Own Things You Don't Use? Rent Them to Others with Rentalic

By April 12, 2010

Some people have a lot of stuff. Others don’t. Rentalic gives each side the chance to profit from this, enabling people to rent their possessions or services to others. Users can also request things that they need to use

for a limited time. For example, right now a San Francisco user is trying to find a scanner to digitize bank statements and tax records, while a Los Angeles user is looking for a soldering iron they can rent on a daily or weekly basis.

Renters pay via PayPal and meet the owners to get the items.

Advantages of the service are that it reduces consumption – so it gets the green push – it also raises the value of possessions for owners and allows renters to find inexpensive items.

There are some big barriers to adoption, like trusting strangers with your possessions. As with most sites, Rentalic uses a reputation-based system to rate lenders and borrowers. Items are not insured, which can be prohibitive for some lenders. A security deposit can be placed upon items, though.

The selling point is that Rentalic is green, but what could cause the service to be big is that possessions are unevenly distributed, and a lot of spending (and manufacturing) power is wasted on one-off purchases. People buy tools they use for only one job or equipment for hobbies they never pursue. There is a potential mass economy in exchanging these items.

Last month, Rentalic won the PayPal X Developer Challenge at last month’s DEMO. It is currently in public beta.

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