We’ve all heard of AirBnB and Uber. But the web is awash with other sharing economy services that aim to squeeze value out of “under-utilized assets”. These range from cars, bikes, lawnmowers, gardens, money, and even time.
Instead of letting these assets sit idle, the sharing economy helps us share these with others who need them. This often makes the owner some money, while saving the borrower money. It’s win-win.
Here are a range of sharing economy websites that you (maybe) haven’t heard of yet. These will help you with everything from free airport parking, to renting a lawnmower from a neighbor.
Grab Free Parking
Flightcar (iOS) offers a service that should have been offered years ago. Think about it. When you’re on holiday, you’re charged extortionate daily rates to park your car at the airport. During that time, your car sits completely idle.
Flightcar allows you to park your car in one of several city airports (currently 13) completely free of charge. In return, they can rent your vehicle out to approved visitors in your city for the duration of your vacation. All vehicles are insured for up to $1 million. During a 5-night vacation, you’ll save approximately $100 in parking fees, and earn a small share of the income if your car is rented.
A similar alternative for UK readers is JustPark (iOS, Android), which helps 750,000 drivers to find and reserve short and long-term parking spaces (for a fee) around the country, including within major cities.
Share Bikes, Surfboards, and Skis
Through Spinlister’s website, iOS, or Android apps, users can easily rent other people’s bicycles, surfboards, snowboards, and skis around the world. This peer-to-peer sharing service is especially perfect if you’re visiting a new city, or if you want to surprise your loved one with an impromptu bike ride, or days surfing.
If you have a couple of spare bikes or surfboards lying around your own house, you can list each of these on Spinlister in less than 90 seconds to convert them into cash generators.
The Affordable Way to Rent a Car
If you’re on vacation and fancy going on a short road trip, sign up to Turo (iOS, Android). This site allows you to rent privately owned cars that would otherwise be collecting dust. Simply book on the site, and pick up the car. Some owners will even bring the car to you.
If you have a car that you wish to rent out, the whole process is incredibly simple. Turo even offer a similar free airport parking service as Flightcar at SFO and LAX. If you want to check out a similar alternative, GetAround (iOS, Android) is another popular option.
A New Way to Travel
Vayable (iOS) brings a whole new realm of experiences to city breaks. Any local can sign up to the site to offer an alternative way of seeing their city, from night photography tours of Paris, to gluten-free food tours of NYC.
As a tourist, simply browse the site a few weeks before you visit a city to see which knowledge and secret hide-outs the locals can share with you.
Find the Perfect Pet Sitter
Finding the perfect pet sitter can be a tough hurdle when you’re trying to plan some time away. In these situations, DogVacay (iOS, Android), DogBuddy (iOS [No Longer Available], Android), and Pawshake (iOS, Android) will have you covered across many countries.
Search for your zip code, and you’ll be shown a list of people willing to look after your beloved dog. You can either ask the sitters to stop by your house, or you can leave your dog with the sitters in their own home.
Before choosing a sitter, read reviews to help assure you that your dog will be well looked after. Included is pet insurance, as well as daily updates to show you how much fun little Patch is having.
Swap Your Home
If you love to truly experience a place like a local when you travel, home swapping may be your best option. CasaVersa is one such site that helps you find other homeowners who would like to stay in your house, while you stay in theirs.
Instead of needing to pay extortionate hotel rates, you can pretty much remove the cost of accommodation from your trip. And having access to an entire home will cut transport and food costs, too. If you don’t have a house that you can swap, house-sitting is the next best thing.
Sites like MindMyHouse and TrustedHousesitters advertise for people to look after someone else’s house (and often pets) while they’re away.
Borrow Money Without the Banks
Investors can invest in a range of loans in increments as low as $25. Borrowers can select the desired loan that has been offered by investors. Usually the company’s low overheads mean interest rates will be considerably lower than those offered by banks. If you’re looking for a peer-to-peer loan in the UK, Zopa is one of the market leaders.
Borrow Anything from Your Neighbors
The number of items most people own but rarely use is astounding. This ranges from specialist cooking equipment, to power tools. Rather than purchasing these items when you occasionally need them, use sites like Zilock, Neighborgoods (mostly NYC), or Streetbank (UK).
Each of these sites allows users to rent and borrow pretty much anything to anyone, helping us all to extract more value out of the stuff we own.
Swap Your Possessions
And if you have unused items that you’d like to swap for something you actually need, sign up to Yerdle (iOS,Android). Rather than needing to wait for someone who has what you can offer, and offers what you want, Yerdle works differently. When you successfully give your possession to someone else, you earn some “Yerdle Dollars”, which you can then use to “swap” for another item that you actually want.
This is a fantastic way to complete some valuable cashless transactions, where everyone goes away happy.
Deliver Anything to Anyone
It won’t be long until Uber takes on this industry, but for now, Postmates (iOS, Android) is working hard to corner the on-demand delivery market (in a couple of cities, you’ve probably already heard of them).
Through its website and mobile apps, Postmates is “transforming the way local goods move around a city by enabling anyone to get any product delivered in under one hour”. That’s a tall order, but the company is already close to delivering a million orders per month (much of this is food delivery from local restaurants).
The “sharing economy” angle comes in because anyone can register to become a delivery driver for the company, earning an average of $25 per hour, working whenever they like. Any vehicle is cool too — car, bike, scooter. Whatever you like.
Find a Remote Hideaway
Campr (Android) is currently available in 30 countries throughout Europe, but has just started expanding into the US. The site is essentially an AirBnB for people who love nature.
Results based on location, budget, and availability will show a range of idyllic camp spots, remote beach-huts, and unconnected mountain hideouts. You can then rent this accommodation (or area of land) direct from the host for extremely reasonable prices. Try this out when you are planning your next camping adventure.
Did Any Sharing Economy Service Make a Difference to You?
There are plenty of other sharing economy sites out there. But these are the few that seem to be taking off, and which are most likely to hold some real value for our readers. Many others have great ideas, but do not yet have the traction to offer much real value to their users.
Overall though, sharing economy sites not only offer the borrower the ability to save money, but also enable the lender to make some money, too. This is an exciting time we are approaching, where the need to own becomes less as the ability to affordably borrow increases.
Do you use any sharing economy website apart from Uber or AirBnB? Aside from those above, what other industry would you like to see a sharing economy site appear in?
Image Credit: Shared Economy by Batshevs via Shutterstock