We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip main navigation

The service-sharing economy

In this section we will be looking into the revolutionary world of service sharing. Formal 'service businesses' are no longer a necessity.
Service sharing
© RMIT University 2017
Putting IKEA furniture together can be quite time consuming for some, jumping around from manual to wood just to make sure you get it right. Yet, for other people, putting IKEA furniture together is not a challenge at all. Well, imagine if you could pay a small fee and get that other person to put the furniture together for you. Would you use that service?
Apart from services to put furniture together, apps like TaskRabbit list services to do a whole range of things: from walking your dog, cleaning your house, doing your laundry or painting your apartment. Alternatively, Fiverr lists the services of ordinary people to design your website, create an app, logo or jingle for your new business, do a painting to your taste or even design a personal meal plan for you. On Youtube, you can find free tutorials for almost anything, from music and dance lessons to coding and programming lessons. Services that you previously paid money to businesses to enjoy, now with an app you can get for free or a small fee.
Whatever service or errand you need help with, chances are that with a Google search you might find an app that can get someone to help you do it for free or for a small fee. You don’t need to find a formal business for that. If you have a skill, you do not need an office desk in a formal business organisation to earn some income from it. You can sign up to any of these apps and teach someone to make sushi or play a guitar.
The sharing economy is gradually revolutionising the way services are provided and acquired by consumers. If you decide to start a business today that provides a particular service, you may want to consider how you will compete against this large segment of uncoordinated labour who are not tethered to any specific organisation. You may then also need to consider the changing tastes and expectations of consumers whose multiple service needs are being served with such a vast choice of talents out there.
Activity
Airtasker is a company that connects handymen, cleaners, etc to people in need to get those tasks done.
Check out Airtasker and TaskRabbit see what tasks people have posted. Would you consider offering your own services or engaging in a service via a channel, such as Airtasker or TaskRabbit? Why? Why not?
Post your thoughts to the Comments area.

© RMIT University 2017
This article is from the free online

Business Futures: the Sharing Economy

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education