The rise of the sharing economy

The sharing economy is not a new concept, but it’s definitely becoming more widely-known and mainstream than it has in previous years. Simply put, it’s a system that promotes sharing or lending goods or services rather than individuals purchasing said products for their own use. In this article, we will investigate the benefits of the sharing economy model, as well as giving some examples that you can check out for yourself.

5 minutes to read

Five benefits of the sharing economy

It’s a sustainable choice.  By choosing sharing over buying new, you can reduce the demand for brand new products. The fewer new products that are produced and the more we can keep existing products in circulation and in use, the better.

It can save money. Using a sharing service for the occasional time you need the use of an item rather than paying to own it could save you a fortune. Obviously, it depends on the item in question. But if, say, you only cycle twice a year, renting a bike from a peer-to-peer lending service rather than buying one will save you the money it takes to buy a bike outright, as well as maintenance costs. 

It helps promote community. Sharing services, particularly ones that have a local focus, can promote a stronger sense of trust and connection amongst communities.

It’s easier to move house! If you embrace the sharing economy, you reduce the need to own as many things. This means that not only will your home be less cluttered, but it’s also a lot easier to pack up and move if and when the time comes!

It can make you money. Many sharing services such as Airbnb and some of the examples given below, encourage people to rent out or lend their own property, in return for a fee from the person borrowing them. So if you have unused stuff lying around, sharing it can be a fantastic way to monetise it without actually selling it on.

Examples of the sharing economy in action

The most famous examples of the sharing economy in action in current society is probably Airbnb, the room/property sharing service. But there are many more examples of the sharing economy that you may not even have considered as being “sharing” in the traditional sense of the word. 

Here are a few:

  1. Coworking
  2. Crowdfunding
  3. Reselling 
  4. Couchsurfing
  5. Knowledge sharing
  6. Peer-to-peer lending

 

Are there any pitfalls of the sharing economy?

As with anything, there are some potential downsides to the sharing economy. Some examples are:

Privacy or safety issues

When your whole business model relies on trust between individuals, there will, of course, be instances when that trust is broken. To avoid being stung, it’s always a good idea to think about any potential safety or privacy issues, and how you could minimise the risk.

For example, if you are buying from someone on a reselling site, organise to meet them in a public place. Or if postage is required, offer to pay for recorded or signed-for delivery.

Someone signing on device for delivery 

Lack of guarantee or warranty

New products often have to go through rigorous testing before they can go to market. Many are offered with a warranty or guarantee, which offers some peace of mind over their quality.

With peer-to-peer lending or reselling services, that quality element is down to the discretion of both the lender or seller, and the purchaser and one person’s idea of “perfect condition” can be very different from another’s.

Risk of damage

If you’re using a peer-to-peer lending service, there is always the risk that the item or product you are lending out could be inadvertently damaged or lost. To avoid this, make sure the website or service you’re using has clear loss and damage policies in place so you can lend and borrow whilst feeling protected.

 

Some sharing and lending platforms you might not have heard of

Tentshare & Camptoo

Recently labelled as “the Airbnb for camping”, Tentshare and Camptoo are peer-to-peer lending services for tents, camping equipment and camper vans.

Investing in all the equipment you need for a camping trip can be pricey, especially if you don’t go camping often. So using a sharing service can be a great way to camp on a more affordable basis.

If you’re not planning on going away this year, Tentshare is running a virtual festival in June – an opportunity to have all the fun of a real festival whilst building a camp in your own home or garden. 

The Bike Club & Spinlister

If you have children, you will know how quickly they grow out of bikes. Good-quality bikes can be expensive, so why not buy a Bike Club subscription instead?

There’s a huge choice of bikes for every age, terrain or ability, and when your child outgrows one, you can simply switch it for a new one.

For adults, Spinlister connects people who want ro ride bikes with bike owners all over world. Cycling is one of the best ways to see a new area so why not try Spinlister next time you’re on holiday and want to explore without a car.

Loanhood

Loanhood is a fashion rental app that gives you the opportunity to wear new clothes, without buying new. Loanhood is another peer-to-peer service, which means that not only can you rent clothes, you can also list your own for others to borrow and make some money in the process.

Rent My

Rent anything to and from anyone! Rent My is a sharing service for pretty much everything you could ever need, as well as being able to rent out items you own, too.

Need a power washer to clean your patio this weekend? Rent one from Rent My. Have a BBQ sitting in your shed that you rarely use? Rent it to someone who will use it! It’s such a simple idea but one that is becoming ever-more popular as consumers become more conscious of their actions.

Anygood?

Anygood? promotes recruitment with a difference. It allows companies to advertise roles, which are then sent to their network of members who provide personal recommendations for suitable candidates. So rather than having 100 CVs submitted and only 5 being suitable, or just having one recruiter or headhunter searching for candidates for you, you get a whole network of personal recommendations. Knowledge and network sharing at their best!

Tiptapp

Tiptapp connects people who need help with “helpers”. A network of people who can collect and deliver items for you, or who can help with removing things from your home that are piling up or gathering dust.

If you’ve ever thought “I really want to get rid of that old sofa bed but I need help moving it” or “I really need someone to pick up that lawnmower I bought and bring it to me”, Tiptapp is for you. Alternatively, if you’re someone with transport and a willingness to help, why not sign up as a Tiptapp helper today, and start making money from your helpfulness!

Is the sharing economy the future?

We certainly believe it has a place in helping people access what they need and move away from buying everything new or having to own everything they need.

Do you have any favourite sharing services? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below so we can add them to our list to try out.