This year, it is expected that 48 million people in the United States will book a ride with a driver through Uber, and 100 million lodgings will be made with Airbnb. This peer-to-peer movement, championed by companies like Uber and Airbnb with upstarts like Neighbor, is giving regular people more control in almost every industry while large corporations scramble to keep up.
Thanks to the ever growing popularity of “sharing” and rise of the sharing economy (gig economy, collaborative consumption, etc.), companies all over the world are making it fast, easy and cheap to get goods and services.
What is the Sharing Economy?
The rise of the sharing economy can be attributed to the minimalism movement and ongoing pursuit of “the hustle.” People don’t want to own things anymore; they want to save money and space by “sharing” them.
The sharing economy is the perfect solution for those wanting to save and those wanting to make extra cash. In this peer-to-peer network system, companies use online platforms to connect people who have something to offer (a ride home, spare bedroom, etc.) with people in need of that exact thing.
Think of it like eBay but for parking spots, storage space and more. Sellers are ordinary people who get paid when someone uses their services. Buyers save money and time thanks to streamlined technology and easy booking processes. Instead of getting estimates and waiting for returned phone calls, you make a few clicks on your computer. Online rating and review systems make things transparent, so you know exactly what to expect from the seller you choose.
15 Sharing Economy Leaders
There are several companies popping up and creating sharing platforms for every industry you can imagine. Whether you need storage space, medical advice or a pet sitter, you can find an online community that fits Check out 15 of the best companies offering you new ways to save money and make money in popular industries.
Remember a few years ago when sleeping in a stranger’s house instead of a hotel was something only broke 20-something-year-olds were interested in doing? Now Airbnb is one of the trendiest ways to lodge, with 4 million listings to choose from. That is almost ¼ of the total number of hotel rooms available in world, which was last counted at 17.5 million.
It’s no wonder Forbes recently estimated Airbnb’s worth at $38 billion considering the impact it has on the hotel industry. You can rent an entire house on the accommodation-share website for less than a hotel room most of the time.
Self storage is one of the many industries that has long been ripping off customers simply because they can. There was minimal competition in the industry until Neighbor storage came along with innovative technology and a space-sharing marketplace.
Using Neighbor, renters can save an average of $54 a month and hosts can earn over $400 a month. Between the cheaper prices, secure space and newfound friends, Neighbor is making the self-storage industry a friendlier place for everyone.
This pet care-sharing community is the perfect way for pet owners to get connected with sitters in their area. Rover allows owners to create listings for dog boarding and walking, house sitting, visits/check-ins and doggy daycare. Sitters can apply for various jobs, and the owner selects the perfect sitter for the job. As a result, owners can find inexpensive and specialized care for their pets while sitters literally get paid to hang out with dogs. Although Rover is selective about which sitters they approve, it’s possible to make the equivalent of a part time job.
Unlike other sharing economy companies, which thrive off of the ability to offer cheaper products, Uber’s greatest advantage is convenience. In fact, depending on circumstances, Uber might end up costing you more money than a regular cab. When you factor in a user-friendly app, the ability to see where your driver is and simple payments, however, it’s easy to see why Uber holds its own in the competitive taxi industry.
Getting a ride home in a lamborghini is cool, but have you ever wanted to try driving one? Rideshares allow users to book rides with drivers, but car-sharing company Turo allows users to book the entire car. Although specialty cars like that lamborghini will cost you a pretty penny, rentals through Turo start at $25 or less. Either way, riders get a better deal than the typical overpriced sedan offered by regular rental companies.
Perhaps the most useful innovation to happen in the parking industry in over a decade is parking space sharing. JustPark, a parking space-sharing company, services 2 million drivers with parking spaces in over 20,000 locations.
This parking service is especially useful in crowded never-enough-parking city streets. Those who have parking spots in these areas can double their income just by renting it out while they’re gone.
Freelancing handyman services has never been easier to do thanks to TaskRabbit. This online labor-sharing marketplace matches labor with local demand. You could find someone to help you move, paint your house or even assemble your IKEA furniture using TaskRabbit. Depending on the task and amount of labor required, you could save (or earn) unlimited amounts of side dollars. You’ll also be helping those in your community rather than putting cash in the pockets of big companies.
Getting a loan when you have less-than-perfect credit is already difficult. Dealing with banks–their rules, paperwork and regulations–is an added headache. To save yourself the trouble, borrow money from your peers.
I’m not suggesting you go door-to-door asking your neighbors to lend you money with the promise to pay them back. (Although, that might be worth a try.) Instead, you can use Lending Club, an online peer-to-peer lending community, to get your loan. Lending Club is also a great investing venture, as you’ll be investing your money in other people as opposed to big companies.
Popping tags has reached the height of convenience thanks Poshmark, the online peer-to-peer clothing marketplace. Users can sell gently-loved clothes, shoes and accessories to buyers all over the world. Buyers save big on name-brand fashion, and sellers earn money from cleaning out their closets. You probably won’t make millions selling old clothes on Poshmark. The good news is you will get 80% or more of the profits from items you do manage to sell.
More than 7 million parents find caregivers for their children using SitterCity. The online caregiving community is an easy way for parents and sitters to get connected. Parents can specify the job requirements–anything from daily nannying to a one-time babysitting job–and sitters can apply for various openings. Thanks to background checks and reviews, parents can know their children will be safe in the hands of their sitter.
Crowdfunding isn’t a new concept, but it has been refined and perfected in the years following its 1997 debut. Today, Kickstarter is the top crowdfunding platform in the world. It has raised more than $2 billion over the past decade. With projects ranging from life-saving medical operations to late-night sushi delivery startups, it makes sense that Kickstarter attracts more than 15 million backers.
Instead of getting a loan for your next business venture, it might be worth giving Kickstarter a try. There is definitely some risk involved–as with all worthwhile ventures in life–considering projects that don’t reach their total goal don’t get to collect any money. On the other hand, Kickstarter does have over 150,000 successful projects under its belt.
Making up almost one tenth of the food-delivering industry, Postmates oversees an average of 2 million deliveries a month. This peer-to-peer delivery service works by allowing people to order items from businesses in their areas and having couriers deliver the items to their front door. Orders can be anything from restaurant fare to office supplies. Couriers can deliver via car, bike, moped or any other form of transportation.
As an added incentive for buyers, Postmates offers a subscription for $9.99 a month. The subscription includes free delivery on all orders over $20. This means you could potentially never have to leave your house to go to the store again.
Cross country road tripping got the upgrade it so badly needed thanks to vehicle-share company RVshare. RVers across the United States can both rent and list RVs on RVshare’s online platform, connecting with millions of fellow adventurers. Owners have the potential to make $120-$356 a day or over $15,000 a year renting out their motorhome, camper or toy hauler on the website. As a renter, you get to compare prices from both privately-owned RVs and RV rental companies, so you end up with the best deal.
In addition to the low prices and huge, country-wide marketplace, RVshare also offers 24/7 roadside and concierge service along with a rewards program for serious RVers. Next time you sit down to plan your annual vacation, you might want to put road tripping back on the menu.
Experience culinary and dining across the world up close and personal with Eatwith. The food-sharing platform allows regular people all over to post events including meals, cooking classes and food tours on Eatwith’s marketplace. Travelers can select nearby events to attend and make a booking online.
The platform boasts experiences such as pasta-making in Rome and rooftop dinners in London. French pastry classes in Paris that would usually cost over $100 can be found on Eatwith’s marketplace for less than $60. What better way to explore a new culture than by immersing yourself in culinary art with the locals?
Crowdsourcing has even extended to the healthcare industry thanks to CrowdMed. The healthcare-sourcing app’s mission is to help ordinary people get faster and more accurate diagnoses. This is accomplished with the help of over 20,000 medial specialists. These medical specialists assist patients in solving their medical cases completely online through CrowdMed’s website. This not only saves excessive in-office visits for patients, it allows medical professionals to make extra cash while aiding the community.
The world of consumerism has been forever changed by crowdsourcing, peer-to-peer communities, the sharing economy or whatever you want to call it. Monopolies are crumbling as tech startups all over the world offer the most valuable commodity of all: connection.
Have you ever used a peer-to-peer company? We’d love to hear your experience–good or bad–below!