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VOL. 126 | NO. 236 | Monday, December 5, 2011

Tom Pease

Can't Sell? Become 'Rentrepreneur'


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You may have tried to sell off some of your unused stuff without success or deciding it wasn’t worth it. That does not mean you can’t do better renting out things you are not using much.

There are websites springing up to help you do this. This budding industry has not hit critical mass yet but is growing. The term “rentrepreneur” has been coined to go with it.

It makes a lot of sense for a business. My research found that businesses are renting out their shops, tools and vehicles during periods they are not using them. A power saw could go for $25 for a weekend. If you have welding equipment or sandblasting or painting gear, you can do a whole lot better. Company trucks and trailers could be $250. You can visit a local rental business to judge what lower price you would accept. You can advertise free on Craigslist.

The site Rentalic.com is out there. Airbnb.com specializes in renting housing not being used. Its listings include rentals for even camping trailers you may not be using next weekend. There is Zilok.com, too. These sites try to bring the buyer and renter together in your city and charge a small fee. Some use PayPal.

The newest one is SnapGoods.com, which seems to focus more on personal goods. The personal goods stories are a real hoot. One person rents out his dog for $5 an hour for you to walk it in the park so you can “meet others.” A guitar was $25 and a gas grill $18. A Cuisinart blender was $15, a weed wacker the same.

To make the best money, it looks like you put up a multiple of things that may appeal to a broad base. You have to be willing to let people come to your house or place of business, of course. Using a credit card for security deposit is good. Cash payment is common.

Some sites require applicants to log in via their Facebook account to reduce false identities. Or you may just know a person or business and ask them if you can rent something you need. Of course, advertising on social media could work if you are angling toward individuals more than businesses. If a business, and you have some higher-dollar possibilities, paying for an ad somewhere may be worth it. Maybe a “rent this building on weekends” sign will do it. Newly forming churches, clubs or those looking for a place to hold classes in whatever, may be interested

Of course, these days it is all about maximum economics and this is that. Making money on something you are not even using has great appeal. It is also very green. The greenest product is the one that never had to be made. Since it is still in its budding phase, somebody good with websites, logistics, PayPal and providing renter assurances may have a good local business opportunity.

Tom Pease is owner of e/Doc Systems Inc.

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