How do I earn extra money by renting out my stuff?
A version of this article appeared in Wikihow: How to Earn Extra Money by Renting Out My Stuff
Renting out your belongings can be an easy and time-efficient way to earn passive income. “Passive income” refers to income that does not require a proportionate amount of time spent in order to earn it. In other words, this type of income doesn’t take a lot of effort.
In addition to the relatively low effort required, there are a host of other benefits. Renting out belongings associated with activities you enjoy, like DJ-ing or outdoor sports, can connect you with a community of people that are also enthusiastic about these hobbies. You can trade tips on photography lighting or which 3D printer filament works the best.
If this is your first business endeavor and you are capital constrained, online rental could be more attractive than direct online sales, as online rental does not require a great deal of inventory, if any at all. Drop shipping has endeavored to change that requirement, but comes with it’s own disadvantages including the “race to the bottom” pricing which causes ever dwindling profit margins. While some people will choose to buy new equipment in order to promote potentially higher reviews and customer satisfaction, the majority of people will post items they already own.
Online rental can subsidize the purchase of expensive items you want to own (for work or for play), similarly to how vacation homeowners subsidize their vacation homes by renting them out.
You may decide you can now afford a $500 paddle board, because you’ll rent it out for $35/day when you’re not using it. If expensive equipment or props are part of your primary income source, renting out idle equipment can become a secondary income source.
As an event planner, you might carry in your inventory expensive or hard to find props like antique peacock/boho chairs for weddings or elaborate floral backdrops. When these aren’t in use for a particular wedding, renting them out to other event planners or DIY brides provides passive income and additional marketing for your brand.
So if you are thinking about renting out your personal belongings, following are some steps you can take:
1. Decide which items you would like to rent out.
– Items with a high purchase price, like certain electronics, A/V equipment, and furniture, are expensive to buy, and thus are attractive to rent as an alternative to buying. Cars, boats, and homes, of course, are obvious choices, too.
– Other verticals, like party gear (tables, chairs, popcorn machines, backdrops, etc), outdoor/sports equipment (skis, surfboards, etc), and photography/cinematography are already part of a renting market, so there’s plenty of demand.
– Finally, new verticals, are emerging. Vacation home rentals have created increased demand for renting family essentials (cribs, strollers, toys) and the rise of social media, especially Instagram, have increased the demand to rent luxury brand items for the sake of taking photos to project an image of wealth.
2. Choose a website or app that provides the best platform to suit your needs
– There are many options here, depending on what you are renting out and your level of sophistication.
– If you intend to rent out a car, boat, or home (high value and high risk/liability) you should use services that are tailored for those specific items. Their terms and platform structure will match the nuances and details associated with those items.·
– If you have your own business, have access to legal contracts/rental agreements, have public contact information, you can choose a broad network like Craigslist. Simply post the item on Craigslist FOR SALE, and in your description, add FOR RENT. Users searching for rentals will type in FOR RENT in the search bar and your item will appear.
– If you would like more help in the form of a reservation system, contracts, taking payments online, insurance, and viewing the customer’s star rating before agreement to rent to them, then you should choose a peer-to-peer rental platform.
– There are a few to choose from. For instance, if you know you will be renting out high end photography equipment, you can use ShareGrid
– For the purposes of this tutorial, we will describe the steps for ParTAG. ParTAG’s primary purpose is to rent out party gear, but it is generic enough to be used for almost anything. A description of its features and benefits can be found here.
3. Download the ParTAG app for iOS or Android
– For iOS, download here.
– For Android, download here.
4. Sign up for a free account, using an email address or Facebook
– If using your email address, you have to verify your email address before they will let you log in, so check your email for an email from ParTAG.
5. Connect a Stripe account to your ParTAG account
This allows the credit card payments you accept through ParTAG to go directly to your bank account
– The easiest way to do this is to go straight to the Stripe website and sign up for an account there. You must use the same email address with Stripe as you used with ParTAG or they won’t connect.
– You can also use the portal through the ParTAG App (Menu > Settings > Connect Stripe Account), but I find this way takes longer as there is a lag in communication when going from the ParTAG server to the Stripe server.
– Stripe will ask you for information, such as business name, address, website. If you are an individual, you will choose the business type as Sole Proprietorship, and you can use your social media account as your website.
– Stripe makes sure that the credit cards used to pay for rentals are legitimate and Stripe holds on to the credit card information in case there is a problem later. You can see all of the payments made to you from your Stripe dashboard.
– Then in the ParTAG App, go to Menu > Settings > Connect Stripe Account. From this screen, login to your Stripe account with your email and password, and you’re done!
6. Post an item for rent by first adding it to your personal library
– You can view a helpful tutorial or check out questions on the FAQ page.
– Go to your Library by selecting the icon (second from left) or going to the sidebar menu (Menu > Library)
– Select the “+” icon at the top or at the bottom.Take a photo of the item you are going to rent out. You can add more photos later, on the item detail page.
– Provide details about your rental item. The more details you provide, the better the listing looks and the easier it will be to be a match to a customer’s query.
– Select the ‘Public’ status as Green, so that your item will be shown in the Public Marketplace. ParTAG has a function where you can keep items private and rent them out without other people knowing about your item.
– For public items, you must provide certain details like a description, search tags, category, pricing, model year, etc. In the description, be sure to provide dimensions, as photos don’t really make this obvious. If you want to charge for extras that go with your rental, like a set up fee for some complicated lighting equipment, or consumables, like oil or smoke machine liquid, add those prices in the description, so your customers know to expect those costs at the end of the rental.
– For rental price, you should do a search for similar items and see for how much those are rented. You may be able to offer your item for less (and make it look more attractive to customers) because you don’t have a store and employees to pay for. Or if your item is particularly unique and hard to find, you can charge more.
– Provide the purchase price of your item. This, along with the model year, defines what the replacement cost will be if the renter damages your item. Be honest, because you will have to provide proof of value and model year if a claim is made to replace your item.Indicate if the item is for Pick Up or Delivery.
– Select “Done” and your item is now on the Public Marketplace, ready for rent!
7. Check your item details and add photos
– Go to your Library (second icon from left or Menu > Library) and see that the item is listed in your library.
– Select this item to review details. Select a detail to go back and change any of the descriptions or values.
– Select the item photo or the other circles to provide more photos that customers can scroll through.
– In this view, you can see the last known location of the item, and if the item is rented, you can see it here too. When customers see your item’s public listing in the public marketplace, they cannot see your location in detail, only the city and general locale
8. And that’s it!
– From here, you can try to promote your rentals through your own social media accounts. ParTAG also uses SEO, social media, and paid advertising to drive customers to the public marketplace.
– If there is a customer who is interested in renting your item, you will receive an email and an in-app notification through your Notifications Inbox. You can review the reservation request (dates, time, customer review, location, etc) and accept the request.
– From there, it is pretty straight forward– approve the rental request and see the reservation sitting in your Reservations module.
– Arrive at the rental drop off / delivery location (or meet your customer at the Pick Up location) at the specified time.
– Open up the Reservation and select “Start Rental”Agree to the Rental Agreement and at the same time, the Renter will agree to his copy of the Agreement.
– Pick the item back up or wait for its return and repeat the same steps to close out the rental.You can see the payment go into your bank account right away from your Stripe dashboard or your bank’s dashboard.
– You can also check out ParTAG’s tutorial videos on it’s Youtube channel.
9. Security and Liability
– ParTAG has a link for rental owners who want to purchase insurance for their items and also offers a damage waiver policy to renters who don’t want to pay out of pocket if they damage the rental item.
– ParTAG sets the terms for how much you get if the item is damaged or not returned, but it is based on the evidence you provided as to it’s value. The renter’s payment method is charged if there are any problems. That’s the beauty of doing this through ParTAG and not using cash or Craigslist.
– Take a picture at a good distance to show the whole item, but also provide a photo of parts of the item close up, like the control panel, or embroidery detail, etc. This makes your item look more attractive and shows you are being transparent about your item.
– Make sure to choose a rental price that is in keeping with the market and not more, as your item will not appear attractive. You can add other costs at the end of the rental, like set-up, delivery, etc. Don’t roll up these costs into the per day rental cost, as that will skew your item’s price higher if compared with how rental shops display their pricing. If you are going to charge other fees later, you must disclose these fees in the description or other documentation.
– Put your public contact info in the description so that potential customers can ask you questions about your items. The more consultation you provide, the more value you add to your item, and the more attractive your item becomes.
– This description is not intended to advise on liability, taxes, insurance, or financial investment. The author is not an attorney, insurance broker, financial adviser, or CPA. You should consult with these professionals before deciding whether or not you wish to start a rental business and what your responsibilities would be if you decide to do so.
– Earning income through online sales and rental usually means certain tax liability for the earner. You should consult with a CPA regarding that matter.