[contextly_auto_sidebar id=”vCPjCQZ7T0OtAeriudj6uW9PoltwXOHH”]
But since Airbnb’s start in 2008, over 100 new companies have emerged to similarly capitalize on unused capacity, turning dusty rooms, cars, and objects into – well, money.
Here’s a list of some of the many services through which individuals and strangers can share, save, and earn in harmony:
Dogs with Dog Vacay: Find trusted dog sitters in your neighborhood to take care of your pup, or sign up to dog-sit a canine and get paid doing it.
Quick rides with Lyft: Drivers that choose their own hours are matched with passengers who need rides. Drivers can earn up to $20 an hour through passenger donations.
Parking spots with Parking Panda: Got space in your driveway? Reserve it to people that need it. Need a reserved parking space for cheap? Save up to 70% using Parking Panda’s services.
Odd jobs with TaskRabbit: People can outsource their errands, chores, to-do lists, and tasks to trusted people on the network, and those with extra time can make money by helping out their neighbors.
Cars with RelayRides: In contrast to Lyft, RelayRides lets you put your idle car to work rather than having you act as a taxi driver. Car owners can sign up for free and list their price per day or week; renters need only plug in their location and rent away. (Getaround has a similar car share concept.)
Wifi with Fon: In need of wifi, or have Internet to lend? Fon members share a bit of their home or office wifi to access others in Fon hotspots across the world – all you need is a Fon wifi router.
Clothes with Poshmark: Whether you have an overflowing closet or one with empty space, Poshmark can be used to both buy and sell clothes from the wardrobes of anyone signed up, regardless of location.
Anything else with NeighborGoods: If there are items that have not been covered yet on this list, you’ll likely be able to find them on NeighborGoods. This service lets users save money and resources by sharing and borrowing any sort of good right from people in their community.
Will a shift to sharing change the economy?
The consulting company PWC estimates that the share economy will produce about $335 billion in revenues bu 2025 across 5 main sectors that include peer-to-peer lending, car sharing and peer-to-peer accommodation.
The PWC report notes that regulatory issues could become barriers that reduce the potential of the movement, in addition to the scxaling issues that face all startups. The continued success of Airbnb and companies like it suggest that as user activity shifts to from direct spending to collaborative consumption, we are only beginning to see what could be a major disruption in the economy of buying and selling.
Photo courtesy of C! via Flickr.