Only use your car part of the week? Rent it out to strangers. Source: Supplied
Take a look at the ins and outs behind the online community marketplace sensation; Airtasker. Courtesy Airtasker.
NO, IT'S not a pyramid scheme, an email from your departed grandmother or a plea for help from a Nigerian prince.
It's called the sharing economy.
Around the world, peer-to-peer sharing is taking off. The internet has opened up giant marketplaces for everyday people to share goods and services with one another.
While there have been some horror stories, in general the public honour system incentivises good behaviour. Think eBay, whose early success was underpinned by publicly rated seller profiles.
RENT OUT YOUR SPARE ROOM
Author Rachel Botsman estimated the peer-to-peer consumer rental market to be worth upwards of $26 billion in her 2010 book, What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.
That figure would be substantially higher today, with many platforms reporting rapid growth in the past 24 months. Accommodation site Airbnb, for example, has grown from 120,000 listings globally in 2012 to more than 800,000 today.
While the company doesn't give out local numbers, it claims listings in Australia have grown 97% year-on-year. In Sydney, 85 per cent of hosts rent out the home they live in, and the typical host earns $4,500 per year renting out their property for an average of 37 nights.
Spare bedroom? Peer-to-peer sharing sites like Airbnb can make it work for you. Source: Supplied
RENT OUT YOUR CAR
Will Davies, founder of Sydney-based car-sharing start-up Car Next Door, says since January the service has grown from 600 to 2000 users sharing 120 cars — up from 45 at the start of the year.
"Our top owner has made $1330 profit in the past 30 days," Davies says. "We routinely have owners earning $400 or $500 a month."
One car owner, Sarah from Bondi, earns around $550 a month from letting out her VW Golf. She usually only drives on weekends, with the car sitting idle on the street the rest of the time.
So how does it work? The most important aspect, says Mr Davies, is you never have to waste time meeting the person renting your car.
Car Next Door founders Dave Trumbull (left) and Will Davies. Source: Supplied
"Basically you list your car and we come out and install the GPS tracker and an electronic lockbox that handles the key exchange. When a borrower wants to use your car, they go on the platform, search for the location, and you get an SMS when your car has been booked.
"It's very hands-off. If a borrower borrows a car for three hours, that owner might be making $15 from that transaction. But if they have to meet the borrower at the start and the end [to hand over keys], there's a lot of friction."
Mr Davies says peer-to-peer sharing of this kind only makes sense if the item is expensive. The big three are house, car, and — as sites like TaskRabbit and Australian rival Airtasker are now showing — time.
Pikachu will hold your spot in line — for a fee. Source: Supplied
WALK SOMEONE'S DOG
With 130,000 active users, Airtasker now processes more than $5 million a year worth of jobs — everything from setting up computers to delivering KFC — with the majority of that growth coming in the past six months.
"The average task run is $120," Airtasker founder Tim Fung says. "That equates to a little over $26 an hour. What a platform like this does is allows you to open up skills that might not have been considered 'skills' in the traditional sense.
Making cash in your spare time is a walk in the park. Source: Supplied
"We've got a whole bunch of people making money off stuff like paper mache, making costumes, walking dogs — I would call them skills because some people are better at them than others. We've had someone fly over to the US to pick up an engagement ring, elaborate proposals, flashmobs, baking, knitting, all these things."
The company is eyeing a US expansion next year to take on TaskRabbit, and Fung wants to develop relationships with professional recruiters to take on larger, enterprise-scale projects for businesses.
"To get the first 100,000 users on the site is always the toughest," Mr Fung says. "There's been teething issues, sure, but we basically want to replicate all the dynamics of a real-world labour market.
"We're building in a calling feature, video interviewing, a project feature — that's allowing companies like TripAdvisor and Delivery Hero to make use of not just one-to-one but hundreds of people doing transactions."
GRAND TOTAL: $1185