Want to rent your stuff for fun and profit? In today’s sharing economy, there’s almost nothing that you can’t rent. Whether it’s a car, a pool, storage space or sporting equipment, there’s an online platform urging you to rent your stuff for fun and profit.
But before you jump in, there are a few things should know. While you can make a small fortune renting out some items, other things are illegal — or impractical — to rent out. It’s worth rattling through some of the renting challenges before getting into details of how and where you can rent your stuff.
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The first question you need to answer is whether you have the legal right to rent a possession. There are two situations in which you may have something to rent, but don’t have the legal right to rent it out.
One is if you’re leasing or renting it yourself. Your apartment or your car, for instance. In these cases there may be contractual restrictions barring you from using that item in a profit-making way. If you’re subject to these restrictions, they would be spelled out in your lease or rental agreement. None there? Then there’s still one more box to check.
Some cities and communities also impose rental restrictions. These are usually related to renting out all or a portion of your house. These restrictions do not affect your personal property, such as bikes or carpet cleaners. However, any restriction on your house is likely to include your yard, swimming pool, parking space and, possibly, your storage space too.
In some cases, the property can be rented, but owners must have a business license or permission from a homeowner’s group. Violating these rules can result in hefty fines. So check with your city, community or homeowner’s association before you list a rental.
Airbnb has a nice guide on the type of rules to look out for and where they apply.
You should also consider what happens if your renter doesn’t return (or vacate) your property. You have insurance, you say? Check again to make sure that it doesn’t exclude losses due to “voluntary parting.” Voluntary parting is when you give someone your possession voluntarily — even if you expect it to be returned. This same concept would apply to lending your neighbor a lawn mower. You may be able to call the cops. But if you are subject to a voluntary parting clause, your insurer could reject your loss.
Also know that most personal insurance policies exclude commercial perils. Those apply when you are using your property for commercial use, such as when you drive for Uber — or rent your car to an Uber driver. If someone injures themselves or your property while renting it, your insurance policy may also exclude coverage.
These coverage gaps are not hard to fill. Some online platforms offer limited commercial policies to help. But it’s important to talk to your insurance agent before you rent your personal property.
What can you rent?
SideHusl.com divides the rental market into 10 categories. However, the “houses and rooms” category has two parts — one for overnight rentals; one for rentals by the hour for things like movie shoots and events. In addition to those, you can rent cameras and film equipment; cars; parking and storage space; a pool or yard; boats and watercraft; a recreational vehicle; or “other,” which includes a laundry list of sporting goods and personal items.
We’ll start with the least lucrative option first.
Sporting goods/personal items
A site called FriendWithA is the go-to for people who want to rent out sporting equipment such as OneWheels, skis and snowboards. Each of these items can rent for between $30 and $100 a day.
You can also rent personal items with FriendWithA and through a site called Loanables. However, we suggest you don’t bother, unless you have something relatively unique like a bounce house or a cotton candy maker. Why? You just can’t charge enough to make it worth your while. A 6-foot ladder, for instance, rents for between $8 and $10 a day. When you consider the time it takes to respond to potential renters, meet them for pickups and drop-offs, you’re earning only a couple of bucks an hour.
Camera & video equipment
Avid photographers and film industry freelancers often have loads of expensive camera, lighting and filming equipment that can be rented out to film crews that need them temporarily. But, be sure to carefully document every piece in the rental and double-check your insurance coverage. These items can be fragile and unusable without some removable components. And you don’t want to lose the use of a $1,000 camera in exchange for a $100 rental.
The best place to list camera and film equipment for rent: ShareGrid.
Cars, trucks and motorcycles
A site called Turo will help you rent your spare car to tourists, allowing you to set the rate, rules and availability. The site markets your vehicle and provides insurance in exchange for a portion of the rental price. In big cities, car owners say they can make between $500 and $1,000 a month with this site.
If you happen to have a motorcycle, TwistedRoad can help you rent it out to vetted drivers. You set the rates and availability. The site screens drivers and markets your ride for a portion of the rental price. Fetch Truck will help you rent out your truck or van.
Boats and watercraft
Have a boat, kayak, or paddleboard? Several sites can help you rent these items by the day or the hour. Most of the sites will also help you market water-related services, such as captaining the ship, offering fishing and water skiing trips. Your best bets: LakeHop, Boatsetter and GetMyBoat.
One of the benefits of renting out storage space is that these rentals are typically not just for a day. When people store things, they tend to store them long-term. That provides continuing monthly income, without much — if any — additional work.
All you need to rent out storage space is a spare cabinet, garage, attic, shed — or any other clean, dry and securable space in your home or yard. The two best places to list storage space for rent are Neighbor and Stache. You set the rates, terms and availability. They market your space for a small commission.
Unless you’re near a concert hall or sporting venue, renting a parking space is a lot like renting storage space. If someone in your neighborhood needs a garage for their Lamborghini or a space for their RV, they are likely to rent it by the month and simply leave their vehicle in the rented space most of the time. Outside of the original arrangements, there’s not a lot of work involved. CurbFlip, Pavemint and Parqex all encourage people with spare parking to list it for rent.
Swimming pool or yard
Swimply will help you rent your pool or yard to people wanting to take a dip on a hot summer day. Meanwhile, SniffSpot will help you market your yard as a private dog park. All you need is a fenced space and “amenities” like a tennis ball and water bowl.
If you have an RV, you can make a small fortune renting it out when it’s not in use. Three sites help you find renters — Outdoorsy, RVShare and RVnGo. All three have slightly different terms and advantages. Our favorite is Outdoorsy for its combination of good terms, reasonable fees and excellent web traffic (read that as plenty of potential customers). Sign up with Outdoorsy here.
Houses and rooms
You have two basic choices when considering renting out houses and rooms. You can rent them to overnight guests or you can rent them by the hour to people wanting a party venue, filming location or private photo shoot.
When renting to overnight guests, Airbnb is the undisputed industry leader. But, if you want to rent your house for long stretches — i.e. months at a time — we’d recommend SabbaticalHomes. Why? SabbaticalHomes charges a flat fee, rather than a percentage of the rental amount, which can save you and your renter a small fortune. If you want a regular roommate, consider SilverNest, a site that helps you screen long-term renters for your spare bedrooms.
If you want to rent your home by the hour, you also have a multitude of choices. Giggster specializes in connecting homeowners with filmmakers looking for locations. PeerSpace is the leader in listing homes as venues for parties and events. And CozyMeal books homes for private cooking classes and corporate meetings.