Peer-to-Peer Rentals--Own Less Stuff, Make Cash With What You Do Own

Teeter totter representing peer to peer rentalsImagine you live in a neighborhood of gardeners, each of whom owns a rototiller they use once or twice a year. Seems wasteful, doesn't it? A new movement via the Internet, peer-to-peer rentals, is a possible answer to this waste.

Peer-to-peer rentals allows you to rent out rentable stuff in your household that you don't use every day, from circular saws to party supplies, cars to designer purses. Several sites function as the middlemen to make the transaction as failproof and risk-controlled as possible.

One such service, Zilok, began in Europe but has recently spread to the U.S.How does it work? Suppose you own a Flip video camera. You can go onto the Zilok site and offer it for rent at whatever daily rate you choose. When a potential renter, surfing the site by location, decides to rent your camera, he pays Zilok a retainer fee and is given your contact info. You and he arrange the handover of cash and Flip from that point on. Zilok keeps the retainer fee as its share of the transaction.

WalletPop had a chance via email to discuss this service with its CEO, Gary Cigé.

Q: Any statistics reflecting current volume of use?

A: "Today, in France, we have around 200,000 items available for 100,000 members (owner of stuff or just renter). More than 1,500 professionals have joined us and we have around 6,000 transactions/contacts per month (by phone, by quote request, or by direct booking with the payment of a retainer fee). In the U.S., the numbers are not really relevant for the moment but we do have around more than 100,000 items already online throughout the U.S. but the majority is in California."

Q: How far along are you in cultivating the market in the U.S.?

A: "We're building a team as we speak since the phenomenon is taking off in Europe and the U.S., because of a lot of factors (disappearance of the sense of ownership, the financial crisis, etc), should answer in the same way."

Q: What are your most commonly rented items?

A: "High tech, baby stuff, individual cars, Do it Yourself tools, event material."

Q: How much money can a renter earn through this process?

A: "Most of our active members do earn every month more than €500 per month by renting out their stuff. Some even more."

Zilok also accepts listings from businesses, so keep an eye on that as you browse, if renting from an individual is important to you.

Zilok is not alone in the peer-to-peer rental field, either; Rentalic and Irent2u, among others, offer similar opportunities to convert some of your dormant equipment into cash.
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