Your Empty Garage Can Earn You Money
As collaborative consumption continues to grow, entrepreneurs are applying it to all sorts of goods and services normally supplied by traditional businesses. And while barriers to collaborative consumption remain, with each new business the concept becomes more familiar, and more appealing, to a mainstream audience.
ShareMyStorage seems like one of those ideas that is just made for collaborative consumption. After all, how many people have too much stuff and not enough space? How many people have more space than they need? And who really wants to pay exorbitant fees to traditional storage companies?
The UK-based ShareMyStorage allows users with an attic, a garage, a barn or a storage shed to connect with other users needing a place to store their stuff. The users agree on a price between themselves, and the site takes a small cut (a week's worth of rent) for facilitating the exchange. The trust factor—mentioned in my post about the barriers to collaborative consumption—is addressed with a review system that allows people to rate other users' credibility.
Besides making the best use of space available, ShareMyStorage claims it is also saving carbon emissions—allowing users to connect with storage facilities closer to where they actually need it. (Storage facilities are not quite as common in the UK as they are here in the States, and hence often involve a drive to the nearest large city.)
Fast Company's coEXIST has a short piece on ShareMyStorage, in which company founder Imran Azam explains the thinking behind his venture:
Azam says the site, which launched last year, can save storers up to 70% over commercial storage. But price isn’t the only attraction: people also want to be part of a community. "It’s a case of people coming together in financial adversity to bypass traditional services provided by businesses," he says. "They are aware that transacting with business has a cost on the environment. A site like this ticks a lot of boxes that businesses aren’t able to satisfy."
Azam got the idea for the site when his neighbor told him he couldn’t find nearby storage. Azam told him he could use his garage--and then wondered whether he could link up other people with surplus space and storage needs.
This could be one to watch out for.