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This week my garden strimmer broke 🙁 My lawn mower is pretty knackered too. I was going to buy a new one and then it got me thinking. Every house down my street probably has a mower and a strimmer. That’s over 100 duplicate items all within two minutes walking distance. That is actually insane! Then I thought about how many things I own “just in case” and actually I could be lending them out to other people so they don’t have to buy new. So I looked into it and its got an actual name; the shared economy. It turns out you really can rent out your life and make money.
What exactly is the ‘sharing economy’?
You may have not heard of the ‘sharing economy’. However you probably have heard of Airbnb. This is the website for renting out spare rooms or spare houses from other people, an alternative to booking a hotel. The success of Airbnb has helped start a trend for a whole new set of websites trying to do the same thing for all kinds of other items. You can find the ‘Airbnb for cars’ or the ‘Airbnb for boats’ or even “Airpnp”, the ‘Airbnb for toilets’!
So how is this going to make me money?
If you own anything that you don’t use that often, you can sign up to these sites and rent it out. Depending on what you have, and where you live, you can earn quite a lot.
What are the options?
Right now, the biggest money-maker is your spare room or flat. Airbnb gives you an estimate of how much you could earn, and you can usually make at least £200 per week. Of course, renting out a spare room is quite a lot of hassle. You have to provide clean bedsheets and towels as well as professionally clean your house for each booking.
On five different websites, you can rent out your car when you’re not using it. If you’re like most people this is 95% of the time. Usually, you’ll be paid at least £30 per day, but you can also rent it out for a whole week, or even just for a couple of hours.
At the lower end of the scale, you can make some extra pennies renting out your smaller items. On a couple of different sites, you could make around £15 per day from your bike, your power tools, your lawnmower, your sports equipment or other similar things. While it may be a small amount of money at a time, it’s quite easy to do.
But if this all seems like a bit of a hassle, there are some even easier options to rent out your life. You could rent out your driveway or garage as a parking space. If you live near a busy station or a hospital you could make up to £10 per day. You can also share the extra space in your garage, loft, attic or spare room for people to use as storage. You can agree the terms as to how often the owner can visit their stuff. You could even rent out your garden for people to camp in (but you do have to let them use your toilet).
Is it safe though?
There’s always a risk that something could go wrong when you choose to rent out your things. However, most reputable ‘sharing economy’ websites or apps have pretty good insurance coverage. For example, if someone has a crash while driving your car, they pay the website’s insurance policy covers the damages. The driver pays the excess, and it doesn’t affect your no-claims bonus.
Where can you sign up to rent out your life?
We’ve made a quick list:
- Spare rooms: Airbnb, Fivenights, Homeaway, Homestay, Wimdu
- Cars: EasyCarClub, Hiyacar, Ridelink, Rentecarlo
- Storage Space: Stashbee, Storemates, Storenextdoor
- Smaller items: Borroclub, Rentmyitems, Fat Lama, Borrow-it
- Bikes: Spinlister (and the ones above)
- Gardens: Campinmygarden, Field Lover
- Parking space: JustPark, yourparkingspace, parkonmydrive, parklet, parkingpoint
- Home Office space: Vrumi, Hermit, Spacehop
Or, you can sign up to “idle” (http://www.idleitems.com), choose what you have to share, and they will create you an account on every relevant website, and you can manage everything in one place.
So if you’re planning a declutter at home, you might want to re-think what you’re getting rid of. It might just make you a pretty penny! Equally, before going shopping, have a check to see if it is something you could just borrow instead.
* Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links.