Some are caring, some are sharing, and everyone's cashing in as an increasing number of home-owners and tenants subsidise their mortgage and rents by time-sharing their car spaces – and sometimes even their cars too – when they're not using them.
They're currently making up to $90 a week on car spaces in prime locations during 9am to 5pm when they themselves have driven to work, leaving the space empty, and up to $40 a day for their cars.
"Parking can be extremely expensive in some areas of Sydney and Melbourne, so people are finding they can really help their budgets by allowing others to also use their car spaces," says Nick Austin, the CEO of Divvy Parking, the company that handles bookings and payments for privately-owned car spaces when they're not in use.
The founders of Car Next Door Dave Trumbull and Will Davies (right).
"Lots of people leave their spaces vacant for times when they, say, drive to work, so we're helping them unlock the value of these assets. For owners it may help with their mortgage payments or household bills, and for tenants, it helps with their rents."
In Sydney, where one car space in Elizabeth Bay in the eastern suburbs recently sold for a record $210,000, the uptake since Divvy Parking's web-based system launched in late 2011 has been increasing exponentially. Currently, about 1000 people are leasing out their car spaces mostly in apartment buildings for various periods, and about 2000 are regularly renting them, with those figures expected to triple in the next 12 months.
Spaces in the CBD go for the highest rates, from $55 to $120 a week, depending on location, with those in North Sydney reaching $90 a week, Surry Hills up to $80 a week, and Redfern, Pyrmont and Potts Point up to $70.
In Melbourne, where the system will officially launch in two weeks, there's already been a huge number of inquiries, and people who have car spaces that are vacant at times have already started registering and listing their locations. The most popular are likely, again, to be the CBD for up to $90 a week, with other areas in demand set to be Docklands, Richmond, Hawthorn and St Kilda.
The idea of people sharing their car spaces was inspired by the stellar success of the Airbnb online collaborative consumption model, where people go online to rent out their property, or rooms in their homes, to visitors.
That's also kicked off another company, Car Next Door, where car-owners can rent out their own cars by the hour, day, week or month, on an online system. There are now 130 cars in Sydney registered for use since the business began at Christmas 2012, and 40 in Melbourne, where it launched in February this year, and over 5000 car-borrowers.
"The cars are in a range of suburbs," says Car Next Door CEO Will Davies. "In Sydney, they're mostly in Bondi, Newtown, Redfern, Surry Hills, Paddington and Randwick, and in Melbourne, in Brunswick, Fitzroy, St Kilda and Balaclava.
"They range from older models that people rent out for $5 an hour to newer, more upmarket models for $40 a day. We're hoping to double the number of participants in both cities in the next six months."