Taking advantage of the sharing economy can be a great way for retirees to generate some extra income. You've probably heard of Uber, the taxi service, right? All you need is your own car and a smartphone to get started as a driver.
But Uber is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other ways to bring in money on the side. What they have in common is the Internet: through mobile apps and Web sites, ordinary people bypass traditional businesses to borrow, lend and trade goods and services. Often associated with young hipsters looking to save a buck, the sharing economy is attracting many older folks, too.
Say you're good with kids…or getting things organized…or fixing furniture. You could try TaskRabbit, which connects you with people who need specific services done such as babysitting, packing or handyman chores. You get paid online, so no cash ever needs to change hands. TaskRabbit charges a 20% fee in exchange for processing payments and matching those who need help with those offering help.
If you've got a spare bedroom or guest cottage, why not use it to generate extra income? That's the idea behind Airbnb. Airbnb handles the online billing and takes a 3% cut. Hosts are paid 24 hours after their guests arrive, a delay designed to protect visitors, who can get a refund if they don't like the accommodations. Airbnb will also reimburse hosts for up to $1 million in damage. For some, it's a way to scratch that itch of opening up a bed and breakfast with much less commitment. And many retirees enjoy making ongoing connections with the people who come through their houses.
For those who prefer furrier guests, Dogvacay, which connects pet sitters with pet owners, might be interesting. Dogvacay backs up sitters with a 24-hour hotline for help, as well as insurance for both hosts and pet owners for its 15% cut.
There's a service that's a match for just about anyone, whether retired or still on the job. To learn more, check out even more ways retirees can earn extra cash in the sharing economy.