Sharing is caring, and now you can save--or make--a little money while you’re at it.
Imagine a world where you can access products and services without getting the dreaded M word (middlemen) involved--a world where both parties of the transaction benefit, services are delivered quickly, and costs are drastically reduced. The convenience alone is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen direct-to-consumer brands staging coups in dozens of industries by cutting out wholesalers and reaching directly for their customers. Warby Parker for eyeglasses, Uber for transport, and Dollar Shave Club for personal hygiene are perfect examples.
This revolution opened the door to an even more minimalistic approach to consumption: peer-to-peer platforms.
Peer-to-peer platforms foster relationships between two people: the person in need of a product/service, and the person offering that product/service. Middlemen, brokers, retailers, and agents are no longer involved. As a result, consumers can pay a lower price, unburdened by costs passed on by middlemen, and providers get to bag extra cash.
It’s undeniably a financial win for both sides and, with strategy and proper policy, the sharing economy might have some exceptional environmental impacts too. Beyond the financial upsides and positive effect on the environment, peer-to-peer platforms and the sharing economy as a whole make it easier for virtually anyone to make money.
If you’ve ever rented clothing from an individual online or requested an Uber, then congratulations: you’re already part of the magnificent sharing economy! If you’re on the hunt for more ways to engage peer-to-peer providers, look no further. Here are five sectors you should know about.
Car Sharing Services
Did you know that private cars go unused for 95% of their lifetime? Yikes! This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of peer-to-peer solutions.
Why not use your car to generate income, rather than leaving it parked for hours on end? Turo empowers you to do exactly that.
If you’re really feeling brave, ditch being a car owner altogether. (A feat easier for city-dwellers than suburban folk, but still worth mentioning!) That’s where companies like Uber, Lyft, Getaround, and Maven come into play.
Lodging Sharing Services
Transpose the rideshare principle onto the lodging sector and you get immensely successful companies like Airbnb, HomeAway, and Flipkey, which allow homeowners to rent out extra rooms (or entire homes) to countless travelers, on their terms.
Staying in peer-to-peer-style accommodations might mean giving up 24-hour concierge and fancy room service, but the savings can be incredible. For example, Busbud reports that city-based Airbnb room rates are approximately 50% cheaper than those of conventional hotels! Who wouldn’t want to save HALF on their accommodation costs?
If you’re worried about having to sleep with one eye open in a dodgy house, take a deep breath. Registered homeowners on these platforms are thoroughly vetted to ease security concerns, and reviews from other vacationers provide insight as well.
Goodbye, faceless multinational hotel chains! Hello, boutique homestyle living!
Storage Sharing Services
This one’s a little surprising, but P2P storage sharing can be a great alternative to pricey chains. Companies like Neighbor allow you to rent attics, garages, and other storage space from people in your area.
Cost is the first advantage of peer-to-peer storage solutions. Conventional self-storage facilities can charge up to $225/month, and rates tend to rise substantially if you don’t want to get locked into a contract. With storage-sharing, there are no contracts--your rate is your rate!
The second advantage is flexibility. While there are many self-storage companies across the country, peer-to-peer storage solutions leverage homeowners in your backyard, so you can keep your stuff close. What’s more, if you need to move your items before the reservation period ends (or if you’d like to extend the reservation period), you can talk directly to the owner to work out new terms, with less hassle.
Worried about leaving your belongings with strangers? Neighbor promises verified users, secure payments, and a hefty $1M or $25K guarantee for hosts and renters, respectively.
Parking Sharing Services
Do you leave for work an hour early just to allow time to find parking? For urbanites across the country, this is a dreadful reality--but there’s a collaborative solution for that too! Enter: companies like ParkStash, which allow you to find and book private parking spaces, wherever you need to go.
Once registered as a verified user, you can scan the map for spot owners in your desired area and reserve a spot ahead of time for an affordable price. If you need to extend your stay, you can do it with two taps in the ParkStash app.
Although parking sharing is still very new to the collaborative consumption market, we’re hoping it takes off!
Task Sharing Services
TaskRabbit allows you to order handy(wo)men assistance, grocery deliveries, and prescription pickups with the click of a button. Chances are, whatever you need help with, there’s someone on TaskRabbit ready to take it on! Easy peasy.
Now for a humble brag moment: Sparetoolz is another peer-to-peer platform that empowers both sides of the transaction. Renters can access the tools they need, while owners can earn money on items they already own! (Feel like getting crafty, but need some ideas? We can help with that, too.)
Simply register on the Sparetoolz platform, rent the tools you need, and return them when you’re done.
Convenience, efficiency, and savings are only some of the benefits you’ll enjoy from embracing the sharing economy. Like mama always said--sharing is caring, and now you can save--or make--a little money while you’re at it.