Rental On Me: A Community Closet

Instead of having to buy something that everybody else already has, why can’t we just borrow it from people that are willing to let us use it?

Do me a quick favor and take a mental inventory of all the possessions in your house. There are things you use everyday (television, homemade ice cream machine, guitar), there are things you use somedays (pull-up bar, shower, grill) and there are things you never use (anything given to you by your in-laws, treadmill, books). If you think long, hard and are completely honest with yourself, you’ll realize the majority of your belongings are dead weight dragging you steadily towards the abyss.

Now, before you overreact and throw away 90 percent of your life’s work, let me tell you about Rental On Me.

“Rental On Me is basically a closet for the community,” founder Spencer Finch said in a recent interview with Beehive Startups. “People can put stuff on the website that they have but don’t use all the time, and make extra cash by renting it out.”

Here’s the lowdown: all those things you seldom use, the things that clutter your house and make you feel worthless beyond all belief, can finally start earning their keep. Those snowshoes you bought and use once a year? Post them on Rental On Me and let somebody else pay $7 a day to borrow them. That 3-D printer you purchased to create transcendent and timeless art, but then never touched again? Throw it on Rental On Me, earn a couple dollars, then use that money to purchase somebody else’s transcendent and timeless art.

“For spring break, we had a kid rent out a GoPro and went to the Caribbean and another girl rented out some backpacking gear and a solar panel, then went to the Grand Canyon,” Finch said. “It’s just a cheaper way to use stuff, instead of having to buy it, if you’re only going to use it a couple of times.”

Rental On Me isn’t limited to tangible objects. Services can also be rented out on the website, but please don’t rent out anything your parents wouldn’t approve of. If you’re a magician, don’t be afraid to sell your wizardry, or if you’re a musician, let the world partake of your music (for a price, of course — nothing in this world is truly free).

“People can rent items, but they can also rent out their services,” Finch said. “If you’re a photographer, or you’re an expert at something, we’ve even had one lady list crocheting lessons. It’s really versatile and it’s up to the user to put what they want on there.”

Users on the site can post items and request rentals from other users — if the person is too shady for your liking, simply deny their request. Messaging takes place within the site, where people interested in transactions can set up a meeting place. And don’t worry about lost, stolen, or damaged goods, because Rental On Me has you covered.

“We provide protection in case of damage, theft, or loss,” Finch said. “We have an automatic contract that is built up in the site that protects your stuff. If they damage it, you’ll be fine. If they take it, you’ll be fine.”

As a current student at Utah State University, Finch is concentrating on building the Rental On Me community in Logan and surrounding areas, with plans to expand beyond in the coming months. Because everybody, everywhere, would like to partake of the benefits from a community closet.

“Instead of having to buy something that everybody else already has, why can’t we just borrow it from people that are willing to let us use it?” Finch asked.

Published 4/1/2015

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