Sharing in the USA: Sharing Economy Websites

The sharing economy is sweeping the United States by storm. Rather than purchasing something you would rarely use, the sharing economy involves collaborative consumption to get the same job done. Some of these transactions include barter, some a monetary transaction, and others are entirely free. Below we take a look at some very popular categories, some websites in each category, and our opinions on the picks.

Room Sharing

Room sharing websites normally involve an individual who has extra space in their home, offering it to another to use. Rather than stay in a hotel, an individual can save money, as well as connect with others on a personal level using room sharing websites.

Airbnb is an example of a room sharing website that involves a monetary transaction. Someone who has an extra room, or would like to rent out their own room while on vacation, can now do so very easily. These listings can be rented for a wide array of timeframes and can often be a decent amount cheaper and more fun than local hotel chains.

Couchsurfing is a perfect example of a room sharing site that is entirely free. Rather than renting out a room, individuals with a spare couch or sleeping space will list the area to verified members on Couchsurfing.com. This is normally great for those passing through areas on a budget. Make sure you sign up before leaving since it can take a week or so to verify your account.

Warm Showers is very similar to Couchsurfing but for cyclists.

Roomorama – Professionally managed properties

BedyCasa – Similar to Airbnb

Wimdu – Similar to Airbnb

Ride Sharing

Ride sharing comes in all different forms, as you can imagine. Some are individuals offering rides, some are company-owned shared cars, and others are unique in their own right.

Car2Go is a company that owns all of the cars in its fleet, but offers its users a monthly fee to rent them whenever they choose. Car2Go is in cities around the United States and is home to North-America’s only all-electric carsharing fleet.

Lyft is an app that essentially allows you to be your own taxi driver. Once registered through their site, and after you put a big pink mustache on the front of your car, you can now drive individuals to their destination while making some money. And as someone needing to get from point A to point B, Lyft is generally a much cheaper alternative to large taxi services.

Sidecar – Similar to Lyft with its own benefits

Spinlister – List your bicycle for rent, or rent someone’s spinlister bike. It can also often include other items such as snowboards and skis.

Zipcar – Similar to Car2Go with its own fleet of vehicles.

Getaround – List your own car to be rented from another Getaround user.

Uber – Hire a professional driver.

Stuff Sharing

A category we made up for the sake of fitting in some important sharing websites. Some websites are specific to sharing certain items while others are very general in their listings.

Yerdle is a cool experiment where individuals get to use “yerdle credits” to purchase things for no monetary cost. Everyone receives 250 credits upon signing up and they can then use those credits to purchase items from other yerdle users. These credits are given for free and you can only earn more credits by giving away things you don’t need. This way, everyone is inspired to get rid of things they don’t need and allow someone else to get good use from them. One man’s trash is another’s treasure.

Craigslist – A pioneer in the sharing economy world. List almost anything you can think of including used items, room rentals, job listings, community get togethers, and many other areas.

eBay – One of the first ways for individuals to connect with one another to sell their products in a peer-to-peer fashion on the internet.

Chegg – Rent and buy used textbooks from other Chegg students and former students.

Snapgoods – Currently in the middle of relaunching, this site is a way to buy, sell, and share items easily in a peer-to-peer fashion.

Boatbound – “Pier-to-pier” boat rentals.

Desktime – Office space sharing

Service Sharing

This category is for sites that offer a way for individuals to connect with one another who need a specific service completed.

Vayable allows you to get a unique tour of your travel destination from locals who can show you exactly what you are looking for – and at a lot cheaper rate than professional tour guide services.

TaskRabbit is a way to rent someone’s free time. If you have some tasks that you need to be done but don’t want to hire a personal assistant, trust in your fellow neighbors by using TaskRabbit and save a lot of time and money.

oDesk – Hire freelancers

Meal Sharing – Home cooked meals from around the world

Fon – WiFi sharing website. All you need to do to get access to their large free WiFi network is to add your own home wireless network to their grid for other Fon users to access.

EatWith – allows individuals to host others for home cooked meal.

Skillshare – Host and join classes on many different topics hosted by other Skillshare members.

Park Sharing

Ever had a hard time parking? Have an amazing extra spot right next to the beach, stadium or airport? Park sharing sites might be for you.

FlightCar is a great example of a way you can get free airport parking. This website allows you to park your car for free-yes free-at an airport by renting out your car while you are out on vacation. Often cars are not even rented, but if yours is, you can actually make some money on your vacation. All of this while being assured you will come back to a clean, fully insured vehicle.

Park Circa – List your parking spot, find a spot.

Pet Sitting

A little less obvious but often individuals have room to take care of your furry loved ones while you are on vacation. Finding a pet sitter can be extremely difficult and expensive but some of these sites make it easy by connecting with individuals directly. You also often get a more friendly fun environment for your pet than leaving them in a kennel.

DogVacay is a way to find a great dog sitter in your area.

PetSitters is another way to find a sitter for all types of animals.

Rover is another site for dog boarding.

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There are new sharing economy and collaborative consumption websites and ideas being created everyday. Individuals strapped on cash or worried about their impact on the world are changing the way we look at how goods and services are delivered to consumers. Waste, over-consumption and massively overpriced goods will hopefully all be reduced by this growing movement.

-Sean Aranda