The renting economy and free stuff

We have heard about AirBNB and the way it is changing the accommodation industry by connecting individuals, but less well known is the growth in what’s called the ‘sharing economy’.

TVNZ’s Seven Sharp did a short piece on it recently, which showed how popular and diverse the sharing economy has become.

In general terms, the sharing economy involves individual owners offering their whatevers for rent to other individuals, usually through a connecting website.

The range of things to rent appears limitless. While some of the items that are offered overseas are not yet available here in oilyragaroa, it is inevitable that one day soon, almost anything you need, will be available for rent at a fraction of the purchase price.

In fact, it seems that pretty much anything is rentable: spare space to park a boat or caravan, machinery, boats, cars, campervans, clothes, pets, companionship, to name but a few.

Here are some examples that are available in New Zealand.

Private car rental. An example is This is how they describe their service. “Sign up. Create a Yourdrive account, it takes about 3 minutes. Uploading a profile photo builds trust with renters. Create a listing – write a brief description and upload photos of your car. You decide the price and availability. Let us know if you need a hand. Get a COF – a Certificate of Fitness replaces your WOF and is required for all rental cars. You’ll get one at VTNZ, it takes about 25 minutes. Receive requests – when we’ve approved your profile your car will be available for renters to request. You’ll be notified by email and SMS.”

The bottom line is you receive 60% of the income generated. Insurance and roadside support is taken care of for you. There you go – if you have a car that’s sitting around gathering dust and rust, you can turn the liability into a money spinner. There may be a good market if you have a car that’s a little unusual or a novelty.

Construction equipment. There’s even a website where those with under-utilised heavy machinery can rent out their gear for private hire. That’s great for those with machinery sitting around and provides an alternative to hire companies.

While not peer to peer consumerism, “Oh Rent Me” is a site that rents out designer dresses. This is what they say on their website. “We understand that buying designer brands is out of reach for most women, especially when you are only going to want to wear it once…our services offer a solution to this, we buy the latest designer fashion for you to rent at a fraction of the price allowing you to wear designer brands to your heart’s content and not have to worry about your bank account!”

Gurgl NZ is a similar concept, but it specialises in hiring children’s clothes. They operate it like a toy library but it’s a baby clothes library. They receive stock by donation (some of it still with the label on), then hire it out for a cheap as chips rate. That means you don’t have to pay full price for kids stuff that they grow out of in no time at all. Check them out on Facebook.

The internet has opened up a whole lot of new ways of doing things. You don’t need to own stuff nowadays when there are so many people that own the stuff already and are willing to rent it out. It’s the way of the future – as is getting back to basics, like growing your own fruit and vegetables, and doing things for yourself instead of sitting on the couch and paying others to do it for you.

Now to your letters. Maureen has written in with this comment. “I enter all the competitions that come my way. Have won several nice things – some I keep, others are given as presents.”

As it happens, frugal folk like a good competition when there’s something free to be had. VM from Levin writes, “If you have time, enter online competitions at Also if there’s a competition in the paper or on a chocolate wrapper enter it. I have won loads of stuff over the years – from prams to makeup, label clothing, and more. Lucky Break and That’s Life are very generous and have sent me cheques for photos I sent by email and forgot about! Not only do your children get published in a magazine, you get $50! My children have also won prizes from these magazines.” Go for it – it sounds like great fun … and how exciting it will be receiving the prizes in the post!