photo credit: iStock, Thinkstock, Getty Images

photo credit: iStock, Thinkstock, Getty Images


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Loan Ranger

It sounds strange, but being generous can make you more money! How? People are willing to pay to borrow certain possessions you don’t need at the moment. If you’re concerned about getting your goods back in their original pristine shape, breathe easy. The following sites make loaning fuss-free. In fact, some of the items aren’t physical belongings at all! Click to see seven things that are worth lending and the best ways to go about it.

1. Your Car

This is the wheel deal: If you rarely use your car during the week or on weekends or have an extra auto sitting in the garage, rent it out through a peer-to-peer car-sharing service. And don’t worry about insurance—national sites like RelayRides and Getaround take care of that. Just list your car’s availability for free, decide on an hourly rate and accept rental requests that work with your schedule. You get to pocket 60% of the fee, and you can make up to $600 each month through either site.

2. Your Time

Make up to $5,000 a month handling personal assistant–type tasks, from picking up groceries to cleaning a bathtub, through TaskRabbit. Fill out an application, complete a video interview and pass a background check (all at no cost to you) before creating your profile. Decide how much your time is worth, and then bid on specific tasks posted on the site. You’ll be contacted if you’re hired. Similar free services include Zaarly and the iPhone app Gigwalk.

3. Your Home

Rent your house or apartment when you’re on vacation, even for a weekend, via Airbnb or VRBO. If your town’s a tourist magnet, expect big bucks from your visitors. For example, a two-bedroom apartment in the New York City borough of Brooklyn rents for $200 a night, less Airbnb’s 3% fee. On VRBO, a four-bedroom house outside of Boston in Winchester, MA, earns $1,400 a week, although the site charges an annual listing fee of $349. Your home doesn’t actually have to be empty to charge someone to sleep there! Rent out your college student’s bedroom while he’s at school through Roomorama; a private room in San Diego may bring in $66/night. And it’s free to list; guests pay a booking fee to the site. You decide how you pass off keys and whether you request a security deposit, but Airbnb generally provides up to $1 million to cover damages.

4. Your Knowledge

Get paid to share insider info with curious travelers through Vayable. Lead them on adventures in your neighborhood, such as a food tour or a boutique shopping experience. It’s free to list your services; the company makes its 15% commission only when someone books, and you get paid via direct deposit. What should you charge? A young advertising associate in Washington, DC, is asking for $25 a person for a three-hour cupcake-shop crawl with one cupcake. Pretty sweet.

5. Your Gear

Don’t feel bad about that never-played guitar or that unused camping equipment—put it to work through sites like Loanables, Snapgoods, Zilok or Rentalic. There’s no limit to what you can rent out or how much you can make—it depends on the demand and your rate. For instance, an LCD projector in Round Rock, TX, is earning someone $80 per month on Loanables. A snowboard owner in Wheaton, IL, is making $30 a weekend through Zilok. Most sites let you list for free, but they take a small commission depending on the total transaction amount, which you should consider when setting your price. Since delivering goods is up to you, stick with borrowers in your area.

6. Your Driveway

If you have an empty place to park a car, you could be sitting on precious real estate. Crowded cities lack street parking, and more areas than ever require residential permits. That’s why drivers are willing to pay to park near public transportation hubs, urban centers and stadiums. List your spot for free on ParkingSpotter for a day, a week or a month, or just during a popular event. Although you decide what to charge, the site offers guidelines. The average daily parking rate in Miami, for example, is $14.75; in Denver it’s $16.

7. Yourself

Rentafriend allows you to make money by accompanying people to restaurants, museums, concerts, ballroom dancing classes and anywhere else. It’s not an escort service or a dating website—simply a place for people to make platonic connections. There’s no cost to you; all you need is a friendly face and a sparkling personality to be a good companion. Rates are between $20 and $50 an hour. You may even get a free meal out of it—or at least a good story. For your safety, always meet new friends in public places, and never get in a car with someone you don’t know.

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