The Sharing Economy: Rent Out Your Possessions To Earn Money

The Sharing Economy - Rent Out Your Possessions To Earn Money - Featured Image

The UK economy might be recovering, but things are still tight for much of the population. In tough times people think outside the box to make additional income, and services like Park at my House and eBay see significant usage increases.

The Sharing Economy, sometimes called peer-to-peer rental, is another example, allowing you to capitalise on personal assets like your home, car or even jewellery and rent them out for money.

A recent survey by Nielsen, polling “more than 30,000 Internet respondents in 60 countries”, shows that this is a hugely attractive phenomenon, with 68% of global respondents stating they would use such services.

The Sharing Economy - Rent Out Your Possessions To Earn Money

While those in the UK were slightly less enthusiastic, still over a third (37%) answered in favour of using such services to make additional income for themselves.

Nielsen group managing director for UK & Ireland Chris Morley said:

The sharing economy’s rise in popularity is due to a mix of three factors. A new wave of internet entrepreneurs; people’s increasing comfort at sharing more of their lives online; and the increasing need to earn or save money because of wider financial pressures. In effect, these leading entrepreneurs are enabling everyone else to become micro-entrepreneurs by making regular money from assets they already own.

Men and women are largely equally likely to rent out their possessions for money, although the percentage of women drops off with age as natural caution kicks in.

The most popular age group for involvement is the under 30’s followed by the 30-45 year old’s, whereas geographically the Asia-Pacific region is the most likely to try it out, with people in China having a staggering 94% approval of lending for money.

Things most likely to be rented out are dominated by physical possessions, with electronics, power tools, bicycles and clothing all high up on peoples lists, but intellectual property in the form of lessons and services are also a commodity people would leverage to make some additional income.

With the consumer rental market worth an estimated $26 billion annually, its no real surprise that individual homeowners would want a part of this revenue stream.

And the scheme can have environmental benefits too – renting out unused gym equipment and bicycles encourages others to get fit and use alternative transport options without the outlay of the expense up front.

How do you rent your possesions?

This form of social enterprise is still in its early stages, but as with all things new the internet is the place where ideas are born and many rental services are already million pound businesses within the space of a few short years.

Rent your house while you’re away – services like Airbnb let you rent out a bedroom, or even your whole house for periods of time when you’re not using them.

Car hire – a hot topic at the moment as they compete with licenses taxi’s here in London and other European cities, Uber allows you to become a freelance taxi driver, picking people up and chauffeuring them around for money, all managed via a smartphone app connecting passengers and drivers, and crucially without the large percentage of money that the taxi firm keeps for itself. Cities in the UK are currently limited to London, Manchester and Dublin, but more are being added all the time.

The Sharing Economy - Uber car hire service

For those with a regular commute, carpooling.com is a great way to share space in your car for a journey that you would be making anyway. Simply post up your route and available space, and you could be helping a stranger get somewhere and making some handy cash at the same time.

Clothing is a more personal, but just as expensive possesion. Even so sites like closetdashshop.com and leaseajeans.com let you swap or lease out your clothes for exchange or cash. Need something more formal, or something bang up to date that you can’t afford, check out renttherunway.com which might be able to help – they currently have physical stores in New York and Las Vegas for trying on, but offer rental of dresses and accessories throughout mainland USA.

Make the most of your driveway or garden with hire services like Park at my House and Camp in my Garden, both sites let you rent out available space on your property for short periods of time, and make a little money in the process. If you’re near a popular destination like airports, train stations or festivals you can make some very handy cash.

Want to borrow or hire, bike, snowboarding or surfing equipment? Spinlister.com has you covered with rental prices for a bike from as little as £5 / day. The site is global, but the larger your city the better your chances.

Lastly, if you’ve got something you just want to get rid of, but is too good to throw, don’t forget freecycle.org, the perfect way to give possessions a new home, while freeing up your space and giving you some good karma!

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk