Why renting out my stuff just isn’t for me

This month I was supposed to be looking into renting out some of my under used stuff.  I totally failed in getting off the ground with this challenge.
I’ve been too busy thinking about all the potential pitfalls to even try to rent anything out. The thing is that although on the surface it seems really simple to lend someone my stuff in exchange for a bit of cash I’m not so sure it is.
It sounds like a whole load of hassle to me:
  • I would have to find stuff in my home I am happy to rent out.
  • Then I would have to find customers to rent the stuff to. I could use one of the various websites that has been set up to facilitate this, but I can’t find anything listed on them for my local area at all at the moment (i.e. no-one locally is using these sites) so I would probably have to do a fair bit of the work myself to advertise them.
  • Next I would have to co-ordinate meetings with people who want to rent my stuff, put agreements in place over the stuff they rent from me, make sure they paid me and hand over the stuff.
  • If they damaged the stuff or didn’t return it on time (or at all), what would I do?
  • Would I be liable if they had an accident using my stuff and how much would insurance cost to cover that risk?
  • How much would I actually earn (taking into account any expenses like insurance)?
  • Would I make any more money renting things than I would just selling them i.e. if it took me a year to earn in rental what I would have made selling something in one go, is it worth it? At the end of the year is that item going to keep earning me money or not?
On top of all this renting my stuff out seems a bit silly to me because if I wanted to make money by renting stuff out wouldn’t I be better looking into the rental market and working out what people actually want to rent, rather than just randomly seeing if anyone wants to rent any of my old cr*p under used stuff? Also although it seems more eco-friendly to rent out things I don’t use very often actually the eco-friendly less hassle option is to get rid of the stuff I don’t use very often and rent things from other people or organisations if/ when I need them.
From a money making perspective it could be argued that I would be better off financially if I kept the stuff and rented it out rather than got rid of it and paid to borrow if I needed it, but if I sell it:
  • I make a sum of money now
  • I free up space in my home (assuming I have to store the stuff between rentals)
  • I free up a load of time I would have spent renting it out.
It may be that I squander all three of those things, but I could invest the money, rent the space in my home as long term storage space or decide I don’t need such a big home and downsize and spend the time in far more lucrative ways.
The final nail in the coffin for me with this idea is that I just don’t have any interest in it. I don’t feel particularly excited about convincing people to rent stuff in my home that I had pretty much forgotten about until this point.
I completely recognise though that this may be a great idea for someone who has got stuff that it would make sense to rent out or who wants to start up a new niche rental business. This idea is definitely gaining in popularity as can be seen by the growing number of sites that facilitate it e.g. RentythingRent Not BuyZilok and Rent My Items.  It just isn’t for me unfortunately.
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