This article by Daniel Newell was originally published in The West Australian on 10 August
For some, WA’s booming gig economy is a way to add a little spending money to wages from their regular day job.
For other more enterprising go-getters, what may have started as a side hustle to make ends meet during the depths of the COVID pandemic has now become big business.
WA has the highest use of gig economy services in the country as rideshare and food delivery platforms continue to boom.
Perth marketing graduate Jaydon Manso-Vukovich is among those cashing in on one corner of the gig economy that connects those in short-term need of a car, van or ute with those happy to rent theirs out.
The 23-year-old is still looking for full-time work after completing a degree at Curtin University but in the meantime is boosting his income renting out five cars through peer-to-peer car sharing app Car Next Door.
Mr Manso-Vukovich signed up to the platform last year while studying and working part-time at Coles to rent out his 2006 Toyota Yaris to neighbours and tourists.
At first, he made $300 a month, which gave him the confidence to invest in another car. He now has four vehicles listed on the platform — each earning him about $1000 a month — and is preparing to add another. After costs, he said he pockets about $700 for each car.
“They’re doing really well and are rented out consistently,” Mr Manso-Vukovich said. “I sometimes get a car back at 10am, and it’s booked out again by 5pm.
“I did a lot of research before and Toyotas are great and run for ever. I don’t have a full-time job at the moment, so this is a great source of income, and I make my money back within the year.”
Car Next Door chief executive Will Davies said the platform had recorded a 245 per cent increase in customers since the pandemic, with 19,000 new users signing up across the country each month.
Australia’s gig economy is now worth more than $6.3 billion a year.