Airbnb, Uber, Airtasker… Is the share economy really worth it?

We hear about the benefits all the time such as flexibility and ways to make an income anytime, without any qualifications but is it really worth it? Some people are making a fortune and have even become Airbnb landlords, others are working for less than minimum wage. So how do you know if it is worth it and whether you should do it?

With so many options, the first thing to do is decide what will work for you. Airbnb is a great option to rent out a room, your house or offer experiences such as a cooking class or tour of your city. Uber, Ola, Taxify and Shebah are all companies you can drive for or Ubereats and Deliveroo enable you to make money delivering food. On Spacer you can rent out your space such as a garage or carport whereas Parkhound is simply for car spaces. Camplify allows you to rent out your caravan, rent your car out through Car Next Door or rent anything out through Car Shed. There’s even sites such as Tree Hut Village which enable you to rent out your baby gear!

Once you know what you can do, it’s time to decide if it’s worth it. In our research, we’ve found some are worth more than others.

Paula Pant, CEO of AffordAnything.com is known for being an Airbnb expert. Some of her rental properties are solely Airbnb properties, which she has been doing for years. In 2014, she experimented with it and made $19,000. In 2015 she made $30,000 and continues to increase her income through Airbnb which then invests. And she’s not the only one.

Numerous people around the world are choosing to rent a room or their whole house on Airbnb for extra cash. You do need to be immaculate, go the extra mile when it comes to providing things for your guests and do what you can to ensure a smooth stay for your guests. The response was overwhelming though, Airbnb was the number one option within the share economy for those we spoke with.

Various Uber drivers we spoke to had mixed opinions on driving in the share economy. Most made less than $10hr and it takes its toll on their car. Retirees and students loved it because it was super flexible for them and the money went to either living expenses or travel. Quite a few new Dads did it of an evening for extra income in the newborn stage while their wives were on maternity leave, stating they were saving the money to extend how long their wives could stay home. Overall though, it seemed driving was not that great when it came to actually making money. In fact, many said they made more delivering food rather than being a taxi.

As for the other options from Airtasker to Camplify, it was mixed. The more well known a share economy company is, the easier it was in some ways to make money from it. John rents his garage on Spacer for $240 a month and didn’t have to do anything for it. He used the $240 for extra curricular activities for his daughter. Spacer handling it all makes it easy and he simply gets the money in his account each month, he doesn’t even see the guy who parks in his garage.

Sophie loved Camplify because they had a little retro caravan they planned on doing something with but it just sat there. Through camplify she’s made $9,000 this year, after insurance and some costs to fix the caravan to make it ready to list. Currently, they are putting the extra money on their mortgage to redraw later for renovations.

Airtasker had some really weird requests and lots which were not worth it, but every now and then people said they scored a good job worth a few hundred. Those we spoke to using Airtasker said the money was usually just absorbed into their regular expenses and didn’t make a huge difference.

There are pros and cons to all of the share economy options. When deciding if it’s worth it for you ask yourself the following:

  • What can I do/what do I have available?
  • How comfortable am I with people using my space, car or stuff?
  • Do I want to deal with people?
  • How much time do I have?
  • What would I enjoy doing most?
  • How do I want to use the money? Will it be invested, pay off debt, saved for later or used to pay off the house?

Decide which one you want to do or even do more than one! Remember though, any side gig you do such as renting out a room or driving for Uber is classed as an income. Make sure you get financial advice before taking it on or you might find yourself paying out a lot of tax. Plus, there are things you will be able to claim and other financial considerations such as insurance to be aware of.