What’s Yours is Mine? The New Sharing Economy and Small Business

In recent years, many workers have found new ways to earn a living, becoming their own bosses as they enjoy a freelance lifestyle. Whether they’re offering rides to the airport through Lyft or Uber, or running errands through TaskRabbit, people are redefining the way they earn a living and blazing a trail for future generations.

But there are downsides to working this way. For freelancers, the unpredictability of work and changing pay structures make it sometimes difficult to make a reliable living. But for businesses and the American economy as a whole, the impact can be far more widespread.

Pros and Cons of Our New Sharing Economy

Pro: Growth of Outsourcing Opportunities

The increase in freelance workers gives businesses a great alternative to hiring full-time, salaried workers. Instead they can outsource work on a per-project basis and continue working with those employees if they do well.

Additionally, errand services like TaskRabbit give professionals the ability to outsource mundane personal tasks, like picking up dry cleaning or running errands. They can then focus on their own work. For traveling professionals, Lyft and Uber have proven to be a better alternative to taxis and public transportation, allowing them to call for a car and pay all on their mobile devices.

Con: Shortage of Skilled Workers

Unfortunately, a sharing society also means fewer professionals in the workforce. As the unemployment rate drops, this could result in there being a national labor shortage, where businesses scramble for help from what is a much smaller pool of skilled workers who are willing to work a structured office schedule.

The Millennial generation is now filling the workplace, and they have expressed their preferences for a fun and flexible workplace. The workforce of the future will require a performance-based workday rather than one that is measured by time clocks and traditional 40 hour work weeks.

Pro: Entrepreneurs Working Together

The ad hoc environment can be very good for business owners, who can take advantage of the large variety of skilled freelancers available.

More shared work spaces like Canvs are opening up across the country, providing desks and meeting space for a variety of talented independent workers and small businesses. Co-working spaces encourage collaboration, prompting entrepreneurs to learn from and help each other as they build their businesses.

These centers also serve to help build the local economy by encouraging business growth.

Con: Wage Degradation

There are some who are concerned about these shared labor concepts. Economist Dean Baker pointed out to the New York Times, that the wages workers make in these gigs can equate to less than minimum wage. He expressed concern that in time, this could create a downward pressure on wages overall that could impact the earning ability of mainstream America.

However, for the most entrepreneurial-minded workers, this type of work can help build the confidence they need to start their own businesses.

The new sharing economy opens opportunities for both consumers and workers, allowing people to work on their own terms. With the unemployment rate still high, this sharing economy is enabling people to make money while they wait for job opportunities to open up.

It seems to me that the freedom of being your own boss is empowering and has the potential to inspire many to start their own businesses – which benefits the economy as a whole.

One in 10 brand new cars has to go back to the garage for repairs in the first year – but what’s the most reliable motor you can buy?

HUNDREDS of thousands of new car buyers are having to return cars to their dealer with problems, a study has found.

Electrical gripes, engine woes and rattling interior trim are leaving owners frustrated with their brand new motors.

Jaguar XF

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Almost a third of owners reported problems in the first year with their Jaguar XF

Driver Power, the UK’s biggest car satisfaction survey, found 12 per cent of owners said their car had gone wrong within the first 12 months.

And with a record-setting 2.69million vehicles registered in 2016, it could mean more than 300,000 have already developed faults and needed repairs.

Figures from the Driver Power study – which quizzed drivers on cars aged between two and 12 months – show the Jaguar XF was the car with the most issues.

Cars with most recorded faults in the first year

  1. Jaguar XF: 31%
  2. Jaguar XE: 27%
  3. Land Rover Discovery Sport: 25%
  4. Range Rover Evoque: 24%
  5. Nissan X-Trail: 22%
  6. Skoda Superb: 21%
  7. Nissan Pulsar: 21%
  8. Subaru Forester: 20%
  9. Citroen C4 Cactus: 20%
  10. Subaru Outback: 20%

A third of owners (31 per cent) said their car failed in the first year.

And there was more bad news for British makers, too, with the Jaguar XE the next worst following by the Land Rover Discovery Sport – more than a quarter of owners reported problems with both.

The car deemed most reliable over long-term ownership was the Toyota RAV4.

Top 10 most reliable cars

  1. Toyota RAV4
  2. Skoda Yeti
  3. Audi Q3
  4. SEAT Leon
  5. Lexus RX
  6. Kia Cee’d
  7. Lexus CT
  8. Suzuki Vitara
  9. Lexus NX
  10. Volvo XC60

Dodgy reliability of new vehicles is supported by the record number of contacts The Motor Ombudsman has received for its dispute resolution service.

In the first four months of 2017, it saw a 45 per cent rise in disgruntled customers get in touch compared to 2016.

And the top reason for an owner to contact The Motor Ombudsman related to the quality of the vehicle at the time of purchase.

Holly McAllister, head of customer service and quality at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Case volumes as a proportion of contacts remain low which demonstrates the great efforts that all parties are going to in order to resolve any disagreements before needing formal adjudication which is very encouraging for all involved.”

Land Rover Discovery Sport

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A quarter of Land Rover Discovery Sport owners had early issues

What’s the Best New-Car Deal for June 2017?

Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays
CARS.COM — Whatever the occasion — graduation, Father’s Day or your old car finally bit the dust — June is a good time to kick the tires on a new ride. This month has signaled the start of a summer ramp-up in new-car discounts for each of the past three years, according to Autodata Corp., and if certain cars we highlighted in past months are any indication, automakers appear ready to follow suit for 2017. Automotive News reports Jeep has thrown up to $4,000 on the hood of the 2017 Cherokee SUV. Ford is offering up to $4,150 off the 2017 Fusion, while Hyundai’s cash rebates on the 2017 Sonata go as high as $6,000. Get shopping.

Related: Off-Lease Car Glut Might Mean Used-Car Buyer’s Market

Which deals are worth a gander? Read on.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

How much can I save? Lots. Until July 5, cash rebates on the 2017 Santa Fe Sport go as high as $3,750. Hyundai posted an additional $1,500 off select versions of the SUV in every region we searched, but those could be needle-in-a-haystack examples depending on your dealer’s inventory. But the lesser discounts are still steep, and they come as sales for the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport plunged 33.2 percent in May. Granted, that’s versus a gangbusters year-ago period, but the Sport still averaged 81 days to sell last month — notably more than the 70-day average for all 2017 models.

What about discount financing? Qualified borrowers can get rates as low as 0.9 percent.

Any deals on the non-sport Santa Fe? Some, but not as much. Cash discounts on the Santa Fe Sport’s three-row sibling range from $2,000 to $2,500, according to Automotive News.

But the Santa Fe Sport fared poorly in Cars.com’s last mid-size SUV comparison, no? It placed fourth out of five as judges noted poor visibility, thin seats and a peaky turbo engine. That said, this list is about money, not merits. And Hyundai is slashing a lot.

Get 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport DetailsFind a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Near You
2017 Nissan Frontier
2017 Nissan Frontier
Manufacturer image

Nissan Frontier

How much can I save? If you can do with the four-cylinder instead of the V-6, a lot. Automotive News says Nissan is offering $500 to $3,750 on the Frontier until July 5, though most deals we found were isolated to the four-cylinder Frontier SV — a configuration that accounts for about 15 percent of 2017 Frontier inventory on Cars.com. Sales ebbed a modest 2.3 percent last month versus a monster year-ago month, but the mid-size pickup truck still averaged a worse-than-average 77 days on dealer lots for the extended cab (84 days for the crew cab).

What about discount financing? Automotive News didn’t list any financing offers, so you’ll have to negotiate on regular rates.

But I hear even Frontier owners don’t like their purchases. That seems the case, per Consumer Reports. But it’s hard to expect much else, given the Frontier enters its 13th model year without a full redesign. That’s an eternity. You know how Kevin Spacey impersonated Johnny Carson during Sunday’s Tony Awards? Well, when Nissan unveiled this generation of the Frontier in early 2004, Johnny Carson was still around. It’s one ancient truck, but this list is about incentives. The Frontier has big ones.

Get 2017 Nissan Frontier DetailsFind a 2017 Nissan Frontier Near You
2017 Ford Escape
2017 Ford Escape
Cars.com photo by Joe Bruzek

Ford Escape

How much can I save? A ton. The Escape averaged a brisk 57 days on dealer lots in May, but sales still fell 9.8 percent. Ford has piled on the incentives, with cash discounts on the Escape as high as $5,000 this month. Most regions we checked had discounts from $3,000 to $4,000, but that’s still nothing to sneeze at — especially since Ford offers them across many trim levels. The deals expire June 21 in some markets, so hurry.

What about discount financing? Cut-rate financing on the Escape is as low as 2.9 percent.

Is the Escape bad, too? On the contrary, Ford’s popular compact SUV topped its rivals in a Cars.com comparison last year as judges raved about its intuitive dashboard touchscreen, comfortable ride and easy child-safety seat accommodations. We’d report discounts like this regardless, but in the Escape’s case, it’s a win-win.

Get 2017 Ford Escape DetailsFind a 2017 Ford Escape Near You

The Returnees

We focus on cars new to the list or ones we haven’t highlighted in the past few months. But many cars from recent months still have high discounts in June:

  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Fusion
  • Ford Mustang
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Jeep Patriot
  • Jeep Renegade
  • Toyota Corolla, Corolla iM

How We Look For Deals

To look for June deals, we considered sales in May among the top 100 best-selling cars, specifically eyeing models whose sales underperformed the market. We also looked at days-to-turn data from May, which measures how long it takes on average for dealers to sell a given car. Both factors illustrate May’s slow sellers, cars on which dealers could be more willing to cut a deal.

Finally, we looked at factory cash discounts and low-interest-rate financing offers that are especially high for the price of the car. (After all, $2,000 is a lot more on a Ford Focus than a Ford Explorer.)

Sales and incentives data come from Automotive News and automakers’ websites, while days-to-turn data come from J.D. Power and Associates. Remember, our numbers are national in scope and reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and incentives may vary by region and trim level. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.