The Sharing Economy: What is it and How to Profit From it

By on December 21, 2015 in Current Events with 3 Comments

The Sharing Economy, called Shareconomy by frequent users and collaborative consumption by economists, preferences renting or borrowing rather than buying and owning.

Though the Sharing Economy is in its early stages, its ideology is a potential game changer for American consumers. Whether borrowing goods, renting homes, offering skills, or providing services in exchange for trade or money, consumers are showing enthusiasm for this new sharing-based economy.

One aspect of the Sharing Economy that makes it appealing is how it combines social and economic factors. These person to person exchanges are possible through digital platforms, like smartphones and tablets, enabling real-time connection between people who are offering services and people who need those services.

Ways to Profit in the Sharing Economy

The major draw for consumers and providers is that anybody can participate in this new marketplace. At its nuts and bolts, the sharing economy is a hassle-free way to earn money by making use of the things and services you have available to you. This gives both parties the freedom to work on their terms.

This is a great way for Federal employees to earn some extra money too. Since Sharing Economy platforms aren’t technically side jobs, there should be no conflict with restrictions on outside employment, although if a reader has any questions, checking with your ethics adviser would be wise.

There are a number of ways to play a part in this innovative exchange. Some people have even made a career out of participating in this socio-economic system. Here are some of the most popular methods to make money in the sharing economy:

Providing transportation

An extremely popular way to earn extra income is by providing ride-sharing with your own car. There are a variety of ride-sharing companies to choose from, including:

  • UberArguably the most popular of the ride-sharing companies to date, Uber claims that drivers can earn $20-$35 per hour and pays its drivers weekly. The vehicle requirements for Uber are pretty simple: an insured four-door car that can’t be more than 10 years old. The car must also pass an Uber inspection. If you sign up as a driver Uber will give you $100.
  • LyftThis is another extremely popular ride-share app. With Lyft, an individual can make up to $35 per hour, even more during peak hours. To be eligible, your vehicle must be a four-door with five seatbelts and not older than 12 years.
  • SidecarThough it’s not as well-known as its competition, this company was the winner of The Wall Street Journal’s 2014 review of transportation apps. Sidecar claims that its driver can make up to $25 per hour.

Car sharing

If a person doesn’t want to provide the transportation, they can still make money by renting out their car when they’re not using it. A couple of apps to consider are:

  • GetaroundThis app allows vehicle owners who have a vehicle that’s a 1995 model or newer to set their desired rates while the company handles the payment processing, insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance. They claim that car owners make an average of $6,000 per year.
  • Turo (formerly RelayRides) – Car owners who have a vehicle ten years or newer with less than 100,000 miles can use this app. The owner controls the price and has the ability to approve potential drivers. The company provides the liability insurance and claims to have the potential earnings of $1000 per month.

Other Ways Cars and Bikes can Help you Earn

Another way a person can use their car without offering rides to others or allowing a stranger to borrow their car is by becoming a delivery driver with an app like Postmates.  Delivering food and other general items has the potential earnings of up to $25 per hour, plus tips. A driver doesn’t have to own a car with this company, bikers and cyclists can also participate.

Renting out a vacant parking space in an urban area can also be a way to earn cash. Now, an owner of a privately owned and vacant parking space can rent it to other drivers with the app JustPark (formerly ParkAtMyHouse). This service allows someone to rent their unused parking space for anywhere from 30 minutes to six months. Rates vary with demand, so a person with a space in a densely populated area with a lack of parking has the potential to earn more than someone in a less sought after location.

Home sharing and touring

People now have the option of renting their home or apartment while they’re away, inviting others into their home, or providing their time and expertise with these apps:

  • AirbnbAn individual can make a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars by renting out a single room or entire home to vacationers. Earnings depend on availability and the desirability of the location. New travelers get $20 free towards your first trip.
  • CouchSurfing Like Airbnb, this company lets travelers stay in someone else’s home. The difference between this service and AirBnB is that the home owner is still home. Someone with a spare room, couch, or even an air mattress can rent to travelers. CouchSurfing also allows a person to be a local city resource instead of renting space.
  • HomeDineHome cooks can make money by inviting hungry people to dinner. Local or world travelers who want a home-cooked meal use this app and are matched with a willing host. The host decides what’s for dinner, how much to charge, and approves the diners.
  • Vayable A local with a strong knowledge of their city can offer their expertise to visitors for a fee. Tour guides for Vayable determine their pricing and availability while the company handles payment processing.
  • DogVacay There’s even an app to earn money as a pet-sitter. After a reference check and phone interview, a host can earn $15-$50 per night. 

Selling and renting out unused items and services

Rather than letting underused items sit around, a person can use the following apps to sell or rent them out and provide services for a fee:

  • SpinlisterOwners of sports equipment such as skis, snowboards, surfboards and bikes can use this app to rent out equipment that’s not being used. The company that approves the products also provides compensation for lost, stolen, or damaged items. The lister approves that renter and availability. The Spinlister site claims that a lister can make up to $500 per month.
  • Zaarly With this app, money can be made by selling goods and services. A person can offer things like homemade cakes, computer repairs, house cleaning services, or even virtual services like consulting. The seller sets up their own shop where they list what they’re selling and how much they want for them.
  • Poshmark This is one of many apps that have cropped up for the sell and exchange of used clothes. The website claims you can sign up and post your items in as little as one minute. Unlike a lot of these clothes-sell sites, this one provides the seller with the security of not having to give their address to strangers. Poshmark provides the seller with a postage-paid and pre-addressed package to ship sold items in.

As the new frontier of the Sharing Economy expands, so does that ways in which people can profit from it. If someone has goods or services they are willing to share in this people-to-people market, they can create revenue without becoming an employee.

The most intriguing aspect of this socio-economic trend is that anyone can participate. Everyone can provide something that someone else wants, be it expertise, goods, or services. People from all walks of life, career backgrounds, and social standing have the potential to profit by becoming a part of the Sharing Economy.

© 2016 Jason Kay. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Jason Kay.

About the Author

Jason Kay is a professional resume writer and regular contributor to KSADoctor.com, a professional federal resume service and repository of sample KSA statements.

Top