AN ONLINE start-up is allowing people to make money by renting unused space to people who need more storage.

Shedspace operates on a similar principle to the accommodation platform Airbnb, bringing together “hosts” and “guests” to exchange space for money.

It says the space rented could be spare room in a home, an office or even parking.

It was founded by two Christchurch men, Adam Elcock and Grant Drummond, who said they were frustrated by the existing self-storage market.

Nicole Bean, marketing manager for ShedSpace, said: “ShedSpace is a new way to store items locally, with someone you can trust, and gives you the flexibility you need. The inspiration behind ShedSpace was to help communities come together and support one another through the sharing economy.

“We looked around at our community and saw lots of people with spare space and lots of people with storage needs.

“We know that storage is costly and impersonal. We set about changing that. Life is complicated enough, but storage should be simple.”

Guests register through the portal and browse by area and size of space required until they find something suitable.

They then contact the host through ShedSpace, make the booking and pay online. ShedSpace handles admin and insurance.

Grant Drummond said he had the idea around 10 years ago, but the internet was not advanced enough at the time.

Several years later, he used a self-storage facility while working on his house. He intended the arrangement to last only a few months, but it grew into many more and became increasingly expensive.

Ms Bean said: “Perhaps you have a garage you never really use, or a loft stuffed with items you could place elsewhere, or maybe you’re looking to turn an empty nest into a nest egg.

“Maybe you have a great space under your stairs or a driveway that’s always free during the week.

“All of these spaces could be making you money while you sleep, eat, or do your day job,” she added.

The business is initially covering the south coast from Bournemouth to Brighton and north as far as Basingstoke.