EPISODE 68 ~ MAKE MORE: Don’t Resent Your Unused Clutter, Rent It Out!

In the sharing economy, it’s possible to tap into your belongings and make money off of them. Nobody knows this better than my next guest. Ryan Cush is one of the founders of Loanables, established in 2006, and he also uses the site regularly to rent out his own stuff. Welcome to Easy Money, Ryan!

First, just in case some folks aren’t familiar, describe what Loanables.com is.
Loanables is a website where people can list things they want to rent out and other people can rent those items instead of buying them. You should rent anything you use less than 3 times per year. Rent for amazing parties, great experiences, to try the latest gadgets, and to get the job done. If you can buy it, you can rent it. We are helping reduce overconsumption by making it as easy to rent as it is to buy.

How did you get the idea for Loanables?
I have been involved in Loanables since the beginning and helped get it going in Austin. It’s always been a hobby. You see all this stuff sitting around the garage not being used and it seemed like such a waste. This was before Air BnB. I just thought someone could use this.

How easy is it to make money via Loanables?
It is super easy. Take a couple of pictures. Put stuff on the site. Get an email or text when they want to use it. You can get cash or check. It only takes a few minutes to meet someone and give them the item.

People listening will wonder: have renters ever damaged any of your belongings?
So far people have taken good care of my stuff. These days I don’t even collect a security deposit. I look at the person and they usually return it cleaner than when I came out. With a fishing boat I had a guy back it into something and he paid to fix the cracked tail light but that is it.

Are you usually a pretty good judge of what will be a popular rental? Or have there been some surprises?
These days the most popular stuff I rent out isn’t what I thought. I rent a pop up canopy ($50/week) takes five minutes and has paid for itself many times over. I rent out animal traps ($5/day-minimum 2 to 30 days) $30 for a week. The first one was always getting rented so I bought a bigger one and it rents all the time. I also rent a couple power tools but haven’t been nearly as popular. I thought that would be the most popular.

What are some of the most lucrative items other people rent out?
Projectors and metal detectors get a lot of play. There was one guy back when I was more involved. He rented out a video projector. Rented it all the time – almost every week and he did really well off of that.

Any crazy stories of things other users have rented out?
There was a lady who rented out her dog and a woman who rented out a horse. One of my neighbors – a high school kid – bought a car top carrier at a garage sale and rented it out as a money maker.

So, how much money would you estimate you’ve made renting stuff out via Loanables?
I don’t keep track . It used to show on the site. My total earnings at the time were several thousand over all time. It’s not enough money to live off but extra gas money and hanging out money. If it is something you use a lot you could use money to buy another. Best part is when an item pays for itself.

OK, let’s share some of your expert tips with people so they can try this themselves. I’ll state the tip and you explain it. First, you say to post a bunch of stuff and see what sticks. Why?
I would say take a little time and post a bunch of stuff and see what sticks. You never know. The thing you think nobody wants is the thing people want.

And, second, you say be sure to take good pictures of your items. Why have you found that to be important?
Important to have pictures so they can see what they are getting.

And, finally, you say start your prices low and then work up from there. What’s the idea there?

Price wise I recommend starting on low end of what you think and if it rents a lot you can raise but that way you can find out what people want.

Rent out your clutter on: loanables.com

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