How you can make money sharing your stuff
As little kids our parents would sell us on the virtues of sharing. “Share your toy with your brother,” says mom. You might have grudgingly complied. But, when your brother gives you a big smile in exchange you feel good. As adults, you might find yourself touting the same virtues to your kids.
In an era where sharing online is part of everyday life, our minds have begun a shift towards more sharing and virtual trust. We share our space, pictures, time, car rides and even our expertise.
But, this post isn’t so much about what you share with your family and friends. It’s how you can share with strangers for a profit. This new trend is called the “Sharing Economy.”
What is the sharing economy? It’s an economy based on sharing expertise, time, space and items with other people in return for monetary payback. Yes, sharing sounds like a feel good childhood idea but its big bucks. It’s a $26 billion industry. Ok, so it’s not so much sharing but renting or collaborative consumption.
In many cases the people looking to “borrow” find it a frugal approach to getting an item or service at a discount. Think about the items you own or the space you live in that doesn’t get the use that it should. Most of the time it collects dust not money. There are people interested in “borrowing” an item temporarily rather than purchasing.
Note that some of these startups are running into some legal issues as state governments are trying to make sense of this new industry of sharing. Our government authorities are looking at regulations and tax laws implications. The startups are fighting back and inevitably the sharing economy is here to stay. It reminds me of the Napster days of music file sharing. The big music corporations wanted it stopped and ultimately their roadblocks led to their demise. Now online music downloads is part of everyday life and big business.
Make Money Sharing Your Stuff
So how can you start making some money for the things that was once an expense into something that generates income?
Getaround.com, launched in 2011, states that the average car sits idle for 22 hours per day. GetAround claims sharing your vehicle 25% of the time will add $5,000 into your pocket (up to $10,000 a year). I personally listed my BMW when I lived in Palo Alto. It’s easy to join and the dashboard is simple allowing you to communicate with renters. The company offers its own insurance of up to $1 million. There are no fees to join.
RelayRides, founded in Boston and now headquartered in San Francisco went live in 2010. It’s another option for you frugal and entrepreneurial folks to use a vehicle at a lower cost or rent your vehicle to others.
If you can’t bear to let your car out of your site, you can join Lyft and Sidecar. These two startups focus on carpooling. You can earn money shuttling people from point A to point B and back. For those with time and own higher-end vehicles, you can check out Uber which performs more like a private car service and some might argue as a taxi/limo service.
Frequent Airline Traveler
It wasn’t too long ago that my off-airport parking bill averaged $115 per trip. I can only imagine the savings and potential earnings if FlightCar was around back then. In 2012, three high school students came up with a car sharing solution for busy travelers or vacationers who park their cars at airport parking lots. While you are out traveling for business or pleasure, FlightCar, will park your car for free and pay you if your car is rented when you return.
Homeowners and Apartment Renters
Airbnb has rented over 12 million rooms in 2012. Airbnb works with the idea that you have unused home space, a desire to be a host or both. Maybe you have an extra bedroom or vacation home used only part of the year. You can rent out that space to others. In NYC alone, some apartment renters are making $21,000 a year sharing their apartments with tourists.
Now, why would you or a stranger want to stay in a “home” versus a hotel? It’s the same reason why people opt to stay at the Days Inn or Ritz Carlton – the atmosphere, the convenience, location and price. I’ve used Airbnb a few times to rent an apartment in LA for a night, a weekend cabin in Tahoe and for my best friend’s bachelor party in Costa Rica for a week. I actually found my experiences not only affordable but of true value. For instance, the Costa Rican rental was a few yards from the beach, a beautiful open floor plan and a short walk to the center of town.
Living near Train Stations, Athletic Stadiums or Downtowns
Have you ever driven to the beach and can’t find parking but can see all those unused driveways? Or have you driven to a baseball game and wished that ideal parking spot were accessible to you? There are startups helping you solve that problem. ParkAtMyHouse and ParkingPanda are two startups helping you with the need to park with those who have the space.
Do you live in areas where parking is limited but have a driveway? Why not make money with your parking space? That unused space could very well be prime real estate for others. ParkAtMyHome, backed by BMWi, was founded on the idea that parking spaces are limited in areas where masses of people congregate. With Parkatmyhouse, homeowners can rent their driveways and earn income.
On ParkingPanda’s website, they state parking space owners can earn income minus their 20% fee and users looking for parking could save you up to 70% off.