Looking to make a little extra money? The sharing economy is helping scores of Australians top up their finances.
Millions of Australians have been introduced to the sharing economy by ride and accommodation sharing services, with multiple examples of successful start-ups that have become household names around the globe in less than a decade.
As a nation, we’ve embraced the sharing concept with gusto. According to recent research, more than two thirds of us1 earn or spend money through online platforms that connect owners of underused assets with individuals willing to rent them.
The sharing model offers opportunities for people to establish side businesses and earn incomes in a flexible way.
It’s important to note that payments received via the sharing economy are assessable income and must be declared in your tax return2. You are, however, also able to claim deductions for related expenses. And if you’re planning to offer your driving services via ride-sharing platforms, you’ll need to have an ABN and register for GST, regardless of your turnover.
Mind pets for profit
Collectively Australians own 4.8 million dogs and 3.9 million cats3 and finding holiday care is a perennial problem for pet owners reluctant to entrust their furry friends to kennels and catteries. There are a variety of online services that offer a more personal alternative by linking owners with local pet-sitters. If you’re an animal lover who’d enjoy being a part-time pet ‘owner’, or you’re happy to welcome another set of paws into your menagerie, it may be a very relaxing and enjoyable way to earn extra money.
Cash in your camper
If you’re a recreational vehicle enthusiast, you’re likely to have spent significant dollars on your machine. There’s also a fair chance it sits on your driveway unused for several months of the year, while still costing you plenty in registration, insurance and maintenance. You may be able to recoup some of these costs by renting out your caravan, campervan, motorhome or camper trailer to others looking to hit the road.
Baby, you can drive my car
If you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Newcastle and have an underused car you’re not overly anxious about entrusting to others, you may be able to offset the costs of ownership by renting it out by the hour or day via a car-share site. These sites connect car owners with pre-vetted members in need of temporary wheels. Usually, vehicles must be less than 12 years old, in reasonable condition and have less than 200,000 kilometres on the clock. You’re able to set your own hourly and daily rates and will receive mileage per kilometre. If you’re out of town or off the road often, it’s an option to consider.
Space to spare
If you have extra space in your home, the sharing economy may be able to help you turn that to good use. There are a number of sites popping up for renting out storage and car parking spaces in sheds, garages, spare rooms and driveways. Hirers are looking for somewhere to store their excess goods (or park their cars), either short or long term. You can choose whether to accept bookings and decide on what you’ll be happy to store and how you’ll interact with renters. Rent is paid monthly and users are encouraged to check that the site offers insurance cover. Spaces are often free to list and renters pay a fee per transaction. It’s important to note that using part of your home to create an income can have capital gains tax4 implications, so you may wish to talk the idea through with your accountant or a licensed financial adviser before proceeding.
Odd jobs online
Fancy standing in line to buy the latest iPhone on behalf of a gadget tragic or organising a Game of Thrones-themed date night? They’re just two of the assignments that have been up for grabs on popular odd job platforms that allow individuals to bid for gigs in their area. Some of these sites are very popular – with millions of dollars, worth of work, being listed each month. They also provide plenty of opportunities to earn a dollar in more traditional ways – with everything from cleaning, gardening and handyman tasks to assembling flat-pack furniture, on offer.
1 Canstar, 2 in 3 Aussies use shared economy , February 2017
2 ATO, Income tax and GST in the sharing economy, January 2018
3 RSPCA, How many pets are there in Australia?, May 2018
4 ATO, Using your home to produce income, June 2018
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