What items do you keep around your house, but don’t use very often? A shovel? A laundry drying rack? A food processor? What if you could rent these items out to people in your area, and in turn rent seldom-used items from them for a few dollars? Rentalic.com is trying to make these exchanges happen nationwide.
The site even has a cute origin story, which the Boston Globe shared with the world:
In June 2008, when Punsri Abeywickrema was working on his backyard in San Mateo, Calif., he found himself in need of a wheelbarrow. He didn’t own one, but his neighbor did, and he had borrowed it the previous weekend; due to space constraints, he preferred not to buy one himself. Yet he hesitated to impose on the neighbor again.
He ended up renting a wheelbarrow from a store. But then he wondered, what if he had instead offered to pay his neighbor a small fee to borrow the wheelbarrow? Abeywickrema would have fulfilled his need without acquiring a cumbersome object or feeling like a freeloader. The neighbor, meanwhile, could have reaped a modest windfall. This thought led to an inspiration – wouldn’t it be great if a whole network of residents in his area could conduct similar transactions, with locals they didn’t even know yet?
Americans may just be starting to realize that owning tons of possessions is not always a good thing, and sometimes it’s simpler and easier to rent things than to own them.
Each transaction costs 99 cents, paid by the borrower. There’s not much on the site yet, but the idea is promising. Americans are starting to see the appeal of renting things instead of buying them. Why, look at Zipcar, Bag Borrow or Steal, and Rent The Runway.
What do you prefer to rent, rather than purchase? Is there anything in your life that you would rent if you could?