/ 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.

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:
2 November 2014

I don’t understand the statement that a power drill is used for only 10 minutes during its lifetime. What does “lifetime” mean? If it’s used for 10 or 20 minutes then surely it had a lot more life in it. If the owner doesn’t need it any more it’s easy to sell on to someone else on Ebay or give on Freecycle. Perhaps Ebay, Gumtree and Tricycle are part of the sharing economy as well?

Lars, I think this whole concept of suggesting items that are used intermittently are under-used and should be hired out is very flawed. For many items it is the convenience of having them to hand when you need them and their cost, if you want to be mercenary, is in the savings they bring you. Cut your own grass or have a company do it – cheaper to buy a lawnmower even if it is used once a week A “lifetime” for my drill is at least 30 years – my B&D gas done many hours work in that time with a couple of brush replacements. Even your car is there for when you want, or need, to use it. Keep it and look after it and you will get full value from it – my other car is 20 years old and going strong. Lend it out and it will clock-up more miles and shorten its life.
The “facts” presented in the introduction are questionnable – 25% of us take part in online sharing – really??

Buying tools can be more cost effective than paying someone else to do a job, and there is a possibility that they can come in useful again, even if that is years later. Most tools don’t deteriorate if kept dry, an exception being rechargeable power tools, where batteries have a limited life.

The secondhand value of tools sold for DIY use is low and it would be rather annoying to get rid of a tool and then have to buy the same thing a few years later.

When I want to get rid of tools or other things surplus to requirements I give them away to people that I know could use them or pass them on to a charity shop.

Out of curiosity

Electric drills as most recent report from Test.de:
“Mit or without cable? This question has turned our Belgian sister organization “Test-Aankoop” and tested 15 impact drills with power supply, as well as 24 Cordless Cordless drill. For a good device, DIY must spend at least 100 euros.
Bosch appliances perform well

With cable, the Bosch PSB best truncates 1000-2 RCE (about 170 euros). They convinced as a strong, comfortable hammer drill with good ergonomics. Also, black & Decker KR8542 (about 100 euros) and Bosch PSB 850-2 RE (approximately 120 euros) offer good quality. When the cordless screwdrivers, DEWALT DCD 730 (around 220 euros) sits at the top. The testers praised the handiness and the flawless screwdriving and drilling. Only close behind: Hitachi DS 14 DBL (around 400 euro) and Bosch PSB 18 Li-2 (about 180 euros). The Bosch screwdriver has also an impact. For work in stone and partly in concrete are powerful machines with cable but the better choice (www.testaankoop.be).

Tip: do not save when buying. Low-cost devices are good only for odd jobs. For more information, see the tests: impact drills and cordless drill: low-cost devices fail and cordless drill: powerhouses without cable.

wavechange, exactly right – that is the value of tools, plus the enjoyment of using them to do a job. I’ve just finished a kitchen floor cupboard, dressing table and bedside table in oak (solid and veneered MDF) where the materials cost £170. I’m guessing to buy would have been around £1000+. Forget my labour – better than watching TV. The tools pay for themselves, and more. Just as my lawnmower, scarifier, and old car have (latter costing me £1 a day plus 27p a mile all in).

The most drills I have used at one time is three when replacing fibreboard floors with sheets of marine ply. One to drill the screwhole, one to provide the countersink, and one fitted with the screwdriver bit.

I also had a big De Walt for stirring the powder for tile laying which I subsequently gave to my builder.

Which? appear to have abdicated from serious testing with the results being a survey of members. I see the AEG is 91% and top based on the responses of 38 people. I do actually have an AEG mains powered and an AEG battery powered drill, and an old Wolf and somewhere or other an old key chucked B&D.

I see that Which? recommends the battery driven for ” For basic tasks, a cordless power drill with a rechargeable battery may be the best for you. They lack the power of mains-operated drills, but they’re lightweight, easy to handle and can be used almost anywhere.” which to my mind suggests infrequent use and over a few years dead batteries of an irreplaceable design.

As to lending tools out I have considered that Which? members should be the obvious people to lend to other than neighbours and friends. The 6ft pry bar, the assorted shovels and spades etc etc do not get daily use from me : )

I wonder how long it will be before the have a Conversation about the perils of car sharing or house swaps. 🙁

And is it the responsibility of the borrower or lender to ensure that power tools are safe to use? I wonder if those promoting sharing schemes think about ensuring that the borrower is provided with the manual and that electrical items are PAT tested.

I’d be concerned about an unknown occupant of my house if I swapped – securing all my personal possessions for example, and arranging insurance cover. For the brief time it might happen it just doesn’t seem worth the hassle. I’m quite happy to rent a holiday home once a year and leave my own home having its own holiday.

There are dubious assertions here, and a questionable basis for the proposition. My worry is that such stuff could form the basis for a government “initiative”. I wonder who might add balance to the “review”. I am prepared to be wrong in my views – are the proponents?

For personal reasons I currently live in a different place for a couple of years to where my house is. I’m renting a flat while renting out my own house. I’m paying about the same in rent to the landlord as I get paid by the tenant. Yet, this is costing me a lot of money because I have to pay income tax on the rent I get paid, even though my incoming rent goes straight out to the rent I pay so it’s not really an income as such. If it were possible to do a temporary house swap, then no money would be transferred and no tax would have to be paid.

Excellent reason and if you can arrange a direct swap great way to go. It crosses my mind that if your tenants paid your landlord directly you would receive no rent : )

Your landlord might want you to guarantee payment …….

Unfortunately HMRC may already have some obscure rule to cover this … or not : )

I’m happy to lend tools, and happy when others lend them to me. I also sometimes buy a cheap version of a tool, knowing that if it wears out I can justify buying a good one. My main problem with tools is putting them down and not being able to find them. I have half a dozen Stanley knives and I can never find any of them!