In this series of posts, we’re delving into the world of the Shared Economy. We’ve already discussed the rise of this business platform, its legalities and its positive effects on the environment. In this post we will explore how to join the collaborative consumption movement and guide you with some tips to consider before starting a business in the shared economy.

Recap: What is the Shared Economy?

The shared economy is a socio-economic ecosystem that is built around the sharing of human and physical resources – and is taking the world by storm.

There are four factors driving the success of the shared economy:

  • Social: meeting new people and connecting the community
  • Economical: saving money
  • Practicality: saving time
  • Sustainability: eco-friendly and helps protect the environment

To learn more about the shared economy check out our Part I: Beginner’s Guide to the Shared Economy.

Things to Consider before Launching a Business in the Shared Economy

Did I Mention the Importance of Trust?

When using an app like Uber or Airbnb, remember that you will be collecting confidential information from your users. In compliance with The Privacy Act 1988, give your users confidence in your application with a Mobile App Privacy Policy. It details how your application collects and uses information.

Protect yourself

Remember to limit your liability. For instance, ride sharing apps such as Uber engage drivers as contractors not employees, and are therefore not liable for any misconduct. Using a Mobile App Terms of Use can ensure this as it sets the rules for people using your application.

If you are selling goods or services on your app, you can use the Mobile App Terms of Use to explain the terms such as delivery, return and refund policies.

Brand Awareness

The overwhelming presence of social media must be utilised for success in the sharing economy. People are more willing to share information, recommendations and reviews with complete strangers on social media than anywhere else. Further, presence on these platforms are invaluable for systems that require transparency and trust in their business models.

Allow your users to ‘share’ their experiences on social media. For example, friends are more likely to stay in an AirBnB accommodation if their friend, who they trust, has previously stayed there.

Your presence on social media heavily defines your brand. Remember to employ a Social Media Policy to set out the responsibilities and obligations that must be followed when your employees are dealing with social media – for example, security risks, conflicts of interests and use of company logo.

Thinking of launching your own share economy platform, LawPath can connect you with a Startup Lawyer for a fixed-price.

Joining the Shared Economy

A large part of the collaborative consumption movement is providing solutions for everyday problems. Whether the problem is not being able to find a dog-sitter before you travel, or not being able to afford the accommodation once you arrive, the on-demand and convenience of access of goods and services provides an answer to all.

As a businessperson or a consumer in the shared economy, there are considerations that must be taken to ensure you are adequately protected.

This series of posts will provide you with step by step guides on how to join the different areas of the shared economy, from ride sharing to accommodation sharing to task and goods sharing.

But what about the consumers? Read Part III of our series where we explain how to protect yourselves as consumers of the shared economy.

Sharlene Han

Sharlene is a paralegal at LawPath that works on our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. In accordance to her belief that the law should be accessible by all, her writing focuses on trending topics in both the legal and technological spheres.