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There are so many great things about the sharing economy. For me though, the number one advantage for every day Australians is the fact that it presents an unprecedented opportunity to save money and get a better deal.
This is because companies like Uber are disrupting industries that have always only had one or two key players. Until now, these key players have been able to charge whatever they like without competition. Now for the first time in history, their prices are being challenged by new companies who are able to provide the same service in a different, innovative and ultimately more affordable way.
Disruptive businesses can change entire industries for the better. I saw this happen in the mid 1980’s when industry super funds came in to play. For the first time ever, the interests of members were being prioritised as opposed to the interests of the superannuation funds. The bigger funds had no choice but to sit up, take notice and change their ways if they wanted to keep their members.
A little competition is always healthy so I say embrace the sharing economy and watch how it continues to change our world (and our bank balances) for the better.
Here are some of my favourite Sharing Economy companies that are working hard to get you a better deal:
A little bit of flack from the taxi industry hasn’t hindered Uber’s growth here in Australia. In fact, if anything I reckon it may have even helped Uber’s cause. Us Aussies love an underdog and we seem to have gotten behind Uber’s constant battle to beat ‘the man’ and provide a better and more affordable ride service for all of us.
Car Next Door
A lesser know car sharing service that is good for your back pocket, your community and the environment. Many people who live in the city leave their car at home in the garage during the working week and take public transport instead. Car Next Door gives you the opportunity to make money off your unused car by renting it out to people in your community. You make money and ultimately less people need to own a car which is hugely beneficial to our environment.
No need for an introduction, AirBnB is the largest accommodation provider in the world and yet they don’t own one single square metre of real estate! Not only does AirBnB provide an opportunity for property owners to rent out either their spare room or their entire property, it also opens up a whole host of new accommodation options that hotels ultimately have no choice but to compete with.
This is a business that exists purely to support people who rent their properties out on AirBnB and I reckon we’ll start to see more and more businesses like this popping up in the next year or so. Melbourne-based Urban Assistant provides cleaning and check in service to property owners/AirBnB renters who want some sort of visibility on who they let in to their house and don’t want the hassle of having to clean and prepare the house after a tenant has left.
Need your groceries picked up or your lawn mowed? There is someone out there willing to do it for you and probably for less money than you think. AirTasker is an online platform designed to connect you with that someone.
I love the concept behind Fiverr, a website where people list tasks or jobs they would be willing to do for five dollars. Here you can outsource anything from designing a logo for your new business to writing content for your LinkedIn profile.
I’m really excited to see how this Australian-born company goes. Hello.com.au is set to shake up the real estate industry by selling your house for a flat rate, rather working off the commission structure that regular real estate agents use. This means that no matter how much your house sells for, the amount you pay the agent stays the same (which of course means more money in your pocket)!
Home Hello (house cleaners)
It can be difficult to find a good house cleaner within your budget who you also trust with the keys to your home. Home Hello allows you to browse a whole range of cleaners in your area and read reviews by people who have used them in the past.
Also watch out for…shared economy lending and financial services
Peer-to-peer lending is more common overseas but it is starting to take off here in Australia. Recently launched, Direct Money is one of two players in Australia. They offer low interest rate personal loans that are funded by their growing list of ‘investors’, who are actually just regular people who earn money from their savings in the form of loan interest.