/ Home & Energy, Money, Motoring

Would you share or swap your car, house or power tools?

Share on cork board

From carpooling to house swapping, the Sharing Economy empowers you to hire out everything from power drills to spare rooms. Debbie wants your views to feed into her review of the Sharing Economy.

Over the past 12 months, the UK has seen an explosion in the Sharing Economy. Peer-to-peer businesses such as Zipcar, Airbnb and TaskRabbit have enjoyed rapid growth – and created a new wave of everyday entrepreneurs around the country.

It’s estimated that 25% of Brits currently take part in this type of sharing online, and current global revenues of around £9bn could reach £230bn per year by 2025. The Sharing Economy’s estimated to reach 50% market share in key sectors such as holiday accommodation and car-sharing/car rental by 2025.

More and more, people are thinking differently about how they make use of their assets and resources. For instance, the average car sits idle for 23 hours a day – so car clubs such as easyCar Club allow owners to rent out their car when they’re not using it.

Likewise, the average power drill is used for an estimated 12-13 minutes over its entire lifetime – so services such as Streetclub offer an online market place to hire out spare tools.

Help review the Sharing Economy

Against this backdrop, the UK government asked me last month to lead a review of the Sharing Economy. Over the next few months I’ll be exploring the social and economic potential of this sector in the UK, and making recommendations on how its potential can be reached. I will also be looking at how to create a level playing field with traditional operators in businesses which are impacted by the Sharing Economy.

I’m keen to hear from as many people as possible as part of this review – including Which? readers who are using Sharing Economy services as part of their everyday lives. I’d love to hear your feedback, either through our online survey or by leaving your comments below.

Have you ever shared or swapped your house, car, holiday home or anything else? Would you like to take part in the Sharing Economy, but something’s holding you back? If so, what is it?

Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Debbie Wosskow, CEO of Love Home Swap and leading a review for the Government on the Sharing Economy. All opinions expressed here are Debbie’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.


What a mercenary lot we are becoming !!!

I often lend my tools to people I can trust to treat them with care. But I do it for free and am also able to enjoy borrowing for free.


I agree alfa, it works both ways.


It’s estimated that almost 100% of estimations need source material to make them believable.
” It’s estimated that 25% of Brits currently take part in this type of sharing online ..”

Conversations has always been a bit bad on linking to sources and I would not want this curse to affect outside contibutors articles.



” Many people familiar with the movement known as the Sharing Economy frequently cite a statistic about how a drill is only used for “x minutes in its entire lifetime.” This is supposed to encourage us to either borrow a drill from someone, or hire someone to drill a hole for us. However, based on my experience in talking to people both inside and outside the sharing economy, as well as observing the startups who have done really well in this sector, I believe the drill is a bad example to use.
The first thing that bothers me about this statement is that there is no study or evidence ever cited. The best I could track down was an online article cited in Rachel Botsman’s book here. Here’s what the quote says: “Take power drills. Supposedly, the average power drill is used for somewhere between six and twenty minutes in its entire lifetime. And yet supposedly almost half of all American households own one.” Supposedly?”


I cannot myself find any source for the quote either and my gut instinct is that the figures are bogus and have been refined to a bogus accuracy from the original 6 to 20 to 6 to 13. Probably from having been around a long time and lived in many types of houses I have a good idea how many shelves get put up and furniture assembled.

I do wonder if somewhere someone has done yet another dubious survey and extrapolated unjustifiably to averages. You know the example 20 people used their drills for one hour in the last 12 months and 80 never touched their drills — average 12 minutes then!!


I’m prepared to lend to neighbours and friends, providing that they have not let me down in the past. One of my neighbours damaged my expensive hammer drill, probably without knowing what he had done. When he was clearing out his garage he offered me something I had lent him about ten years ago. I have lost quite a few smaller items over the years but I’m sure that I have acquired a few books and CDs that should have been returned.

Though I have sometimes shared the driving with friends I would be uncomfortable lending my car to anyone I did not know.

Yesterday I used two sanders, a jig-saw, a cordless drill and an electric screwdriver. Today I’m having a rest. I’ve got other power tools that have not been used for months or even years but they are there when I need them.


I’ve just come in from the garage after making furniture. I am always surprised at just how many tools are needed. Portable saw, bench saw, portable drill, pillar drill, router, frame saw, hand saws, planes, rulers, drill bits, plug cutters, clamps – – the list goes on. And they cost – gradually acquired over the years. So I’d suggest you need to swap a workshop! Local schools and colleges used to have well-equipped workshops – perhaps these could be made available (for a fee perhaps) after hours for those needing facilities – particularly for younger people who haven’t the space or the means to buy tools.


In retrospect, this seems a strange initiative for the government to pick on – hardly a significant area of national importance (despite the claimed statistics – evidence please). Suggestions such as car and house swaps are already in existence. We have tool-hire shops. But lending your useful belongings like a hedge trimmer or circular saw to family or friends whom you trust can be done at a purely personal level – free of charge.

I hope this is not a scheme to help “create a new wave of everyday entrepreneurs around the country” and provide subsidies when their businesses lose money. We need “generosity” in a sharing economy, not profiteering.

Liz MacKenzie says:
1 November 2014

We have never leases or rented any of our assets and would be wary of doing so, due to the fact that items lent to family and friend have not been take care off the way we would have done so ourselves.

Lars Nielsen says: