Thursday, January 26, 2012
RENT OUT ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE
Gee, what this guy did fascinates us.
Rob Baedeker needed money so he put ad on Craig's list, offering to rent out his camping trailer for $45 a night. He was doing what Airbnb.com does -- it's a website that rents space in people's homes where you can stay -- it's less expensive, often nicer than staying in a hotel in some of the big cities.
Was Rob desperate for money?
No. What I read, and learned about him (from Twitter, Newsweek, and the video below), is that he and his wife are both writers and editors. They have a four-year-old daughter, live in a three room rented bungalow. Their camping trailer is parked next to it. Rob wanted extra money for a vacation, and wanted to start saving money for their daughter's college education.
Rob got two offers -- one wanted the trailer for four nights, the other -- because the trailer wasn't available, decided to sleep on an air mattress in Bob's home office -- four nights at $25 per night. Rob checked out credit and references. He liked both customers. He definitely liked the extra $280. Later, he rented out a weed-whacker, his sander, his car, his dog, his guitar, his daughter's bike, her red wagon, even a stay at his house.
Now he's even renting out himself as a life counselor. (Look out shrinks, this may be a trend that'll cost you guys big money).
Is this a trend -- making money from things you aren't using? Perhaps it is. Other new websites are offering "collaborative consumption"-- ways to connect with folks who will rent out their cars, couches, personal services are on Rentalic.com, Snapgood.com, even dinosaur costumes or clay-pigeon launchers at $12 per day on Zilok.com.
The financial crisis seems to have inspired a new kind of resourcefulness. Aside from our awareness of the environmental consequences of things like plastic bags, throwaway stuff is becoming important. Perhaps our grandparent's "waste not-want not " maxim is coming back into vogue.
A book, "What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption," (by Botsman & Rogers) tells us that people who gain access to things they want without owning them will also "make new friends; and become active citizens once again."
"Gee, what could we rent out?" my husband and I asked each other.'' Sound equipment? Ours is high level professional, not portable, but it thunders, whispers, roars and rocks the house. Hmm. When cars, playing loud music, drive by our house -- dammit-- I hate it, I feel invaded, I cover my ears. Renting out our sound equipment is a dissonant loud NO Way!
Rent out our studio theater with its 65 seats for exercise? For a play reading?
Only if the renter provided assistants -- one on the downstairs door, one in the hall so strangers couldn't wander into our living quarters. But my dance floor -- gee -- shoes leave scratch marks. And there's just one lavatory ... Nope, renting the studio is out.
Okay -- what about my kitchen?
My kitchen is a fun place to cook.
I've got everything a cook needs.
All kinds of gadgets.
New huge fridge.
A great dining table.
It's shaped like a mushroom
and seats four to ten.
I've got marvelous dinnerware -- oversize plates, bowls, cups, saucers ... but actually they are not dishwasher safe.
Okay. what about our green living room.
Summer-green floor and matching summer-green ceiling.
Mirrors, big bird cage for our pigeon ...
Gee, the white porch furniture ...
Oh dear ...
The brown and dark red room where we film our videos? Golly, it would take me an hour to explain where things are and what NOT to use.
Of course I could lend/rent out my books if I knew the reader wouldn't eat while reading, and leave-grease spots.
NO. Grease spots on books are repulsive. We don't need the money. But if we did, well ... I could rent out me as a cook, or Dr. Em as a listener-adviser? Maybe we could barter -- if you, the renter, clean the four hallways and vacuum all the stairs in our building, you can rent JC and me out as guests, scintillating guests could spice up your party.
Hmm. Of course, we'd need to know who's coming to your party. Relatives? Kids? How many guests, how old -- we'd need to know in advance, how long we'd have to stay...
I'm sorry I mentioned barter. Please don't make us an offer. Maybe renting out aspects of your life is an option for you, but NOT for me, or JC.
Hey, here's Rob, maybe you can do what he did.