All our lives we’ve been taught to pursue financial success and acquire material possessions. We work long hours, often at jobs we hate, neglecting our family and friends, just to convince ourselves that we’re getting closer to these goals. Meanwhile we become buried under the burden of storing, maintaining, insuring and disposing of all of this stuff, when all we really wanted was access to the experience the stuff can provide.
Collaborative consumption is your ticket to getting off this resource-sucking, wallet-killing roller coaster. As an element of the rapidly growing sharing economy, collaborative consumption gives you access to the things, space, experiences, and skills you want without the burden of ownership. Through collaborative consumption services, we can access the the lifestyle we want without waste. By sharing things we have with each other, aka peer-to-peer sharing, we can restore a sense of community while lifting each other up.
EarthTechling has reported on different aspects of collaborative consumption, from bike sharing to online toy sharing services, but now we’re going even deeper. If you’ve ever wondered what the sharing economy is all about, here are 9 collaborative consumption services that are changing the world.
Arguably one of the most popular and successful collaborative consumption companies in the world, Airbnb allows you to rent a privately owned house, apartment, villa, or guest room with the same ease and security of a major hotel. With listings in 192 countries, it’s possible to use Airbnb almost anywhere. And it’s more than just sharing a room: Airbnb hosts take great pride in their spaces, often adding extra touches like breakfast or rides to the airport, and offering insider tips about the area.
2. Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing
We’ve reported on car sharing schemes like Zipcar in the past, but these corporate programs aren’t your only option when it comes to accessing vehicles on a short-term basis. Services like RelayRides, Getaround, Buzzcar, and Flightcar make it easy (and legal) to rent your own vehicle to neighbors as well as strangers. Studies have shown that car sharing schemes like these actually remove cars from the road, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in some cases, make the car owners a significant amount of extra income.
Experts predict that within the next few decades, location-independent professionals will comprise around 40 percent of the total workforce. Free from their cubicle prisons, these savvy self-starters crave collaboration, creativity, and most of all, community. A global movement, coworking focuses on shared workspaces available at the fraction of a solo office price. Each space has a different personality, and acts as a supportive community for motivated independents passionate about achieving success. Access some of the best resources for learning more about coworking, including a global directory of spaces, at Coworking.com.
4. Stuff Sharing/Swapping
Here’s a scenario that happens thousands of times a day: you need a tool for special project, let’s say a food dehydrator, so you go to the store and buy a new one. You make your beef jerky, and then put the dehydrator on a shelf where it sits for the next 8 months, gathering dust. Little did you know, your neighbor across the street already had a food dehydrator gathering dust in his kitchen cupboard. Too bad there wasn’t a way to know whether or not he’d be willing to lend it to you, or swap it for something you have that he wants. Well, thanks to the sharing economy, there are LOTS of service that exist to connect haves with have-nots. Check out online services like yerdle, Swappin.com, SwapAce.com, LeftoverSwap, Swap.com, U-Exchange, and Freecycle, which allow you to offer things you don’t need (like books, clothes, foods, and electronics) and claim things you want–in most cases for absolutely no charge.
>>KEEP READING for more exciting collaborative consumption services!
Learning a new skill, even if it’s just a hobby, can be life changing. The problem is finding enough time or money to really immerse yourself in a new topic, and making sure you choose the right teacher. Skillshare is a service that connects those with desirable skills with those who want to learn them. Offering online classes in everything from poster design and web development to cooking and audio mixing, Skillshare operates on your schedule, and guarantees that you’ll finish up the reasonably priced courses with a finished product you’ll be proud to show off.
Lest you think that collaborative consumption is only for little things, like a new novel or learning how to knit, I give you Getable.com (formerly Rentcycle). This company serves the $32B construction rental market. Using mobile tools designed for construction professionals and rental equipment providers, Getable makes it easy to borrow everything from building tools and equipment, party and events supplies to sports equipment.
Tired of circling your favorite restaurant 30 times before you can find a parking spot? Or having to pay $15 just to park at your favorite concert venue? Parkatmyhouse gives people an easy way to rent out their driveway or parking garage spots to commuters who desperately need them. The online interface allows you to search, book and pay for a parking space in under 5 minutes.
We’ve talked about car and bike sharing, but what if the only thing you really need is a ride from point A to point B? Ride sharing services are putting a 21st century spin on the old concept of car pooling, connecting complete strangers in an effort to make transportation cheap and easy for all of us. Search by available trips or submit a specific request based on your itinerary. In most cases, you only have to chip in a little gas money and you’ll probably make new friends along the way! Check out Ridejoy.com, Lyft.com, eRideshare.com, and Uber (recently backed by Google).
Ever looked down the barrel of a busy week and wished you could clone yourself? Or fantasized about having another set of hands? Thanks to the sharing economy, those dreams can come true. TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that helps people live smarter by outsourcing their errands. Simply offer up your task (from grocery shopping to making a delivery), then name your price or request bids. Over 15,000 background checked “TaskRabbits” will see your job and get the chance to offer their services. In some cases, people have turned doing errands into a full-time job! Similar services include: FancyHands, DoMyStuff, Gigwalk, and Agent Anything.