Do you have an unused room in your house? What about a car that you don’t drive very often? What about sports equipment that’s gathering dust? If yes, then you have the means to make a passive income by renting out your stuff.

How does the process work?

You could, of course, list your spare room, car or other equipment yourself and then select suitable renters from those individuals who answer your ad. However, there are also a large number of online sites like Airbnb, RelayRides and Spinlister that will help you list your rental property and even insure it against possible theft or damage. They will also help you screen and collect payment from your renters, making the rental process much safer and easier.

In either case, you make a nearly passive income by simply loaning out the stuff you don’t use very often or just happen to have on hand.

What you can rent and make money from?

Your House

If you have a guest room in your house that hardly, if ever, sees that which it’s named for, then you can make money from having paying guests use it. Sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, HouseTrip, FlipKey and Wimdu will work with you to rent out your spare room(s) to vacationers and business travelers.

Airbnb rents out rooms or even entire houses.

Airbnb rents out rooms to entire houses.

Flipkey focuses on renting vacation properties.

Flipkey focuses on renting vacation properties.What’s especially nice about these third party platforms is that they help you collect payment (via escrow) and check the identities of your guests. This gives you an extra sense of safety and security about renting out your space.

Keep in mind that you do need to pay federal taxes on your earnings; third party platforms like Airbnb will send you (and the IRS) a 1099-K form at the end of the year. Some local governments may also ask that you charge and pay a hotel tax.

Incidentally, you don’t have to use an online service to rent out space in your home- but if you don’t make sure that your renters sign a renter’s contract. Here is an example rental contract that you can use when creating your own. Also, you should discuss the ramifications of having paying guests in your home with your homeowner’s insurance carrier, just in case you ever need to file a claim.

Your Car

If you can spare your car every now and then, sites like RelayRides, Getaround and JustShareIt offer you the opportunity to rent your vehicle to screened individuals and make money. What’s great about these sites is that they will verify the identity of the renter, keep the money in an escrow account, and provide insurance coverage in case something bad happens to the vehicle. Both vehicle owners and renters are encouraged to leave reviews of each other on the third party sites and via social media.

RelayRides allows you to rent out your car for money.
RelayRides allows you to rent out your car for money.

Your “Other” Car

Maybe you have a mountain bike that you’re loathe to part with even though you only ride it two times each year. Or maybe you have old ski, snowboard or surfboard equipment that you very rarely use. Instead of selling off your sports equipment at a loss, you can list that equipment for a daily rental fee on sites like Spinlister.

Spinlister lets you rent out your bike, snowboard, skis, surfboard and SUP.
Spinlister lets you rent out your bike, snowboard, skis, surfboard and SUP.

The advantage of using a rental site like Spinlister is that, just like with Airbnb or RelayRides, you obtain screened renters who pay for the rental up-front via the site. Also, Spinlister does provide insurance coverage for your rented items; bikes are insured up to $5,000 and other sports equipment is insured up to $1,000.

Your Office

If you own or lease an office and only need it for limited amounts of time, consider renting out your space when you’re not using it on a site like Desktime. This third party site (and app) then advertises your office online and accepts payment from business travelers, freelancers, etc., who need a workspace for a day, a week, or even months at a time.


With Desktime, you set your own price and can choose to list just one desk in your office…or you can offer your entire office building. Currently, the service is available in only about two dozen cities; however, new cities are being added regularly.

Your Culinary Skills

If you like occasionally cooking big and lavish meals but are then bogged down by endless (though tasty) leftovers, consider bragging about your culinary talents on Feastly and making money for something that you do anyway- cook.

Feastly enables budding chefs to host paying guests at their tables and charge as much as $200 a head for making a few extra helpings for “company.”


Your guests also leave reviews of your cooking feats and the overall culinary ambiance at your home. Do well with a few beginner guests and you might end up hosting every weekend as the news of your skills spread.

Do you currently rent your house, car, etc.? Tell us about your rental experiences in the comments below.

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