Here's how to make money from the gig economy

Former teacher Jane Frazerhurst has a number of online ventures.
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Former teacher Jane Frazerhurst has a number of online ventures.

There would not be many people who have not heard of Uber, shaking up the taxi world, or Airbnb, which is changing the way we book accommodation.

But have you thought about how you might fit into the emerging gig economy, of which these companies are part?

If you have a steady full-time job, you might think these are concerns for other people. But there are more ways than ever to start building up a side income or to tap into a bit of extra cash when you need it.

Here are a few ways that you can start cashing in, today.

READ MORE: Shamubeel Eaqub: Job casualisation a global phenomenon

Your house

If you have a spare room you are not using, turn it into cash with a listing on Airbnb. You can rent out just a room or a whole house to travellers who might stay for a night or for many weeks.

Airbnb offers an online booking platform and charges a 3 per cent fee.

Other options include offering space to your local school for international exchange students needing accommodation or signing up with a system such as Kiwi Homestay that matches willing host families with students looking for a place to stay. Host families can earn $200 a week but usually provide meals.

You might be able to offer your house as a film or TV location - some location scouts accept submissions of properties to be considered.

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If you have space available that might suit a business, you can list it on a site such as Sharedspace, which deals in office space, locations for pop-up shops, storage space, meeting rooms, space for events and even boats for hire. Desk space in Eden Terrace, in Auckland, is listed at $500 a month.

Driving others

If you have some spare time, a car and a driver's licence, you might be able to make some money as an Uber driver.

Uber spokesman Caspar Nixon said the platform had 1500 drivers in New Zealand. It takes six days to sign up and costs $20 to go through the screening process.

Drivers must pass driving history and criminal background checks by the Ministry of Justice and NZTA.

All vehicles used must be from 2006 or newer, have at least private third-party property damage insurance, and have a warrant of fitness.

Drivers can pick and choose the hours they work but if you are free on Friday and Saturday nights, you will earn more money.

Drivers who are available up to 60 hours a week, including peak periods, can make more than $1500 a week.

Your car

If your car is sitting on the side of the road during the day, you can make some extra money by renting it out. MyCarYourRental.com launched in New Zealand in March. It is a platform that connects car owners with people who want to book a car.

Renters book cars and pay online and receive specific pick-up instructions once the booking is confirmed. The car is returned after use and both the renter and the car owner offer feedback in a model similar to Trade Me's.

The site promises income of up to $5000 a year to car owners but how much you make depends a lot on the price you can command for your car.

Car owners set their own price but must charge enough to cover the daily administration and insurance fee, which is a minimum of about $10 to $15 depending on the value of the vehicle.

Founder Henrik Stovring said there were 318 cars listed on his site so far, most in the bigger cities. There have been 35 bookings. He said he expected that to pick up as the summer months approached.

Your skills

If you are a graphic designer, copywriter, marketer, writer, virtual assistant, accountant or web developer, it is relatively easy to find projects online.

One of the main sites for web developers and writers is Freelancer.com. It lists hundreds of thousands of jobs at any one time - the main problem is that because willing workers bid for them, it can sometimes be a race to the bottom for what you get paid.

Another option is Fiverr, where there is no negotiation on price but rates start at US$5 (NZ$7.33)

Upwork is an option rated highly by some designers and which allows them to set their hourly rate. Workers pay 10 per cent of what they charge to the site. It says more than US$1 billion of work is placed through it every year.

Your time

Many people are starting online businesses as a way of getting some extra cash.

Social media makes it easier than ever to start selling Tupperware or other multi-level marketing products, such as Jamberry nails.

Others are selling handmade goods on sites such as Felt.co.nz, or starting starting blogs and websites related to specific interests.

Jane Frazerhurst runs The Mother Hood, an online community for mothers. She is also doing a sleep consultant course that she will use alongside it, working as a consultant for Workspace, a new shared work environment in Whangarei, and is organising a market for local mums in business.

Before having children, she had a career in education.

"I was a teacher and not prepared to go back to it while I had two young children. I love the flexibility of what I am doing and how I can juggle it around the children. I love the diversity of what I am doing and a lot of it crosses over," she said.

It had not been a deliberate decision to pursue an array of roles, but it was enjoyable.

"The first few weeks were hard but I have my head around the juggle now. The other work helps me to pay for how I want to develop my own business.

"Starting The Mother Hood introduced me to the world of social media and that is what ties them all together and how I have become involved in different projects," she said.

But be careful

If you are making money from your house or car, or running a business from home, you will need to let your insurance company know.

A spokeswoman from insurer IAG said drivers would not be covered by their normal vehicle insurance when they were carrying fare-paying passengers. 

"We are working on providing blanket cover to all Uber drivers who casually Uber but we're constrained by the incongruence between what Uber require as criteria for that category of driver and what the Government insist on requiring."

She said people who rented out their properties would usually find damage caused intentionally by guests was excluded.

"Some policies are able to be extended to provide some cover for intentional acts, vandalism or theft by tenants' but a sublimit is likely to apply. If the property is being used exclusively for a series of short term stays then a different policy may be needed."

If you set up a sideline business and earn more than $60,000 a year, you have to register for GST. Any amount you earn will also need to be taxed.

Talk to an accountant to make sure you are not in for a nasty surprise. 

 - Stuff

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