A recent Pew survey showed that 72% of Americans have used at least one service available in the sharing economy. Are you getting your share of the sharing economy?
The Sharing Economy
The sharing economy is nothing new. We have been sharing assets since we have lived in groups. If we have an asset we aren’t using and someone else wants to use it, we can make a deal! Being connected by the internet has allowed the sharing economy to flourish as it has over the last decade by making it easier for those who have an asset and those who need an asset to find one another.
When people think of the sharing economy they think of shared rides or homes ala Uber or Airbnb but there are lots of things available in the sharing economy; camera equipment, camping gear, parking spaces. If you need it, someone has it to share.
You’re Missing Out
If you’re not part of the sharing economy, you’re missing out. The first time I went to Paris, I stayed in a great location in a crummy hotel. It was clean but it was small and cramped. The second time I went to Paris, I stayed in a great location in a great apartment.
We had an entire apartment all to ourselves and it was about $300 less expensive than that tiny, dark hotel. We got to feel less like tourists and more like temporary Parisians. Not only because we got to stay in an actual apartment that was much bigger than that tiny hotel room but because we got to shop at the outdoor neighborhood markets and cook a few meals as we had a full kitchen. A much more local experience and another saving because we didn’t have to eat out for every meal.
A Shift Change
The sharing economy has started to disrupt some industries that have had a stranglehold on consumers for decades. The Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York City fought hard to keep Uber out and it’s not hard to see why.
It’s nearly impossible to hail a cab around 4:00 in the afternoon. Apparently, the drivers are on shift change. This seems easy enough to solve, right? Just stagger the shift changes. But the TLC wouldn’t. Why not? Because they didn’t have to. There was not really a good alternative so people just put up with it.
Until a few years ago, New York City cabs only took cash! Who carries cash anymore? Often drivers wouldn’t have change.
Then Uber came along and it scared the TLC. People don’t want to stand the in the pouring rain or driving snow hoping to hail a cab. Or manage to flag one down only for the driver to refuse to take you to your destination because they just don’t feel like driving there or it’s close to the end of their shift and your trip will take too long (this is illegal by the way).
Who would deal with all this hassle when all you have to do to catch a ride is to tap an app on your phone? The TLC provided subpar service because they could. There was no competition. That has changed and they are feeling the pinch.
I have a friend in New York who kept a car, an expensive thing to do there. He didn’t even use it that much but when he had to have a car, to take his elderly mother to medical appointments, for example, he had to have a car because cabs were just not reliable. With the proliferation of ride-sharing services, he was able to give up the car and its many associated expenses.
More for Less
We always want better quality for the best price. That’s what you can get when you jump into the sharing economy. A full apartment in Paris for less than the cost of a hotel. An always reliable ride that you don’t have to park, pay for, maintain, or gas up. The old models just can’t compete!