Let us disrupt the otherwise normal bucolic sight of everyone in the neighborhood out on a warm afternoon, mowing away at their green lawns. Why does each house need to own their own lawnmower? At around $300 a pop for a new one, they’re not cheap, and households could cut costs drastically if they shared them, but negotiating that can lead to arguments over how much each borrower should chip in, if any, and when. So the Eschaton blog muses on this and wonders, why couldn’t there be a Zipcar for tools? Well there is! They’re called tool rental libraries.
Some are run within a neighborhood area while others are attached to actual town libraries, a model particularly common California. You pay your fee or present your library card and you get to take out a tool for just the amount of time you need to use it. Return it when you’re done and someone else gets to use it. The cost of ownership and storage gets spread out over a larger population and saves you money.
Of course this means there has to be a third party who steps up and assumes the costs and risks of setting up such a library, maintaining and repairing the tools, and fining or chasing down tardy borrowers. But it can be done. In related news, the Zipcar IPO was priced at $18 per share and went up to $30.09 before now dropping to $23.67. There’s money to be made in sharing.
Why Does Everybody Own Their Own Lawnmower? [ESCHATON]