7 Business Ideas for the Sharing Economy

By April Maguire

4 min read

Share businesses—those with models based around the sharing economy—are on the rise both in the U.S. and around the world. Made up of peer-to-peer businesses, the share economy utilizes a model of collaborative consumption, in which individuals pay one another for the ability to access products or services for a short period of time.

Thanks to this model, owners can earn money by renting out items that would otherwise sit around their homes unused. Because share businesses cut out the presence of a middleman, consumers enjoy reduced prices while providers receive greater profits for their goods.

Interest in share businesses is growing at a rapid rate. According to a recent study, 68% of people would consider sharing their own assets to earn money, while 66% indicated that they would pay money to borrow others’ products or services. Still, entrepreneurs who hope to be successful in this arena need to find new and creative business ideas to attract buyers and sellers.

If you’re ready to share your toys, here are seven business ideas for opening a business in the sharing economy.

1. Jewelry and Attire

Is your closet full of clothes that no longer fit? Share businesses like Vinted.com allow their users to buy and sell their previously worn clothing, kind of like an online version of the neighborhood consignment boutique. While the site charges a small fee on each clothing sale, visitors can exchange attire with one another for no cost.

Not only will share clothing sites attract customers looking to clear out space in their closets for the next season’s purchases, but they will also appeal to college students and other fashion-savvy consumers who are on a budget.

2. Education

With college prices rising at a rapid rate, many aspiring students are looking for more affordable ways to sharpen their skills. Education share sites reflect a newer trend in collaborative consumption, letting users take classes in a variety of subjects ranging from cooking to learning a new language.

Skill sharing organizations are also great for workers looking to climb the ladder in their respective careers. Additionally, experts can earn money by showcasing their skills in a given arena through courses and web videos.

3. Sports Supplies

Participating in sporting activities, like skiing and surfing, may be a lot of fun, but can also be extremely costly. A growing trend in the collaborative consumption economy is renting out sports gear that would otherwise go unused.

Sites like Spinlister let users connect with equipment owners in their region. As an added bonus, the site offers equipment owners up to a $10,000 guarantee in the event that a piece of equipment is lost or stolen. Aspiring share business owners in the sports supply arena may want to keep this fact in mind when seeking financing for their companies.

4. Parking

Finding parking in the city can be both expensive and inconvenient. To address this pain point, parking businesses allow parking spot owners to rent out their unneeded spaces for cash. A share parking business can be especially lucrative for users located near transportation hubs such as airports and metro lines, but entrepreneurs should be aware that some municipalities are taking a dim view of the business model.

5. Errands and Housekeeping

With many Americans working longer hours, it’s easy for tasks like laundry and housecleaning to fall by the wayside. Fortunately, sites like TaskRabbit.com exist to take the burden off the overworked. From regular jobs like vacuuming and dusting to one-time organizational projects, share housekeeping businesses connect consumers with fully vetted and capable workers in their respective areas.

Additionally, many of these sites offer errand services, in which a user can find someone to pick up the dry cleaning or take her dog to the groomer.

6. B2B Businesses

Most people know that the share economy is revolutionizing the ways in which individual consumers use goods and services. However, they may not realize that collaborative consumption is also changing the B2B world.

Within the share economy, businesses are sharing everything from office space and furniture to phones and Xerox machines. B2B sharing is especially beneficial for startups and smaller businesses still trying to get off the ground.

7. Financial Lending

Many individuals struggle to secure the necessary financing for personal and business goals. A rising trend in the world of share businesses, financing companies like Lending Club connect borrowers with more affordable interest rates while allowing lenders to maximize their profits.

Because share-lending businesses lack the high administrative and marketing costs of traditional banks, price savings can be passed on to users. However, the lending platform still earns a healthy profit by charging transaction and servicing fees to borrowers and lenders.

Share businesses offer ordinary individuals the opportunity to access the goods and services they need at a reduced cost. If you’re thinking of starting a business in 2015, consider whether a collaborative consumption company may be right for you.

The share economy is just one important small business trend in 2015. If it isn’t the right trend for you, here are nine more trends that can take your business to the next level.

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Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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