The rise of the “sharing economy” has created a budding and earnest group of micro-business owners. These mini-preneurs are your Airbnb hosts, your TaskRabbits, and your Uber drivers.

As this new frontier of peer-to-peer commerce grows, so does the list of apps that can help you take advantage of it. Here are 15 you should be aware of because they can save you time and money, or even help you make a few bucks of your own.

1. Sidecar

While Sidecar isn’t as well known as its well-funded ridesharing competition, it holds a distinction that neither Uber nor Lyft can claim: Winner of The Wall Street Journal’s 2014 review of transportation apps.

Download the Sidecar app and enter your preferences for car type, driver, fare, and ETA. You’ll pay less than you would for a cab and you have the advantage of knowing the price up front—something that’s always a bit of a mystery when you hop into a cab or even when you hail a ride on Lyft or Uber.

Background checks are required for all drivers and the company carries a $1 million liability policy in case there’s any trouble.

sidecar_screenshot0 

2. Yerdle 

Yerdle is a peer-to-peer second-hand store with a unique credit system for goods changing hands. You’ll find everything from toys and electronics to tools and camping gear.

Get items for free using Yerdle credits (currently Yerdle is giving people 250 credits for signing up), and earn more credits by giving away items you no longer want or need.

Local pick-up is free or you can have items shipped across the US. 

Yerdle

3. JustPark 

JustPark (formerly ParkAtMyHouse) aims to solve the problem of finding a parking space, circling the block, feeding the meter, worrying about moving your car, or paying too much for a parking space. It does this by leveraging vacant privately-owned parking spaces in your city. 

Spaces are available at rates varying by demand from anywhere from half an hour up to six months, and JustPark says the spots in their network average 60% less than street parking.

JustPark

4. Vayable

With Vayable, you can book a tour with a local expert in cities around the world. And on the flip-side, if you have a unique perspective to share about your city, you can sign up as a host and earn money showing people a fun local experience they wouldn’t get from an “official” tour guide.

Vayable

5. DogVacay 

Think Airbnb, but for dogs. DogVacay (and rival Rover) connects pet-owners with pet-sitters, avoiding the need to visit a traditional kennel or dog-boarding service. All prospective hosts go through an application process that includes reference checks and phone interviews.

Dog lovers can open their home to visiting pets and earn boarding fees ranging from $15 to $50 a night.

DogVacay on the App Store on iTunes

6. Spinlister 

Spinlister is the peer-to-peer marketplace for sports equipment rentals, like skis and snowboards, bikes, or surfboards.

(The common theme? Stuff you can ride.)

Since those items are generally expensive but in use only occasionally, it makes sense to rent instead of buy—or earn some money from the gear you already have instead of letting it collect dust in the garage.

Spinlister

7. LeftoverSwap

OK, maybe this whole sharing economy is going a little too far! LeftoverSwap aims to reduce food waste by connecting hungry neighbors with their overstuffed counterparts. Perhaps it will promote some new culinary adventures.

LeftoverSwap

8. HomeDine

Instead of eating out in some boring restaurant while you’re traveling, fire up the HomeDine app and see what’s cooking. The premise is to join in on a home-cooked meal anywhere in the world, meet new people, and share a unique cultural experience.

Homedine

9. Getaround

Getaround puts your car to use for you when you’re not driving it, or allows you to rent a car from someone in the Getaround network. You can set your desired rates and the company handles all the payment processing and insurance. 

On the customer side, you may be able to find a cheaper car rental by not going through a traditional agency like Hertz, or you can use the service to test drive a car you’ve always wanted.

getaround

10. Zaarly 

Zaarly allows users to create their own micro “stores” to sell goods or services to their peers. You’ll find everything from handyman services, iPhone repairs, even homemade apple pies.

While much of the network is local or hands-on, some providers are offering “virtual” services like phone consultations or online work.

Zaarly Hire the best home service experts on the App Store on iTunes

11. Lending Club 

Next time you’re in need of cash, don’t run to the bank for a loan; instead try Lending Club. Borrowers will find rates as a low as 6%, while lenders can invest in fractional ownership of a portfolio of peer-to-peer notes, and earn higher returns than savings accounts or CDs.

Lending Club

12. Fon 

Fon asks you to allow others to access your home WiFi network in exchange for getting free WiFi at any of the 8 million worldwide hotspots in Fon’s network. 

fon

13. Poshmark

Poshmark helps women monetize their closet and declutter at the same time. You can list gently used clothing items for sale in less than 60 seconds with their app, and also shop for new or pre-worn items at prices up to 70% off retail. 

Poshmark

14. Postmates

Postmates aims to “revolutionize urban logistics” by changing how local goods are acquired, delivered, and consumed. Employing an army of on-demand couriers (primarily on bikes, but sometimes in cars), the company promises quick, low cost delivery of any local item.

And of course if you know your city inside and out and would love to be the next bike messenger hero, Postmates could be a money-making opportunity for you.

Postmates

15. Instacart

The problem with groceries is you often have to go to the store to get them, which can be time-consuming. Instacart is the personal grocery shopping service that will deliver your grocery order to your door for a nominal fee.

I thought the delivery fees were actually pretty attractive, starting at $3.99 when you order $35 or more, but the company also marks up the cost of the actual food as well.

instacart

Featured photo credit: Vayable via gigaom.com

Read full content