Airbnb, the best opportunity in the sharing economy

400Airbnb has changed the way the world travels since its launch in 2008. The company, which is now valued well into the billions, has helped homeowners across the globe become mini-hoteliers, allowing guests to stay overnight in an extra room, or take over their entire home for a set period of time.

To date, the company has helped book more than 160 million guests for its more than three million listings in 190 countries, according to Airbnb’s own statistics.

But just how much are all those hosts actually making? According to data crunched by the online lender Earnest and reported by Priceonomics, hosts on Airbnb are earning more than anyone else in the gig economy and are raking in an average of $924 a month.
The research shows  in the sharing economy Era, some may, at least over the course of a year. But the vast majority do not: about "85 percent of side-gig workers make less than $500 a month. And of all the side-gig platforms we examined, Airbnb hosts earn the most by far." In addition, this doesn’t factor in how many hours they work, which almost makes the finding pointless. If the average hours worked per month is 20, then $500 isn’t so bad. If it’s 160, the earning potential is even worse than it seems.

“Airbnb hosts make nearly three times as much as other workers,” Priceonomics reported. “Workers at the general task-service platform, TaskRabbit, rank second at $380 per month.” But as it noted, Airbnb earnings can range drastically, with some hosts making more than $10,000 per month, while others make less than $200.

As for those who drive for Lyft and Uber, they average $377 and $364 a month, respectively. Though by Earnest's calculations, 45 percent of Uber drivers make less than $100 a month.

It's not too surprising to find that people who have assets, in the form of real estate, are more able to capitalize on them and create additional streams of passive income. As the saying goes, it often takes money to make money. And, as famed investor Warren Buffett puts it, "if you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die." 

Some 84% of all gig economy workers make less than $500 per month—but in particular, workers at Getaround (98.3% under $500 per month), Fiverr (96.3%), and Etsy (95%) have especially high percentages of low-earners. Reasons for the low income could vary—some workers may be simply trying the platform, or put in very few hours.

Lyft, Taskrabbit, and Airbnb seem to beat this “84% under $500” average. It might be easy to look at this data and assume that gig economy workers are working at below market rates. After all, $500 per month is hardly a livable wage. For the industry, the key question is how many of these workers are utilizing these platforms to make a little extra cash as a side-gig versus trying to forage a full-time living.


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