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This is a guest post provided by Fat Lama, the fastest growing peer-to-peer rental marketplace in the world. The “Airbnb” of your stuff but instead of renting nights at someones house, it is renting someone’s stuff or renting out your own stuff. How cool!
As 2018 dawns many of us will be feeling the post-Christmas financial pinch. But though you might be doing ‘dry-January’, that doesn’t mean that your wallet has to be barren also.
We have all heard of the titan of the sharing economy, Airbnb, which allows people to make money out of their spare rooms or flats. However, for those of us who don’t have a room to spare and would rather empty our flats of a few people than fill them, there’s still an opportunity to take a slice of the sharing economy.
In 2016,Fat Lama, an online peer-to-peer rental platform was launched. They took on the Airbnb mentality of accessing unused commodities (in Airbnb’s case: rooms) and applied it to something we all have – spare stuff. From that coffee machine that someone gave you for Christmas (even though they know you are a tea drinker), to the smoke machine you bought for the best flat party ever, most people will have the household equivalent of a one-hit-wonder lying around gathering dust. Fat Lama is a platform (available across the UK and USA) that allows us to turn these otherwise neglected items into cash by renting them in your local area. Thereby making your household goods into financial assets.
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Sound too good to be true? Here’s how it works:
Once you’ve registered as a lender on Fat Lama, you begin the serious business of making some extra cash by listing anything that you have lying about for rental to people nearby.
Everyday objects, such as a ‘Henry Hoover’, are making between $6.78 – $16.27 per day, whilst professional equipment like Pioneer XDJ 700 & DJM450 Decks and Mixer 1200 can make $169.35 per day. This can be so cost-effective that some people are making back the original purchase money on their belongings within two or three rentals. Though items are registered by the day, the site allows for longer-term rental rates of either per week or per month. Borrowers simply have to request the dates they want an item for, await the lender’s approval, and hey presto: your old bike is now your gym membership fund.
Fat Lama can cater for lenders on different scales. Whilst some London-based lenders are making up to £3,700 per month (equating to a significant yearly salary of £44,400/ $60,215). There’s also room for single-time lenders to make a significant difference to their income through relatively irregular rents. Take Kirstie – a fine-art graduate who is now working full-time in marketing. She no longer needs her projector so has put it on Fat Lama for a daily rate of £13 ($17.63) per day.
She told us, “Renting out my projector has worked fantastically for me. My first rental was a week-long which made me £90 ($122) in cash. This was enough to cover my bills for the month! The guy who borrowed it lived locally so it was easy to arrange a time to hand it over/ return it. Honestly, the easiest money I have ever made”.
I’m not necessarily suggesting that you all throw in your day jobs and put all your belongings on Fat Lama, but as Kirstie’s story shows, even one-off hires can make a huge difference to your monthly accounts.
But how can I trust strangers to look after my stuff?
Having lived in an all girls flat at University, where the contents of our wardrobes were a form of sharing economy of their own. I am well aware of the irritation of having a once-loved possession returned to you in a state far from its former glory (and potentially with a fag burn in it). And so, though the idea of applying the principles of the sharing economy to household objects seems like a no-brainer, and, frankly, something we should have all thought of a long time ago. This was the one doubt that sprang to mind: If I know what sort of unreliable rogues my friends are, how can I trust a stranger with my stuff?
Transactions on Fat Lama are structured so that borrowers are accountable for damages or non-returns, and lenders are double-covered by the platform’s insurance policy (courtesy of XL Catlin) which covers their items up to the value of $33,905. So you can rest easy knowing that possessions are probably safer in the hands of strangers than they are at home.
Saving Everybody Money.
As we have seen, Fat Lama offers a viable option for people with spare stuff to make a bit (or a lot) of extra cash. But the beauty of this idea, for those of us on a budget, is that it is a completely two-way process. Not only are people making money, but they are saving other people cash in the process. No longer do freelance photographers need to buy all their equipment for a one off shoot or pay a premium from a rental shop; no more must you splash the cash on a tuxedo you will wear once or pay exorbitant rates for high street hire.
Research has shown that the millennial generation is far more likely to invest money in experiences over goods. Rental platforms like Fat Lama allow us to experience things we could never afford to buy. This caters for the adventurous types amongst us (how about renting a VW Campervan for £80/ $108.50 a day?) as well as the tech enthusiasts, who can easily test out the latest drone without having to invest the cash.
So despite the January blues, it seems that 2018 might be the year that ushers in a new spending mentality. You don’t have to give in to the limitations of your salary: if a spa weekend is beyond your means perhaps hiring an inflatable hot tub is not? If we learn to look at our possessions in a different light – as lending commodities rather than private possessions – then perhaps we can all experience a little more this year.
Who / What is Fat Lama?
You can reach them on their site or on social media: