For most of us owning a car is a money pit from the moment we drive it off the lot.
Unless of course you’re embracing new technology like Melbourne mum-of-two Emma Sugg.
Realising the second family car was sitting in the garage for most of the week, Emma signed up to Car Next Door, Australia’s neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing network.
It’s been a win-win ever since, says Emma.
“The income more than covers the costs of owning the car, so basically I get it for free,” she says.
“We have two cars, and only need the second car occasionally, so it made a lot of sense to rent it out on Car Next Door.
“I have a group of regular borrowers who use it, and I’m always surprised how much money I earn each month.
Over the last 12 months, Car Next Door has seen a rapid rise in new members with a quarter of the 17,000-strong network now boasting children.
The service currently only operates in Melbourne and Sydney but has plans to expand around Australia.
“When we built the platform, we expected that it would appeal largely to younger people without kids,” says Will Davies, CEO and co-founder.
“But we are seeing a clear trend of more and more families signing up.
“Nearly one in four people who now rent their car out through our platform have children. They’re renting out their second car to ease the pressure on the family budget while also meeting their desire to reduce waste and their environmental impact.”
“It’s a similar story on the borrower side. 25% of our borrower members are parents choosing to rent their neighbours’ cars now and then rather than sinking thousands a year into a second car – or even first car – for the family.”
Will believes car sharing makes financial sense for parents looking to ease pressure on the family budget.
“On average, car owners earn $2400 a year by renting their car out through the Car Next Door platform,” he says.
“The top 10% of owners are earning $7000 on average, with some earning over $10,000 a year.”
The cost for borrowers starts as low as $25 a day, with an additional outlay for each kilometre travelled.