Pocket $3,000 a Month from Stuff You Already Own

The Death of the Middleman

Written by Jimmy Mengel
Posted July 30, 2013

At this very moment, you may be sitting on a pile of money you didn't know you had...

With the rise of the peer-to-peer economy, many folks around the country have unlocked new ways to monetize assets that they had never even considered before.

Just as eBay made it possible for anyone with a computer to easily sell unwanted items to others, a number of new businesses are sprouting up that allow you to do the same thing — without having to actually sell anything.

Own a house? Turn it into a de facto hotel for the weekend while you're out of town and make a few hundred dollars.

Have an extra car? Transform it into a taxi for up to $100 a night.

Some people are already pocketing up to $3,000 a month of stuff they aren't even using.

So let's take a look at a few ways to squeeze cold, hard cash out of things you already own...

Rent Your Home

Airbnb is the most popular "sharing" website out there right now, and it's big business: The peer-to-peer rental market alone is worth $26 billion.

The San Francisco company was founded in 2008 and is already being used in 33,000 cities in 192 countries around the world. It has blown up faster than the founders could have ever expected...

"Tonight we have 140,000 people around the world staying in Airbnb rooms. Hilton has around 600,000 rooms. We will get up to 200,000 people per night by peak this summer," founder Brian Chesky told the New York Times.

Even the founder of eBay is impressed with the company's fast success. In an interview with Fortune, eBay CEO John Donahoe said, "Airbnb will be the next eBay. I firmly believe it."

Whether you have a house, an apartment, or even just a spare private room, you can rake in thousands by listing it on Airbnb. The average New York City Airbnb renter averages $21,000 a year! 

There's plenty of money to be made if you're willing to share your living space now and again. Here's how to get started...

First, visit the Airbnb website and create a profile with the details of your living arrangement. Post some flattering pictures of your place, list the price you would accept for a nightly or weekly rental, and let Airbnb's community of travelers come to you. Airbnb takes care of the monetary transaction and skims a mere 3% off your fee to set up the entire transaction.

If you are a bit sketched out by the concept of strangers living in your home (and I don't blame you) fear not: Airbnb allows you to communicate with potential renters beforehand so you can feel them out and decide whether or not you are comfortable with them. If you feel more secure with a vacationing European couple dwelling in your sacred space than you would be with, say, a group of college kids on a spring break trip, you have the power to set the rules and accept or deny guests, based on your comfort level.

The company also does background checks, and all reviews are publicly posted to ensure you don't have crazed maniacs posting up in your home.

If you aren't comfortable renting out your home, but still want to cash in on the sharing economy, keep an eye out for an Airbnb IPO in the coming year or so. In the meantime, you can start collecting checks right now by listing your home.

I used Airbnb last year on a trip to Austin, Texas, and couldn't have envisioned a better experience. My brother and I went down for the South by Southwest Festival, and were having some serious trouble finding an available hotel room that wasn't booked or wildly overpriced...

After checking out Airbnb's listing for just a couple minutes, I found a plethora of beautiful homes just minutes from the bustling downtown area. It was a fraction of the cost of a sterile hotel room — and boasted a full kitchen, rooftop deck, and even a wet bar!

Not only was the environment of the house more inviting than a hotel, but I was able to chat with the owner of the home before our trip. She gave us a wealth of information about local attractions and restaurants that we would not have taken advantage of had we opted for a traditional hotel stay, plus she had a bowl of fresh guacamole waiting for us when we arrived!

Our host told us that she usually rented her place out with Airbnb during big concerts and conferences, and pulled in enough to cover her mortgage during most months — and then some.

Transform Your Car into a Taxi

Take a look outside. Is your car sitting in your driveway or on the street, unused?

In a typical week, there are several evenings in which my car just stays parked outside my house...

That's what makes RelayRides so popular with drivers looking to turn their unused ride into straight cash.

We aren't talking about a few bucks here and there. Active RelayRides users rake in an average of $250 per month renting their vehicle just a few days a month. More active members easily pull in $1,000/month.

By listing your vehicle on their website, you'll be matched with transportation-challenged individuals ready to pay you to take your wheels for a quick spin. And you can do so comfortably, knowing that RelayRides takes care of all the insurance and road-side assistance, should anything go wrong with your vehicle while it's being rented.

Think about it... You could rent your car out while you're working during the day, or rent out your extra family car on weekends.

There are plenty of possibilities for you to turn your car into a moneymaking machine. Start pulling in cash now by listing your car at RelayRides.com.

Squeezing Money from Your Assets

All said and done, by making your assets available part time, you can add untold thousands to your bottom line each and every year.

If you simply use a few of these services, you could make over a thousand bucks a month with little extra effort.

And unlike taking a bet on the stock market, the sharing economy is a sure thing.

If you need some extra income and have a home or a vehicle, it's as simple as posting them online and seeing which offers roll in.

By setting consumers up with their peers, we may have finally killed the middleman. 


Jimmy Mengel

follow basic @mengeled on Twitter

Jimmy is a managing editor for Outsider Club and the investment director of several personal finance advisories, The Crow's Nest, and The Adventure Capitalist For more on Jimmy, check out his editor's page.

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