Boost your income with a slice of the Share Economy

by QuickBooks UK

3 min read

Having a cash flow crisis? We look at easy ways to earn a little extra

Every business goes through its tough times. From start-up costs to unexpected setbacks, you can find yourself in something of a financial fix. By tapping into the so-called ‘sharing economy’ you could earn some valuable cash without sacrificing your next most precious resource – your time.

WHERE TO SHARE

The sharing economy is made up of:

  1. Asset-based sharing which involves renting out an underused item, such as a home, a car or even a power tool.
  2. Labour-based sharing which sees people offering their skills and time – driving a car, doing some DIY, or writing a press release.

You might already be tapping into the labour-based sharing economy. Perhaps you’ve hired someone from Handy to clean your house or booked a proof-reader through OneSpace. But when money is tight you need to think like a producer, not a consumer. And when a hard-pressed entrepreneur needs to make quick cash, asset-based sharing makes a lot of sense.

GENERATION RENT

The concept of ‘collaborative consumption’ is central to the sharing economy. Millennials, in particular, are rejecting the idea that you need to own a car, a bike or a cottage by the sea in order to use one. So if you’re lucky enough to have something that someone else wants, why not make the most of it? Peer-to-peer platforms have made it easy to advertise your assets, from lawn-mowers to parking spaces, while technology has made paying (or getting paid) easier and less awkward than ever.

 IF YOU’VE GOT IT, SHARE IT

When it comes to making money from your assets, explore all of your options. Individual transactions won’t make you a fortune, but after a while, you should start to appreciate the additional income. These are the most popular items to rent out and the platforms that will help you do a deal.

Your home

Going away for a business trip or well-deserved holiday? Put your place on Airbnb and earn some extra cash. Individual rooms can also be rented out, so if you have spare space (and are the sociable type) you could consider hosting when you’re at home.

Your wheels

List your vehicle on a rental site such as easyCar Club and it could be making money instead of sitting idly in your driveway.

  • If you regularly commute by car and fancy doing your bit for the environment as well as your bank balance, sign up at BlaBlaCar, Liftshare or another car pool scheme.
  • Fill up spare space in your van by registering with Nimber. You’ll be connected to people who want their bulky items delivered to where you’re going.
  • Rent out your bike via Spinlister, a global operation which also hires owners’ surfboards and snowboards.

 Your office space

Is your home empty during the day? It could become someone’s office, with a little help from Vrumi. They list everything from studio flats to living rooms which are available as work spaces and your home will be your own again by the time you get back in the evening.

 Your driveway

Parking spaces are at a premium in some areas and JustPark could help you take advantage. Driveways near stations, hospitals, and sports grounds are in particularly high demand. And because you control availability, it’s easy to make a few quid with minimal disruption.

SO WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Tax and insurance. Some sites such as Spinlister provide some cover, but in many cases it’s up to you. Income of any kind needs to be declared on your tax return but unlike employees, self-employed people and business owners will be doing one anyway.  Then there’s the question of trust – after all, it’s what the share economy is built on. Of course, there are horror stories, but there are plenty of satisfied customers and new-found friendships too. Always read reviews to minimise risk and make an effort to boost your own ratings as a supplier. That way your new income stream which starts as a trickle will soon begin to flow.

Find out more about the pros and cons of the gig economy and how it could help grow your business.

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