How to Earn Money in the Sharing Economy

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Sharing is the new normal. It’s not news that consumers are interested in capitalizing on the economic benefits a collaborative consumption marketplace offers.  According to a 2015 report by Vision Critical more than 110 million people in North America participated in the collaborative economy in the past year.

Accessibility, convenience, variety of selection and affordability are the driving factors of online sharing economies.

There are five key sharing markets: travel, automotive, finance, staffing and media streaming.  At Turo we’re operating at the intersection of travel and automotive. Since 2009 we’ve facilitated over a million rides and transactions across North America. We’re thrilled to have recently expanded into Canada and be the first to offer Canadians the chance to make coin off their vehicles in our peer-to-peer marketplace. If you’re curious about how to earn money in the sharing economy, below are some of our top tips.

Responsibility

In the peer-to-peer realm, maintaining a trustworthy reputation and proving your credibility is key to your profitability.  Being a flexible host and being knowledgeable about what you are sharing is crucial to securing good peer reviews. If you’re assuming the role of host, it’s your responsibility to learn as much as you can about how the company works to fulfill user expectations.

Most companies offer a breadth of resources for new members and hosts. At Turo this is one of our biggest priorities – educating our community about best practices and etiquette within the marketplace.

Communication

As a host you should provide transparency about the conditions of the asset or service you provide. Lay out the ground rules, quirks and advantages of what you’re offering. Give them the good, the bad and the ugly, in this way you’ll manage expectations and avoid miscommunication.

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Be prompt with your responses. Be polite and try to respond to each request you receive. Decline requests respectfully. Remember that your response rates and average response times are usually posted to your profile. Answering all questions and keeping communication flowing helps achieve a positive online reputation. Don’t cancel plans last minute and respect your customers time and money.

Authenticity 

The concierge and host role has taken on a whole new meaning with the rise of the sharing economy. If you’re renting your car or your space go the extra mile, act as a guide and inject personality into the transaction. In the case of car sharing experiences offer the traveler suggestions about your favorite places in town, give helpful maps or provide something as simple as a water bottle and snacks for the drive.

Airbnb hosts can implement personal touches by offering their guests free breakfast and language guides. Turo owners can make the renter’s experience more convenient by offering free delivery directly to the traveller. Members who practice humble gestures like this flourish within the sharing model.

Know your market

Whenever there is a large event that draws in a lot of people to any city such as the Pride Parade or Fourth of July holiday weekend the demand for cars, space, rooms and all sorts of services spikes. Take advantage of the amount of people entering the city by making sure your assets are available for tourists.

In the case of Turo, it’s especially important to ensure your car is available when there is a high demand during the holiday season and long weekend. Special occasions are the busiest times in the travel industry.  If you’re planning a vacation of your own, plan ahead to coordinate a booking for your car or space so you can make extra money when you’re out of town.

Quality

It’s common sense, but taking the time to make sure the space or asset is presentable and top notch for your customer ensures their experience is enjoyable and comfortable. Take the time to post high quality photos of your assets. First impressions are everything in the virtual marketplace. Photos secure the prospective renter’s peace of mind about the car’s credibility.

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The Turo data analytics team found listings with high quality photos make approximately 60 per cent more trip requests compared to the rest.

Be on the look out 

Keep an eye out for new ways to make money on your current assets. For example, car owners underestimate how much it costs to maintain ownership. Cars Direct reports, on average, a new car depreciates by 20 per cent as soon as it is used and then roughly loses its value by 15 per cent the years following. Turo members can generate profit off of their depreciating assets, in fact car owners are making on average $600 a month renting their vehicle on the platform.

Be on the hunt for new marketplaces to join in order to add value to your belongings and money to your pocket.

Recap

Many of the tips I provided above apply across different sectors in the sharing economy. We are in exciting times, the shifting landscape is creating value for consumers by bringing new competition to industries that might be stuck in outdated practices.

The personal touch makes all the difference when the business model is less about buying a product and more about sharing an experience.

Cedric Mathieu is the Director of Turo Canada.

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