Everyone has heard of Uber and Airbnb by now. These enormously successful startups are part of what is termed the ‘sharing economy’, in that customers now interact directly with one another and the ‘middle man’ or the retail/service outlet plays a minimal or non-existent role.
But Uber and Airbnb are not the only examples of this business model. There is a huge range of sharing economy-style businesses landing on the market, offering a huge range of services.
Have you heard of the 23 that we’ve listed below?
With Skillshare, users log in to the website and can then access lessons, tutorials and the like, as created by experts in the field. Rather than use accredited teachers, anyone with skills in a specific field can create classes and earn a following, imparting their wisdom to anyone with an interest in their field.
Openshed is a rental service for tools and gadgets. The difference here is that people rent off one another, rather than from a retailer. For people with a shed filled with tools that go unused most of the time, renting them out is a good way to make some money on the side. For others, it’s a good way to get access to tools they need for specific projects without spending a lot of money on something they’ll only use once or twice.
People travelling on a budget will love Casaversa. Rather than spending money on accommodation, people who use this service instead exchange houses with another family. They stay in yours, you stay in theirs.
Rather than buying a car outright and then needing to spend money to maintain (let alone store it, which is a problem if you live in the inner suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne), with Greensharecar you pay a subscription to instead have access to a car whenever you need it. Simply book online, and then use the car only as you need it.
For groups of people that live close to one another and are travelling to a similar location, MyCarPooling is a useful alternative to the likes of Uber. Using the app, customers find a carpool heading to their chosen destination, then sign up to take the trip with the group.
Think of Meemeep as the Uber of movers. If you’ve moving house or even looking to get something couriered to another location, you get one of Meemeep’s licensed movers to take it for you, saving you money in the process.
Another social sharing site, Freegler is as simple as this – if you’ve got something that you’re happy to share out for a fee, then you list it on the site. If someone wishes to use it, they contact you and you earn money as they use the product.
As with Freegler above, Yeehire allows customers to hire products from a wide range of different categories – from cars through to camping goods, technology through to fashion. Customers hire these products directly from the owners, allowing the owner to make some money from their unused or underused things sitting in the home.
Friends With Things is a classifieds-style service where users either post a notice for something they need to borrow, or something they’re looking to loan out. In addition to loaning out physical goods, it’s possible for users to post classified for services or events on this site.
In addition to a movie streaming service (where you pay a monthly fee to access as many movies over the Internet as you like), Quickflix offers a DVD rental service, where for around $13/ month you can choose the DVDs you want to watch, and the company will mail them out to you. You can watch them as many times as you like before posting them back when you’re ready to hire the next one.
Bikes are a good way to get around Melbourne, and this service saves people purchasing their own bikes. For a small subscription fee, users can book a bike whenever they need it, and with 50 bike stations around the Melbourne city, it’s convenient to go and pick one up.
Coseats is another vehicle sharing service, but this one has a special focus on long distance travel. People submit a trip that they’re looking to take (for example, Sydney to Melbourne), and then find a person making the same trip to hitch a ride with.
Jayride is a specialist service for people to book shuttle transfers from any Australian airport into the relevant cities. Users log in, compare the transport options available to them, and can instantly book their way out of the airport. This saves time and money from hailing a taxi at the airport.
Unlike services such as GreenShareCar or GoGet, where the car is owned by a central business with a fleet of them, with Car Next Door users are instead borrowing a car owned by someone that lives near to them. It’s also good for the people who own the cars, because they can earn income from their vehicle while not using it.
TuShare is a sharing network, through and through. If you’ve got something in the home that you no longer need, you can list it on TuShare, and someone who would have a use for it can pick it up. There’s no money involved in this one – TuShare is a B Corp (a company that uses business to solve social and environmental problems).
Freecycle works much like TuShare, in that it’s about providing unwanted goods to people that do want them in order to reduce waste and minimise landfill. This is a global organisation, however, and has been around for many years. It’s made up of thousands of groups, and has helped millions of members through its work.
Another car sharing service, DriveMyCar gives the car owners a greater degree of control over who can use their vehicles. The organisation itself conducts necessary checks on registered drivers, but the car owner can still decline to loan his/her car to a specific individual if they want. Unlike some other services which keep car owner and renter anonymous to one another, this service also involves a car handover, giving the process a personal touch that some will appreciate.
Freally is another social sharing organisation, though this one is very geographically based. Loading up the website provides you with a map of Australia, allowing you to see at a glance what unwanted goods people in your specific area are looking to pass on.
MamaBake’s concept is a fascinating one – by having a group of people baking in large batches, they’re able to then share around the meals. This means that each individual parent doesn’t need to cook each and every night. This promises to save time and money for busy parents, while still making sure everyone is well fed on good food.
For people who need help in everything from Marketing to IT, through to help with the home and garden, Airtasker is a useful way to crowdsource skilled talent in their local area. Customers simple post a task they need done, then review the ‘applicants’ for that task before choosing one to complete the project. It’s a good, instant way to access instant talent.
For people that want to share clothes around, The Clothing Exchange is the way to do. Users create profiles, upload clothes that they’re happy to share, and then swap with other users. It’s a cheap and effective way to massively increase your wardrobe.
The Garage Sale Trail is an annual event. In August 2015 people will register their garage sale on the website, and then, on October 24, all the garage sales go live, giving people looking for bargains a full day to go from one sale to the next throughout Sydney and other areas.
And last but not least, there’s Gomi. Gomi is an innovative way to try and minimise trash and waste on the streets. When people see an abandoned item on the city streets, they take a photo of it, and pop it up on the Gomi website. Then, the first person that notices it and is interested in it can claim it. It’s a treasure hunt of a website, and helps to keep landfill down.