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By Emilie McDonough
“We are facing a revolution in the way we think about ownership,” according to Rachel Botsman, author of the influential book What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. We currently live in an ownership society. The majority of Americans have a car (or two or three) in the driveway, a garage full of tools, and a closet stuffed with clothes. It is expensive to buy, insure, maintain a fleet of things, and with the rise of social networking and web technologies, more and more people are choosing to rent, swap, barter, trade, or share resources rather than to buy them.
The so-called collaborative consumption movement has really taken off over the last few years, and hundreds of companies have emerged to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing. In the sharing economy, owners and service providers make money, renters and clients save money, and the environment benefits because fewer resources are consumed. The following nine companies are some of the best in the collaborative consumption space at helping consumers save money:
Airbnb offers a compelling alternative to hotels. The site lists accommodations in more than 19,000 cities and 192 countries. Owners of apartments, houses, villas, and even castles, list their properties for rent on Airbnb and users can choose where, when, and what they would like to rent, while enjoying significant savings when compared to the cost of a hotel room.
Getaround eliminates the need to own a car, an item that is typically expensive both to buy and maintain. Members of Getaround can list their car on the site and interested parties can safely rent a car directly from the owner. Cars are available by the hour through the Getaround website or iPhone app and full car insurance is included.
Zimride reduces the need for people to own their own vehicle and helps reduce the cost of transportation. The site facilitates ride-sharing between friends, classmates, and co-workers. Users can book a ride to their desired destination with a simple click of the mouse (and can potentially make a friend in the bargain).
With thredUP, users can save money by buying gently used children’s clothing on the company’s website or can earn money by selling the clothes their children have outgrown to thredUP.
Fun2Rent connects owners of powersport and recreational vehicles with qualified renters. It is an easy, affordable way to rent ATVs, jet skis, boats, dirt bikes, and more close to home or in a popular vacation destination. Owners can also earn some extra cash by renting out vehicles that would otherwise sit idle in their garage.
Instead of booking an expensive package tour, more and more people are turning to Vayable for authentic trips, tours, and activities. Members from all over the world can offer an experience on the site, and travelers can book the experience of their choice, all while spending less money than many comparable offerings from tour companies.
People requiring their home cleaned, their dry cleaning delivered, or their errands run can save time and money by outsourcing these and other jobs through Taskrabbit. The site connects users who require a job done with a pre-vetted person in their area willing to complete the task reliably, quickly, and relatively inexpensively.
Parking fees at stadiums, airports, train stations, and in the city can be outrageous. Parkatmyhouse was created to lower parking fees by providing a platform for people around the country to rent out their parking space, garage, or driveway. Parking fees listed on the site are significantly lower than those charged by traditional parking venues.
Rather than purchasing a blender, lawn mower, or ladder that may be used once and then stored in the garage or closet for years, members of Neighborgoods can rent items directly from their neighbors when they need them. It is a great way to save money, garage/closet space, and planetary resources.