12 ways to make money renting out your stuff
With unemployment in the stratosphere, it may be comforting to know that you can make money without a job. Here are 12 ways to rent your possessions. Some of them are highly lucrative.
“We have people making $3,000 or $4,000 renting out things that they already own,” says Stefan Cordova, founder of FriendWithA, a rental platform that specializes in high-end sporting goods. “You also get to share the gear that you love with like-minded individuals.”
It doesn’t matter whether you own big things, such as houses and cars, or little things, such as camera equipment and tools. There’s a platform to help you market it for rent.
Before you begin
But before you rent out anything, you should have a conversation with your insurance agent. Renting assets to others presents unique risks that are unlikely to be covered by your standard home and auto policies.
For instance, if your household possessions are stolen under normal circumstances, they’d be covered by homeowner’s insurance. But, if a person you were renting household items to doesn’t return them, you are not covered for the theft. Why? Most policies have a “voluntary parting” clause that says you’re not covered when you voluntarily hand something over for someone else to use.
By the same token, if a friend has an accident while using your house or car, you’re covered under a standard home or auto policy. But if your renter has the same problem, you are not. That’s because these policies typically exclude injuries caused by commercial use of your property.
Although some rental platforms automatically provide appropriate insurance coverage when you sign up, most of their policies impose deductibles and other limitations that could prove costly to property owners. Some rental platforms offer no coverage at all.
You can buy your own coverage for both voluntary parting and commercial use of your property, if you need it. But this coverage requires either a separate rider or a separate policy.
Once you figure out the insurance, it’s only a matter of deciding what possessions you’re willing to share and where to list them for rent. Here are 32 platforms that can help you rent out a dozen types of possessions, from swimming pools to storage space.
Got kids? Then chances are good that you’ve also got high chairs, car seats and cribs. If the kids are now toddlers, you’ve probably also got board books, puzzles, scooters and slides. These trappings of a happy childhood are exactly the things that families traveling with little ones need but find difficult to cart around the country when they go on vacation.
Enter BabyQuip, a site dedicated to helping families rent out their unused baby gear to other families. The person with baby goods to rent decides what items are available and sets the daily rates for rental and delivery (if provided). BabyQuip takes a fee to market your wares and provide insurance. There’s also a $100 start-up fee, however. So don’t sign up here unless you think you’ll probably stay long enough to recover that cost.
Damage and theft, while rare, are not unheard of on these sites, however. And while ShareGrid has insurance to cover voluntary parting, the policy has limitations. Be sure to record everything you’re renting out, piece by piece. Poor records lead to poor claims experiences.
Five sites promise to rent out your spare car.
Three of these sites — Turo, GetAround and Fetch — rent cars to tourists. Of the three, Turo works best for those who can meet renters in person to hand off the keys. GetAround and Fetch use keyless technology that they charge you to put in your car. It’s not cheap to install, but the keyless technology is convenient when it works. Unfortunately some car owners say it has caused mechanical problems that GetAround has been unwilling to fix. Make sure you find out whether the site will cover a fix if its technology harms your vehicle. And get that promise in writing.
If you have a classic automobile, your best bet is likely to be Giggster, a site that rents houses and cars by the hour to studios and photographers. On this site, instead of renting out your car for, say $25 a day, you rent it for $25 to $100 per hour. Better yet, you can stipulate whether the production company has the right to drive it; if you prefer, it’s used only in still shots.
The only car rental platform that SideHusl.com strongly cautions against is HyreCar, which rents vehicles to Uber and Lyft drivers. Although that clientele often needs long-term rentals, the site’s insurance policy is riddled with holes. That can leave car owners with big losses. (Read our review if you want details.)
Ad space on your car
If you don’t want other people to drive your car, you have another rental option. You can rent the space on your car as a sort of rolling billboard. Sites such as Carvertise, Wrapify and Promotocar will pay you to place placards on your car doors or wrap your car with advertising. You then drive it as usual.
The amount you earn varies by how much of the car is used, the advertiser, the length of the campaign and how much you drive. Ad campaigns are not offered every day, but it’s fairly easy money when they are.
Got a garage full of power tools, power washers or recreation equipment? Five sites will help you list those items for rent: Zilok, RentNotBuy, FatLama and Loanables. Each has a slightly different geographic footprint and fees. The best site or sites (you can list on multiple sites) will depend on where you live.
Houses and rooms
If you have extra space in your home or even a whole guest house or vacation home, there are three distinct options for renting it. You can rent by the month, by the day or by the hour.
Monthly: To find a monthly renter, you can advertise on Craigslist. However, if you want someone who is carefully screened, consider Silvernest and Nesterly. Both sites focus on finding renters for empty nesters. The homeowner sets the rental rate and terms; the sites facilitate screening compatible renters and processing rent payments.
Daily: Airbnb is the industry leader in finding daily rentals for whole homes or even a room in your house. However, there are literally dozens of other sites that will list your home — or rooms in your home — for rent. Most of them charge the homeowner more than Airbnb, however.
Hourly: If you have unique space that you’d be willing to rent out by the hour to photographers, moviemakers and event planners, there are dozens of options. Some of the best: Giggster, Peerspace, Splacer and CozyMeal.
RV owners can list on Outdoorsy and set their own rental rates. The site charges the owner a fee that’s equivalent to 20% to 25% of each rental. That gets you an insurance policy, but there’s a big deductible. So make sure you also request a big deposit from renters to cover possible damages.
If you have a swimming pool, Swimply can help you list it for rent by the hour or day. The site also encourages you to list whether your pool comes with other amenities, such as a barbecue or bathroom access.
Theoretically, FriendWithA is a rental platform for all types of goods. But in reality, this is the place to list (or find) high-end sporting goods, such as electric scooters, bikes and one-wheels. (A one-wheel is a cross between a skateboard and a Segway, propelled by an electric motor that responds to you shifting your weight.)
Got empty shelves in your garage, basement or attic? You can rent out that space to other people who want to store stuff through Neighbor. You set your own rates and pay a modest 5% service fee to the site.
Owners of boats, paddle boards, kayaks or Jet Skis and other watercraft can rent them out through GetMyBoat and Boatsetter. Like most other rental opportunities, you set the rates and terms. When you’re renting a boat, you can even decide whether you’re willing to let someone else be the captain or if you go with the ship, so to speak. And, yes, if you go with the ship, you can also charge for your time.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.
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