The so-called sharing economy provides multiple opportunities for Kiwis to make money on the side.

I've read about part-time Uber drivers who pick up passengers to and from their regular day job in Auckland in order to pay for their petrol and parking, and plenty of empty-nesters rent the kids' old bedrooms on Airbnb.

The money from both offsets the cost of owning the homes and cars in the first place.
Local start-ups allow you to rent your car or caravan to travellers, offer car parking and rent out powered campervan parks at your home to pocket some income for largely passive work.

Kiwis looking for a slice of the pie can also use websites that connect sellers and buyers or borrowers and lenders. Trade Me has brought buyers and sellers together for nearly 20 years. It's an efficient, low-cost marketplace.


A Kiwi born and bred peer-to-peer site I've used successfully as a customer is It puts people needing trade work in touch with tradespeople who want the job, will turn up, quote competitively, and prize good feedback.

I also like the idea of Kwota, which allows people to post small jobs ranging from typing to gardening.

My favourites for earning from the sharing economy are:

• Airbnb: If you have a nicely decorated spare bedroom, sleepout or stand-alone dwelling, it's possible to leverage it for some tidy income. Another option is the home-grown Bookabach.

• Yourdrive and Mighway: Rent your car or motorhome to locals or travellers when you're not on the road.

• Pawshake: More and more paid pet sitters are signing up on this and similar websites and earning $20 to $40 a night for lodging other people's animals.

I say "so-called" sharing economy because there is a dark underbelly.

The very word sharing makes it sound so kind. The reality is it's about making money, not sharing and some even refer to "sharewashing". If you speak to the hosts and drivers they sometimes feel like widgets with no power. The multination providers drive down the prices locals earn and muscle out competition such as hotels, motels and regular taxi drivers.

Freelancing in the sharing economy has few protections in law.


Uber drivers complain of earning less than minimum wage, which some must, given Uber Eats delivers for $5 to $7. On that, they have to pay Uber as well as own and run a car. Airbnb pressures hosts to compete on price, which ultimately could prove a race to the bottom.

I see tasks such as typing and gardening posted on Kiwi sites that when you do the maths offer nowhere near what you might earn at a fast-food joint.

There are international sites such as Fiverr, where freelancers can pitch for work. But you're competing against people from low-wage economies who will, for example, create a website landing page for $70, or write 1000 words of content for $35.

Peer-to-peer lending is also growing slowly in New Zealand. The returns are higher than any investor would get from the bank.

Borrowers apply for loans and investors divvy their investment up between multiple loans at $25, $50 or more for each.

When the loan is filled with lots of small investments the company behind the website takes fees, from which it makes a profit, to manage the whole thing.

I've invested a small amount of money on these lending sites to see how they work.

The returns are good, but the investment has risk written all over it.

The money is lent largely to people who don't qualify for cheaper bank loans and as an investor you have no idea whether the borrowers have the capacity to repay the loans they're taking out.

A cynic would say it's finance-company lending dressed up in fancy marketing.

Of my first 20 loans made from late 2014, eight were churned, meaning in most cases the loan was closed early, slashing my interest earnings.

Six borrowers defaulted, wiping out the capital I had lent them. Three have repaid the loan and interest in full. Two are up-to-date in paying their loans, and one is in arrears.

So only five were successful. That was in good economic times.

Having said all of this, if you go in with your eyes open and play the system it's possible to supplement your income with your share of this new economy.