Sharing is caring: Are we moving toward a rent-my-anything travel economy?

2019-02-05 06:30 - Marisa Crous
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(PHOTO: iStock)

If the meteoric rise of Airbnb in South Africa has taught us anything, it's that we love a side-hustle. Many have of course made this a permanent business, renting out a room in their flat, the entire flat or even their couch - it's a sharing concept that has socially and financially resonated with people around the globe. 

READ: Uber scooter? Getting around on bike (and even on boat) with the taxi app when travelling abroad 

Today, you can co-share office space, taxi rides, files and more, all at the click of a button. It's mobile, it's fluid and fast. 

What's next: renting out your shoes? 

Need a few extra bucks this weekend, let me rent out my Ray-Bans for two days. 

We are entering a sphere where accessibility to goods and services has become almost more important to us than owning things. Have we become less and less attached to possessions, foregoing things for experiences? Experience someone else's living space in Paris, and work independently alongside others for a simulated workplace environment feel to up your own productivity. 

The latest rent-my-anything invention? RentMyRide, basically rent out your own car to others. Long or short-term, the service claims it'll cost you up to 40% less than traditional car rental companies.

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It's a service that could empower locals by giving them the tools for a low-touch small business and creating competition for conventional car rental companies by being a more affordable, paper-free and hassle-free online facilitator.

What about insurance? 

RentMyRide has partnered with "Paladin Insurance to offer third party insurance to cover damage to the other vehicles and property in the unlikely event of an accident. We will however from 1st of March offer comprehensive insurance on vehicles under a value of R100,000 but vehicles with a value of over R100,000 will need to be covered on comprehensive insurance with commercial use cover under 'pool driver' option." 

It's important to note that your car is only covered during periods that it's being rented out via this service. 

Would this sharing concept work locally?

Sharing platforms in the Netherlands and America, like Snappcar and Turo have paved the way with this successful concept. But will it have the same kind of success here?

"The goal was to disrupt traditional car rental companies by allowing individuals to support locals who can then earn an income by renting out their vehicles. The concept of peer-to-peer car sharing is a big business globally and growing," says Sebastian Brokmann, RentMyRide CEO. 

The difference in South Africa, however, is that with the exchange rate and weak rand, internationals might still opt to use a more traditional car rental company as the perception is that it's more reliable, and the difference paid is minimal.

And what about locals using this service? Sharing is caring, but what about unreliable cars, vast distances (often very remote) travelled in South Africa compared to, say, The Netherlands, and high levels of crime? It's a high-risk environment where a rent-my-anything travel economy is much harder to sustain than in smaller, more developed countries with a higher percentage of serviced cars and low crime rates. 

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This report has been updated to change the insurance details, which previously listed Outsurance as a partner provider.