Millennials rent services, assets to bring in extra cash

WASHINGTON – Tough economic times are spurring a new generation of entrepreneurs who are looking for innovative ways to make a few extra dollars.

Now, millennials are turning to a “sharing economy” or a “peer-to-peer economy,” according to The Economist. The trend is helping people like Silver Spring resident Mike Beard and others to utilize their own assets to bring in cash.

“Sharing economy applies to just about anything you can think of that you own that you want to rent out,” Beard says.

Beard and his wife use Airbnb, an online rental marketplace, to rent out rooms in their home to other people. They use the extra cash to pay their mortgage.

“They provided a way to suddenly have access to the entire world of the Internet in terms of possible renters,” Beard says.

Since 2008, Airbnb has had more than 4 million people access their services. It now has rooms in 30,000 cities in 192 different countries, according to information on its website.

“People have things sitting in their garage or things they use once a year, and suddenly now, with the Internet opening these things up, they can find somebody nearby that wants to rent that,” Beard says.

Other sites like Relay Ride and Task Rabbits let people rent cars or even someone’s special skills respectively.

WTOP’s Lori Lundin contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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