If you don’t know what the Sharing Economy is, you soon will. Two thirds of Aussies are predicted to be participating in this sector by the end of 2015[i] – with the global sharing economy expected to be worth $335 Billion by 2025.[ii] The Sharing Economy aims to help everyday families make and save money by making more use of assets they already own.
“Whilst the Sharing Economy is not on some people’s radar yet, the reality is many Australians are already participating in it without realising,” says Debbie Wosskow, CEO of home exchange site Love Home Swap (www.lovehomeswap.com) – one of the pioneers in the sharing economy. “Uber and Airbnb have become household names, whilst new players are constantly coming up with unique ways for everyday people to put more cash in their pockets,” she said.
Wosskow founded Love Home Swap in 2011 after watching the movie “The Holiday”, with just 250 homes listed at launch. Three years later, the site has more than 65,000 homes listed across 160 countries, making it the world’s largest home exchange club.
“The sharing economy allows people to share property, resources, time and skills across online platforms. This allows people to go from owning expensive assets, such as cars, to paying for them only when they need them.” says Wosskow, who last year was asked by the UK government to author an Independent Report on the Sharing Economy. “Not only are people making and saving money with services like Airbnb, Love Home Swap and Car Next Door, many report that their experience with the sharing economy is more fun and more rewarding than with traditional services,” she adds.
So if you’re keen to carve out a piece of the sharing pie, but aren’t sure where to start – here are Debbie’s top five sharing sites in Australia:
1. Love Home Swap (www.lovehomeswap.com)With 65,000+ properties in 160 countries, Love Home Swap is the world’s largest online travel club and a realisation of Debbie’s vision for affordable yet stylish accommodation around the world. “Through the sharing of homes, the site enables members to save an average of $4,300 per trip, which means they can holiday more often, and for longer”, says Debbie. Annual membership starts at just $22 per month which includes unlimited swaps throughout the year.
2.Car Next Door(www.carnextdoor.com.au)
Car sharing is another sharing economy trend that is on the up in Australia. Car Next Door is Australia’s first peer-to-peer car sharing service, allowing car owners to rent out their cars when they’re not using them. “A lot of people might catch public transport to work during the week and only require occasional car use on weekends,” says Debbie, “so car sharing can amount to huge savings compared to car ownership, as well as having huge benefits for the environment,” she says. Prices start from $5 an hour or $25 a day to borrow a car, along with a monthly member’s fee of $75 if you’d like to join as a car owner.
3.Air Tasker (www.airtasker.com)
Task sharing services are on the rise in Australia and sites such asAir Tasker allow people to outsource everyday chores or challenges to those who can complete or solve them. Debbie believes that “one of the essentials in the sharing movement is helping one another out. As well as making and saving money, it can really enhance a sense of community in local areas.” People just need to describe the task at hand and post it up on the site for free. The price that you then agree with the Air Tasker is what you’ll need to pay once the task is completed.
4.Clothing Exchange (www.clothingexchange.com.au)
“Clothes swapping is not a new concept, but sites like Clothing Exchange, founded in 2006, allow you to access thousands of wardrobes from across the country, rather than just those of your friends,” says Debbie. She adds that clothes swapping is a great option for people wanting to dip a toe into the sharing economy, as the value of each item is relatively low. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” she says. The ultimate aim is to cut down on the ‘fashion waste’ which results in a national expenditure of $1.7 billion annually.[iii]
5.Park Hound www.parkhound.com.au
If you live in one of Australia’s capital cities you’ll know that parking in busy inner city areas can be an expensive and sometimes an impossible endeavour. To remedy this, businesses such as Park Hound allow people to rent out their unused car spaces, driveways or garages. “This is a big trend we’re seeing overseas as well,” says Debbie. “Unused parking spots in urban areas are a goldmine for those who own them,” she says, “and likewise, people looking for somewhere to park their car near work or home are looking for ways to save on the exorbitant rates in commercial car parks.” It is free to use the site and lease out your space, as well as searching for one. Once a space is booked, the owner will decide on a fee and the site will charge a maximum 10 per cent for each completed booking.