Making extra cash through peer-to-peer

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Being Ms Frugal, I am always looking for ways to make more money.  And here are some ideas for raking in some extra cash.  But is the result worth it?

Share your way to successCould you use what you’ve got…to make $1000s a month?

Peer-to-peer. What does that say to you? A fishing trip that starts at one jetty and ends at another? Or perhaps two Lords enjoying a little tête-à-tête?

Both wrong. But if you thought it had something to do with file sharing (remember the original idea behind Napster, anyone?) you’re getting close. These days, peer-to-peer sharing doesn’t just apply to album collections and dodgy copies of Photoshop. It’s all about sharing the things you own as well as your skills.

Stuff like your car, home and any spare elbow grease you may possess that can be converted to cash thanks to a growing trend in online sharing that’s earning certain users big bucks.

Is Airtasker just the job?

Consider sites such as Airtasker, for example. An Australian innovation that started just over two years ago to put willing workers in touch with folks requiring jobs such as small repairs, flat pack furniture assembly or removals. Just sign up with the site and wait for the jobs to come flooding in. So how much could you earn?

Founder Tim Fung recently told the Daily Telegraph “The average task run is $120. That equates to a little over $26 an hour. What a platform like this does is allows you to open up skills that might not have been considered ‘skills’ in the traditional sense.”

But, as always it’s a job all of its own working out who to believe. Conversely, it’s also been reported that last year, the average earnings of the Airtasker workforce of over 43,000 people was just $14.

Car next door worth a spin?

Peer-to-peer car sharing is another area that’s taking off, with pioneering sites such as Car Next Door allowing users to ‘borrow’ cars from real people in the community…at a price. It appears to be beneficial both ways, as those with spare wheels get to watch a bit of extra cash roll in, whilst canny motorists can rent a ride for a lot less than a high street rental outfit.

For example, via the site the keys to a 2005 Subaru Impreza in Bondi could be yours for just $6.00 an hour or $30.00 a day (plus a small charge per km), or how about a Holden Astra in the same location for just $35 a day? Nice rates that soon add up over a week, for example. But how much parks itself in your pocket if you offer your car on the site?

Generally, in the peer-to-peer car share market, the site takes between 25% and 40% of the total income, which covers borrower/renter insurance, operating expenses and roadside assistance. So, after they’ve taken their cut you’ll be looking at a little less. However, if you’d rather watch an unused vehicle reap rewards instead of rust, car sharing sites offer an easy way to earn a little extra. Be aware though, certain ones drive a hard bargain so be sure to thoroughly read the terms and conditions!

Room for spare cash?

A tried and tested way to earn a little extra is to rent out a room to a lodger. Change ‘room’ to ‘house’ and ‘lodger’ to ‘holidaymaker/businessperson/visitor’ and you’ve got the idea behind Airbnb; the most popular of a crop of websites that put users in touch with accommodation all around the world.

In essence, this site allows you to list your property and make it available to paying guests from around the world on times and dates you set.

Simple, yes? Well actually, no.

First off, you’d better be prepared to pack your bags and go elsewhere whilst strangers take over your home, as you’ll make a lot more if your presence isn’t part of the rental agreement.

Secondly, you’ll need to stay on the right side of the law concerning renting accommodation. Things like local tourism regulations that recently saw a company fined €30,000 for illegal tourist lets in Barcelona. Finally, you’ll need to makes sure your accommodation is spic and span before each booking to avoid nasty negative feedback.

If you can manage all the above, then the rewards can be worth it. With luxury Sydney penthouses currently listed on the site for around $150 per night and private rooms in the city advertised at around $40 per night, the earnings potential is certainly attractive.

So how much of a cut do Airbnb take? Here’s how it adds up on the site: It’s free to list, then they take 3% of each accepted reservation and guests pay them 6-12% of the booking fee.

So you could be looking at handing over around 10% of the swag – before you’ve paid for cleaning, washing and all the other little extras required to keep your accommodation up to the required standard.

Some people, like Jon Wheatley of Need/Want, have turned it into a business all of its own and bought apartments (his is in Las Vegas) to let out on Airbnb. Though his experience saw a yearly profit of $US13,608 in 2012, it also turned him into a fulltime landlord, with all the associated hassle.

How it all adds up

It seems there’s certainly a good financial incentive to share, and the choice of websites allowing us to do make it easy by taking over the publicity and financial transaction sides of things.  But as with everything in life, the easy buck may still stay temptingly beyond our reach unless we just happen to own a fleet of unused late model sports cars or empty beachfront property in Bondi. But that’s just the conclusion we’ve arrived at after examining the evidence. And after all, opinions are made for sharing, too.

This article was supplied by Fair Go Finance.  To find out more about their personal finance products, please visit their website.

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