Would you share your clothes with other people for money? Finding new ways of earning extra income using personal possessions is becoming popular, with new tech making it easier than ever to share items with others.
There are all sorts of ways that you can use apps or websites to make money from renting out belongings while you're not using them, and with people making an average of €2,500 extra per year, it's little surprise that 150 million people are expected to get involved over the next 12 months.
So what can you make money from? Here is a rundown of five top things people are lending out to earn cash according to experts from ING in their International Special Report on the Sharing Economy - and ways you can join in.
Renting out your spare room or - if you're lucky enough - holiday home is the most common way to make some extra cash from sharing your things. Sites such as Airbnb make it quick and easy to list your accommodation, taking only 15 minutes in total. All you need to do is visit airbnb.co.uk, sign up, and then click 'Become a Host'. You simply fill in a form with details about your space, including available dates, a photo and choose the way you want to be paid. People will then get in touch with you if they're interested so keep checking back or turn on push notifications if you're on mobile.
To check: Before starting, confirm local laws on homesharing with your landlord or local council - you may need to register with them before welcoming guests.
For those with a vast wardrobe, you can turn your clothes into cash. There are a number of services available, though one of the most popular is French site rentez-vous.com. You can sign up via Facebook, making things quick and convenient and they even provide a calculator to help you work out how much to charge. On top of that, they encourage you to upload photos of you wearing the item, which is a good excuse for an impromptu fashion show.
To check: Renters put down a security deposit to cover any damage, with amount taken based on expert assessment. Dry cleaning costs are also taken from renters after the lease ends.
You could earn money on your car when you're not using it, and help the environment at the same time with vehicle sharing services. One example is EasyJet's EasyCar Club, which allows you to post a listing and then matches you up with members who need a hirecar. The website takes away a lot of the hassle involved, with borrowers having verified identities, driving records and being part of a 'rating' system on-site. It's free to join by visiting carclub.easycar.com and clicking 'Add My Car'. You'll need to provide the model, mileage and insurance, as well as personal details too. Another popular ridesharing platform to check out is BlaBlaCar, which connects people who need to travel with drivers who have empty seats (in a similar way).
To check: If you're worried about insurance using ride sharing platforms, EasyCar and BlaBlaCar provide full cover, roadside assistance and recovery - none of which affects your existing insurance or no claims bonus.
Even everyday household items can be moneymakers - carpet cleaners, electric drills and food processors, can be lent to people who will need them once in a while, but don't want to splash out and buy them outright. One way to list household goods is to sign up with rentmyitems.com and post your appliances. As with the above you'll need a photo, description, postcode and price. Listing fees are low - around £1 per item for a month.
To check: You can add a security deposit to your listing, with the amount needed up to you. There is also a rating system in place to make sure the person borrowing your stuff is legit.
Cities across the UK offer bike hire schemes but why not challenge the 'Boris/Santander' bikes and list your own wheels to cycling enthusiasts? Spinlister.com is the biggest site and is again free to join - they just take a small percentage fee on each transaction. Just click 'List a Ride' on the homepage and add some details. You'll need to choose which type of bike, be it BMX or tandem that you own, list your height, add a photo and description, and then decide how much you want to charge. They also lend out surfboards and snowboards if that's what you're into.
To check: Spinlister guarantee the safety of your bike up to £6,000. The contract the rider signs means you're protected if your bike doesn't come back in one piece.
What are the pros and cons of getting involved in the sharing economy?
Pros: The ability to make money is a big enticement, but there are also environmental benefits. For instance, car sharing can help cut back on toxic vehicle emissions, while sharing other items helps with waste reduction as more of us look to pool unwanted or idle things rather than throwing them away.
Cons: Being house proud or cautious about sharing certain items could put you off getting involved and The ING International Special Report on the Sharing Economy found that some are also put off by insurance worries.
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