Welcome back to our series on the sharing economy. If you’re reading this, it means we didn’t scare you off with our first post introducing investors to the sharing economy.
This is good. Don’t be afraid of a little sharing.
In the first article, we introduced you to this growing billion dollar industry. Remember, we went from $15 billion in 2013 to what research suggests will be $330 billion by 2025. The sharing economy, we explained, is composed of a series of online platforms that provide access, usually paid, to underutilized assets.
Now it’s time to get into specific sharing economy tools that can help real estate investors make side income. Like Jeff from Montreal in the first article, you can use some of these tools as a complement to your real estate income.
Specifically for Jeff, these income platforms allowed him to quit his day job and focus on his real estate business. Even though his current cash flow didn’t cover his expenses, the income supplement from working in the sharing economy gave Jeff an extra cash cushion.
“Glenn, enough about Jeff,” my colleague Stephen tells me firmly.
I know this tone; it’s Stephen’s polite way of telling me to shut up. And he’s right.
OK, but there’s one more story I want to share with you.
Jessie and I have been emailing over the past few weeks. We met through my website and Jessie is a part-time real estate investor from Atlanta.
Jessie has been living with her friend on and off over the past six months while renting out her primary residence on Airbnb. You have my attention!
Jessie makes an average of $1,500 a month renting out her primary residence. But, because her friend helps her, Jessie pays her $500 a month. And, Jessie treats her friend to dinner out once a month.
Now I want to be Jessie’s friend.
Jessie also works two other part-time sharing economy jobs. Jessie is a math whiz and teaches Algebra to numerically challenged people, like me, on Wyzant and TakeLessons (more on this below). Jessie makes about $30 an hour and teaches four hours a week. This brings in $480 a month.
Finally, Jessie is an Uber driver on weekends when she isn’t out with friends. On average, Jessie works about eight hours a weekend and brings in $600 a month.
In all, Jessie’s part-time sharing economy endeavors bring in $2,080 a month. Couple that with her real estate cash flow, and Jessie can now afford to “retire” from her day job. Her idiot boss Frank won’t miss her. The feeling is mutual Frank!
You get the point right? You’re all smart people. You are on BiggerPockets after all. But what are some of the specific platforms that may apply to your situation? The answer is, as always, it depends on your lifestyle.
If you have a spare room, rent it out. If you have free hours in your day to Uber, Lyft, or deliver goods on PostMates, go for it. If you have a teachable skill like Jessie, put on your professor sweater. If you have a vehicle you can rent out, rent it!
What follows are some of our favorite sharing economy platforms.
And please, do us all a favor. If you currently work on a particular sharing economy platform, share your experience with us in the comments.
If there are any readers out there who live under a rock and still haven’t heard of ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft, then listen up.
Step 1: You need a ride. Step 2: Jessie has a car and some free time. Step 3: You both agree to a pre-arranged fare decided by the Uber or Lyft algorithm. Step 4: Jessie picks you up and takes you to your destination.
It’s a win-win scenario. You get your ride to WrestleMania XXXII, and Jessie gets your money. Best of all, you get to avoid the universally unpleasant experience of taking a conventional taxi. Don’t get me started.
“But Glenn,” my colleague Stephen interrupts, “Taxis are a regulated industry. Uber and Lyft are not. How do I know my Uber passenger or driver isn’t an ax murderer?”
Stephen has a lot to learn, but it’s a legitimate concern. Uber’s rating system of both drivers and riders is one of the strongest accountability mechanisms of our time. And this system is across all sharing economy platforms. This is a topic for another day. But know that the sharing economy isn’t the wild West; there is order and safety in the rating system.
Try it, you’ll see.
Ride-sharing platforms are a great way for anyone with a vehicle to make some extra cash, especially if you find you have time gaps in your day. Have a break in the afternoon between 1:00 and 3:00? Skip the nap or thumb twiddling. Turn on your Uber app, and make some money.
While chatting with Jessie, she noted that the only problem she ever encountered with her Uber driving was music selection. Jessie continued.
It was a crisp Friday evening in Atlanta. Jessie had just picked up her last fare of the evening.
These riders were a small group of entitled and reasonably intoxicated 20-year-olds heading back to their hotel. The ride went well, except the group was extremely disappointed that Jessie had no Taylor Swift to play for them. Jessie only got a four out of five-star review that evening.
Jessie’s Uber Lesson: Always have some Tay-Tay at the ready.
The most obvious money-making platform that many real estate investors have already cashed in on is Airbnb. For those who still haven’t discovered the internet, Airbnb is a home-sharing platform. Specifically, homeowners and travelers can list and book private residences all around the world.
Airbnb is available in over 34,000 cities across 190 countries. We’re still waiting for an Airbnb in Antarctica though.
While renter turnover is higher, cash flow is also typically higher. We experimented with Airbnb to see how it would compare against a long-term rental. Yes, it was more involving than a long-term rental. Yet, as a result, we were able to make two to three times as much money. But this is a story for another day.
You can not only rent out your entire home but a room as well. Have a basement apartment? Live in a downtown condo with a spare room? All these are great ways to make some extra money. How much money? Check out AirDNA for income projections for your particular location.
As real estate investors, we are all experts in assembly Ikea furniture. And, lucky for you, this is just one of the ways you can earn side income on the tasking platform TaskRabbit. OK, maybe not lucky for you, but the money is good.
On average, TaskRabbit Taskers make $40 an hour from cleaning, moving, yard work, online research, shopping, delivery, home repairs, handy work, the list goes on and on.
Are you an expert in your field? A knowledgeable know-it-all? A child genius? An idiot savant? If you are any of these (and even if not!), you might want to try your hand in the online learning industry.
This multi-billion dollar industry can be profitable for those who have a teachable niche. And by “teachable niche,” I don’t just mean traditional topics such as language, computers, math, or science — although these are good too.
Your teachable topic can be obscure such as public speaking, oyster cooking, Instagram, or juggling. Seriously, juggling.
Online learning platforms exist in many shapes and sizes, but one of the largest digital marketplaces for tutors and teachers is WyzAnt (or “wise ant”). WyzAnt boasts approximately 80,000 active tutors and over two million registered users.
WyzAnt tutors earn $45 an hour on average. With a bit of knowledge and hard work, you can turn the online learning industry into your own personal online earning industry. Maybe I should offer a tutoring service on making puns.
Similar to TaskRabbit, WeGoLook is a tasking service setting up patrons with “lookers.” In our case, a looker is not just someone who is dreamy; it’s someone who is making money.
WeGoLook lookers are dispatched to examine assets and verify claims made by sellers. Lookers will take pictures, videos, and collect specified data about the object or property and will send that to the potential buyer. The typical inspection object can be a car, home, or land.
For real estate investors, this is an amazing tool. You can make money by inspecting properties for remote buys. Likewise, if you are looking to buy a property remotely, WeGoLook is a great option.
Do you have a car, but don’t want the hassle of driving people around on Uber? Formerly known as RelayRides, Turo is a car-sharing platform where you can rent out your car to others for a fee.
You begin by listing your vehicle on the Turo platform with pictures and a description. Potential renters will then contact you about availability. Once your vehicle has been rented, you meet the renter to inspect the vehicle and provide keys. Simple as that.
So there you have it, several sharing economy options you can start today to make side income. The purpose of this post is to give you specific websites that you can register for now if you’re looking to supplement your income.
Jeff did it. Jessie did it, despite her poor choice in music. You can, too.
That’s all for now. Up next, we will be shifting from how to earn money to how to use the above platforms (and others) in your real estate business.
We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.
Before we go, please leave a comment on any sharing economy tools you use to earn money that has not been mentioned in this article. There are literally hundreds, and only our favorites are covered here.
Don’t forget to leave your comments below!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.