Are you earning your share from the sharing economy?
"What's that all about?" as one radio host asked recently about the sharing economy. Put simply, it's peer-to-peer-based sharing of privately owned goods and services. Instead of hiring a car from Hertz or Budget, for example, you go to the relevant website and find a car to rent in your own suburb direct from the owner.
Anyone who owns a house, car, surfboard, bike, or other high-value household items, or who has services they could offer, can sell them by listing their assets or services on a peer-to-peer (P2P) website.
P2P sites have been around for well over a decade. Trade Me lets anyone become a second-hand dealer or online shopkeeper. Bookabach allows bach owners to let directly to holidaymakers. Each seller or provider is rated by their customers and trades on that reputation.
There has been an explosion of P2P sites overseas and we're slowly following suit.
Big overseas P2P websites such as Airbnb are moving in. EquipmentShare.com, which launches next month, allows contractors to hire out equipment or rent items they need. Home-grown sites are popping up too, but we're well behind other developed nations in P2P services, says PwC director of digital strategy and data Greg Doone, in part because we don't have the scale to make enough money.
P2P sites provide an easy way to make a bit of money on the side from our homes, cars and other high value assets, says Doone.
There are several ways to make money from your car, for example. You could, if it's a newish car, do a bit of Uber driving by night. Or you could offer your car for rent through YourDrive.co.nz, RoamRide.co.nz or Cityhop.co.nz by the hour or day.
Doone says Gen Y and millennials view and use assets differently than older generations. They will want to monetise their movie projectors, designer clothes, or spare rooms.
Kiwi entrepreneur Ollie Crush launched Tutorly after returning from an academic career in Britain.
The site is yet to hit critical mass, but it's well designed and easy to use. Tutors upload a picture of themselves and their academic credentials and, where appropriate, a background check. Parents and/or students can then check them out and decide whether to sign up.
Tutorly tutors build up feedback and customers can make a decision about who to use based on that reputation. Tutors offer either one-to-one tutoring or group lessons in anything from maths to Mandarin.
Johann Go is an Auckland university student by day but is earning up to $40 an hour through the site, selling his services to everyone from 12-year-olds to a 58-year-old.
Airbnb lets anyone let a spare room for an average New Zealand nightly rate of $96, which goes straight into the pockets of ordinary Kiwis, not multinational hotel chains.
On the Devonport peninsula alone, there are 151 Airbnb rentals, including two in my street. One family let their home for hundreds of dollars a night when they go away to their bach. They move precious items to the garage and watch the money roll in while they're at the beach.
Many guests prefer being in a private home to staying in a hotel or motel. Home owners who have built a good reputation are making more than $1000 a month from their spare bedroom.
"Superhosts" Jane and Paul's room in Devonport, for example, has been let more than 39 times and is charged out at $86 a night for one person, $137 for two or $600 a week.
Another clever home-grown service aimed at businesses is Sharedspace.co.nz.
Some homeowners let their sleepouts as offices instead of having Airbnb-style guests. The advantage of that is the office is only usually used during business hours.
And New Zealand has a variety of P2P money-lending sites such as Harmoney and Lending Crowd.
Another idea that hasn't hit here yet is the dog vacation business, through which dog owners can find someone to look after their pet while they're away.
In the United States there are sharing apps that allow people to rent their bicycles, surfboards and other sporting equipment; offer dining in their own home to paying patrons; or sell simple services such as constructing flat-pack furniture or window washing.
Bear in mind, though, that anyone who tries to avoid paying tax from their sharing economy jobs will get caught sooner or later.
And if you're making money from private assets, make sure your insurance company knows or you could invalidate your cover.