How some consumers are using the collaborative web to make ends meet.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky likes to describe Airbnb as not a company, but “a movement.” While one could dismiss that as corporate-speak, Chesky really believes that what the company does provides tangible benefits for people who are either making extra cash from renting out their home or travelers who get to visit a place they otherwise couldn’t. Here are some users who are making or saving cash in the sharing economy.
Jory Felice, 47, of Los Angeles, has been loaning and borrowing household goods on Neighborgoods.net since its beta testing in 2009 (It launched in 2010.) Instead of buying a cat carrier when he takes his feline to the vet, he borrows one. That also cuts down on clutter in his home. He’s also borrowed a chainsaw, kids’ snow clothes, since his family doesn’t go skiing often. He’s loaned out a drill, wheel barrow, garden tools and a ladder. A meter on his page says he’s saved more than $1,000 borrowing on the site. He prefers Neighborgoods, which is free, to Craigslist or eBay because of its community-focus. “It’s fun to loan stuff to people you’ve never met before.”
Sabrina Hernandez, a student at San Francisco State University, charges $40 per night through Web site DogVacay, to take care of dogs in her apartment. She made an average of $1,200 per month this past fall. Hernandez takes all her classes on two days per week to keep other days free for dogs. Says she’d rather work DogVacay than go back to her old customer service job at Starbucks.
Adam Masonbrink quit his sales job in May and started traveling for weeks at a time, paying for trips by renting his apartment on Airbnb and giving car rides on Lyft when he’s in town. He also gives Vespa tours of San Francisco to travelers on Vayable. Making money from these sites also has given him time and resources to work on his new startup idea. Recently he was sitting on a beach in Belize while managing his rental requests on his phone. “I never thought it was possible to keep my apartment and make some money on the side.”
Ashley Diedrich, 27, of Hot Springs, Arkansas started using mobile app Poshmark to sell her clothes last May to make some extra cash after she had her baby. She started selling so many sweaters, tops, dresses and shoes that she decided to quit her job as a nurse and just sell on Poshmark. She sells her own clothes as well as her mother’s sister’s and aunt’s, along with any other sale items she buys around town that she can sell for a profit. She’s now sold thousands of items, and sells about 10 to 20 items per day. “It’s faster and better money doing this than being a nurse.”
Dylan Rogers, a Chicago sales executive, makes $1,000 a month renting his little-used BMW 6 series on RelayRides. He recently bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee and plans to also buy a Prius purely to rent, and estimates he could net $40,000 a year for his three vehicle “fleet.” Says Rogers: “It’s a great way to have a car without incurring the expense of a car. I get the luxury of a vehicle and not have to worry about paying for it.”
Nikhil Balaraman of San Francisco rents out his city bike on Liquid for $20 per day, making $50 or $100 per month. He doesn’t use the bike much and thought renting it out would be better than selling it so he can still use it occasionally. During busy times like the Outside Lands concert, he gets many requests. People use it when traveling to San Francisco for work or to take a ride to scenic Marin.