Access Economy Startup Allows People to Rent Each Others Stuff

ban-startup-friday

RentStuff.com, a new “access economy” startup, allows you to rent your things to others and make money. According to the site, it’s a “marketplace where you can rent *almost* anything.”

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you needed a four person tent and ended up buying one on Craigslist because you didn’t want to fork out $400 for a brand new one, but then found out the one on Craigslist had a giant hole in the screen, then you probably can guess the value of Rentstuff.com.

Collaborative consumption, the basic tenet of the “access economy” basically allows people to get by with owning less “stuff”. It’s also a great money saver, as most of the time our “stuff” is sitting idle. So on RentStuff, you can rent your neighbor’s circular saw. Because…how often do you actually need a circular saw?

So how does RentStuff work?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsrdwzTPePU

The concept is nice, but adoption is slow. I searched for a circular saw near me (not that I need one at the moment, but it’s nice to know that it could be there if I did), and didn’t find one. Then I searched for a bike. Nope. Then I searched for a car. Nope. Then I just searched for anything in Hawaii. Nada.

As usual, trendy concepts like this take off in major metro areas first, but even in hip and trendy San Francisco, there were only 19 items for rent.

Will RentStuff last?

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Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.