How innovative companies such as Storemates and eRated are helping to grow the sharing caring collaborative economy.

Posted on: 2 April 2015

Estimates show that the sharing economy could be worth $335bn by 2025

Even the Government wants to get involved in Unlocking the sharing economy and bringing the UK to the centre of the global sharing economy.

This is creating a nation of micro entrepreneurs – people want to make money from their existing assets, or get products and services cheaper via the sharing economy. At the same time, the mantra has changed from ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’ to ‘waste not, want not.’ Why is this?

In the last 10 years, technology has made it easier for people to buy, sell or rent all kinds of items to each other online. It’s often cheaper, more eco-friendly, more sustainable and involves interacting with their local community: Airbnb, Storemates and Liftshare are a few examples.

Many peer-to-peer rental groups were founded between 2008 and 2010, after the global financial crisis. People no longer wanted to ‘own’ or ‘consume’ things in the same way and wanted to make the most of existing resources to make extra income or save money.

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The trend is not just here in the UK – sharing communities are a global phenomenon, spreading across the world like wildfire – even though bartering and exchanging goods has been around since the dawn of time.

According to Mashable, in 2013, the global average of people willing to participate in sharing communities was between 66-68% and increasing exponentially.

The UK storage industry is booming

We know that 18-34 year olds are most likely to use storage facilities during major life changes – such as moving house, travelling abroad, moving overseas or during University holidays. Storage is an expensive but necessary facility at these times – which are often the times when budgets are the tightest.

The UK now has 30 million sq ft of storage to rent with 250,000 customers. In 2013, the total turnover of the industry was estimated at £385m. In a sharing economy, this money could be distributed amongst our families and friends rather than large corporations.

As an added bonus, if we eliminated the need for commercial storage units, this space could be used to ease the growing housing problem. In the City of London alone, where the population is 8.3 million, and real estate is of prime value – 8,590,000 sq ft is taken up by commercial storage unit

This is why disruptive sharing start ups such as Storemates are challenging big self storage corporations and offering a more environmentally friendly alternative. If we can convert 100 lofts to shared storage space, it would provide the same storage as a modest self-storage warehouse – with no carbon footprint.

The better alternative: Storemates: Trust Your Stuff with Mates

This is the time of year when we know plenty of students will be moving house, going overseas or making life changes that mean storage is necessary. With storage facilities charging outrageous prices for tiny spaces, students are almost priced out of the market.

Fortunately, most student areas are not just populated by students. In fact, many ‘non students’ are people who have garages, spare rooms and half-empty lofts – prime for storage. But unless you know someone, how can you get connected with these available spaces?

 

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Storemates is an online marketplace that connects people like you, who need space, with trusted people who have space. Finding space on Storemates is easy – we match your storage needs with a local who has space, and you pay less than half the price of self-storage. We manage payments so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

And in case you’re worried about safety, Storemates uses eRated, a free tool for Storemates users. eRated allows users to bring together all their social media and ecommerce identities to make sure people are who they say they are, and to tell you more about them (like how well they’ve behaved on Airbnb or what ebay sellers think of them).

On top of this, Storemates provides you with a £10,000 Storage Protection Guarantee against loss or damage and a water tight legal contract between you and your friendly storage provider.

It’s cheap, easy and safe. So before you head off for the summer sign up with Storemates – a mate for your stuff.

Trust your mates – join up with us today

Bally Sappal and Matthew Godwin

This article is jointly written by Bally Sappal, Head of Operations at Storemates, (RSA & Clore Social Fellow) and a Consultant with over 15 years of experience in the social sector in the UK and India, working with the most socially excluded and disadvantaged; and Matthew Godwin, Head of Partnerships and Content Marketing at eRated and a PhD Candidate in Public Policy at University College London.

Tags: Social Enterprise


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