Worried about money and finances? With talk of a possible recession, stock market worries and concerns around rising inflation, it’s no wonder people are feeling a little pinched right about now. Maybe you’re even thinking of picking up a side hustle – or two – to help make ends meet.
Before you dash out the door to deliver food or shuttle people around in your car, consider the latest peer-to-peer rental craze. Think the “Airbnb of…” just about anything.
There are now apps and sites to rent out all kinds of stuff from lawnmowers and camping gear – to boats, gardens, swimming pools and even chicken coops! The latest apps make it easy to rent out stuff you’re not using anyway. You might be shocked at how much money you can make – without spending too much time or effort.
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Get cash out of your camper
According to industry statistics, the average RV owner only uses their rig three or four weeks out of the year. If you own a motorhome, camper van or travel trailer, renting it out when you’re not using it can be pretty darn lucrative. According to peer-to-peer RV rental-site Outdoorsy, several RV owners on its platform make around $50,000 a year – and even more.
This time last year, my family loaded up into a Sprinter van towing a little tear-drop travel trailer and took off across the country for a pandemic-related #vanlife adventure. Now, it’s mainly sitting around collecting dust, so we decided to give renting it out a try.
I’ve been on the other side and rented RVs from Outdoorsy a half dozen times since it first launched in 2015 and it’s been a great experience. But this is the first time I’m the person doing the renting-out. Honestly? It’s been a whole lot easier than I expected.
The company guides you through the ropes online. Owners set the rates and rules and can choose things like smoking, pets or out-of-state trips. You can even specify how many miles you’re willing to let the renter put on during their adventure with your gear.
Renters pay through the app and you get your cash within a day of your rental being returned.
Whether you own a modest travel trailer like we do or a massive RV, every rental is covered up to $1 million in liability and renters get free 24/7 roadside assistance, should they need it. Outdoorsy and others like it typically deduct a 20% to 25% commission for finding renters and handling all that middleman stuff.
Cars, trucks and even bikes!
What’s great about sites like Outdoorsy or other peer-to-peer car rental sites like Turo is that the renters are verified by the company, so you know they’re legit. Turo’s another site I rent from quite a bit – it has completely replaced car rental companies for me – and I’m now even considering offering my old Audi for rent through it.
I recently rented a Ford Edge on a work trip to San Francisco. It could not have gone more smoothly. Users log in to the app, can see your auto listing by location and can book it with specific pickup and drop-off times. Turo covers your car for up to $750,000 if anything goes wrong and the company says the average vehicle brings up over $10,000 per year through rentals.
There’s also a market for bike rentals. A site called Spinlister lets anyone decide on a rate and list it for daily, weekly or even monthly rentals. I just found out that my cousin-in-law, who lives in San Diego, lists two bikes he bought for his sons on the app and charges around $40/day or $200/week. (The sons are grown and flown and the bikes were collecting dust in his garage.) Of that, Spinlister takes 17.5% and handles all the financial transactions and verifies both the lister and renter via cellphone and credit card. For the renter, optional damage and theft insurance is available.
Share your garden
Okay, renting expensive items like RVs brings in the cash, but what if all you have is, well, empty space? If that empty space has grass and dirt beneath it, you can rent that out, too.
Shared Earth is a cooperative gardening community that matches green thumbs with landowners who don’t have the time or skills to turn their dirt into a lush garden. The landowner provides the space, water and perhaps some tools and the gardener does all the work. The produce is then split between the landowner and gardener – generally 50/50 – but it’s all negotiable.
This could be a great way to meet new people in your community while also getting some fresh air and exercise: two things many of us don’t get enough of.
Rent out your kitchen for cooking classes
Homeowners who have envy-worthy pads but don’t necessarily want to rent out their entire home or rooms on Airbnb or others, might be more comfortable showcasing their kitchens instead. Cozymeal lets you do just that. Cozymeal partners conduct cooking classes and provide private dining experiences – but lack the actual space to do it all in. If you have a world-class kitchen and dining area in your home (lucky you!) you can sign up to rent your venue for use by professional chefs and their clientele.
Make your swimming pool earn money
Have you seen how expensive chlorine is these days? Help defray the cost by renting out your swimming pool. You can rent it by the hour to guests who just want to cool off on a hot summer day or for larger parties and events. You set the days and hours that your pool is available and you can also control how many people can use it at a time.
The best part? You don’t even have to be home when Swimply members use your pool. They handle all the logistics and you just sit back, relax and wait for the cash to come in. Some pools rent for upwards of $100 per hour! If your pool is in good shape, it’s just waiting to make you some serious money. Swimply also recently expanded to more spaces, including sports courts, large backyards, home gyms and music studios, to allow “more people with awesome spaces to share them with others.”
Let your yard go to the dogs
Some dog owners live in apartments or condos or have dogs that don’t do well at dog parks but still need off-leash time. Others have little escape artists who need to be in a fenced area. That’s where Sniffspot comes in. You rent out your yard by the hour and they get the space all to themselves. The site says owners make up to $1,500 a month renting out their yards.
Check out the fine print first
If you’ve got stuff or space, that you’re not using, why not put it to work and start earning some extra cash? With just a little bit of effort, you can stress less about your finances and have a little fun in the process. Who knows, maybe you’ll even become an entrepreneur!
But before you sign up with any of these services, be sure to research their liability policies and what insurance they provide on your behalf. For instance, Swimply offers one million of liability insurance and $10,000 of property damage protection, but you’ll want to check with your insurance, too. After all, If something happens, you don’t want to find out after the fact that you forfeited coverage by renting out your property without them knowing about it.
Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech columnist. Email her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to rent out your car, boat, pool, kitchen, camping gear or garden