Collaborative consumption is a long term for a simple idea: sharing what you've got and making some money while you’re at it.
Whether you’re looking for cheap accommodation, someone to help with the housework, or even a hassle-free four-legged friend, chances are that someone out there is willing to share their home, time and assets to make your wish come true.
With companies such as AirBnB and Uber becoming household names, there’s no doubt that the so-called sharing economy is a popular and profitable option - both for those offering goods and services, and those looking to save money.
We take a look at why the idea is catching on across the globe, as well as how you can benefit from it!
Benefits for sharersDo you have a bed going begging? Perhaps a grown-up child’s room or an often-unused annex? Or perhaps the car that you bought for the work commute sits idle for 20hrs a day?
Collaborative consumption is based on a desire to monetise assets that you already own, allowing visitors to crash in your son’s room for the weekend, or pick up your car from the office car park via HiyaCar.
In essence, you’re able to make a regular income without any extra investment. Of course, the sharing economy can also be taken into consideration when making a new purchase. On the fence about buying a holiday cottage by the sea? Pop it on AirBnB whenever you’re not using it, and it could pay for itself within a few years!
Collaborative consumption also offers a brilliant way for you to share your skills - perhaps you’re a dab hand at DIY or a fantastic florist who fancies a little extra cash alongside the day job. Simply list your availability on a service such as TaskRabbit and take on tasks whenever, and for however much, you choose.
Benefits for borrowers
Key to peer-sharing’s rise in popularity is the realisation that having access to an asset often makes more sense than buying one of your own.
Take a pet, for example. While companionship, cuddles and long walks may motivate you to buy a dog, the reality may be that you don’t have the time, money or space to be a dog owner.
Enter online service Borrow my Doggy. By signing up and sharing details about your preferences and availability, you can be matched with the perfect four-legged friend for daily walks or weekend stays. You get a new best friend, the owner makes a little extra money, and the dog gets attention when his owners are busy. It’s a win-win situation!
This logic can be extended to all aspects of your life, from vehicles to appliances to property. If there’s something you need or want, but which you can’t afford or wouldn’t benefit from regularly enough to buy, chances are someone out there’s willing to share it with you.
Risk and community
Of course, the sharing process isn’t without its risks - particularly when it comes to working with strangers. You may be reluctant to relinquish your annex to someone you’ve never met, or concerned about getting in a stranger’s car.
That’s where the collaborative consumption community comes in, with the reviews of fellow sharers helping you to select services you can trust.
Once you’ve enjoyed an AirBnB stay, you and your host will both be required to review the experience. As hosts are more likely to accept guests with higher ratings, and guests are more likely to stay with highly-rated hosts, this system motivates both parties to be honest, transparent and respectful throughout the sharing experience.
Likewise, the Uber ride-sharing app allows drivers and passengers to instantly give a star rating at the tap of a button. If either party slips below a certain rating, they’ll be removed from the system by the company, ensuring the safety of future users.
The need to borrow and share has always existed, but web services and mobile apps have turned that desire into an entire industry, giving the power back to the people when it comes to booking trips, getting chores done, or making a little extra cash.
Get on board the sharing train today with high-speed broadband that will help you connect with sharers and borrowers across the globe!