If the vision of three Bay Area entrepreneurs succeeds, all that idle outdoor gear in your closet could gather you some dollars instead of gathering dust.
WeekendSwap.com is a new website dreamed up by a group of recent college grads that enables outdoorsfolk to rent their gear to others in need of a backpacking stove, surfboard, mountain bike or anything else you’re not using this weekend.
It works like this: You set a per-day price for an item you’d like to rent, post it on the site, and set a deposit amount. (A couple of backpacking stoves listed on the site, for example, go for $7 per day and have a deposit of $80-$90). When someone signs up to rent your item, you receive the full amount, minus a nine percent transaction fee. If the borrower damages your item — say, rips a hole in your tent — you have the ability to charge them a portion of the deposit (or the entire deposit if they don’t bring the item back).
Cody Chapman was one of the site’s first registered users. He compares Weekend Swap’s idea to vacation rentals by owner (VRBO), and says he posted items he’s not worried about losing — he owns two pairs of snowshoes and put one pair on the site for loan. He’ll borrow a SUP board for $25 a day for the two times a month he wants to use one, instead of spending $1,000 on a new one.
Around 80 users have signed up so far, almost all in the Bay Area. Similar to eBay, the site has a ratings system for items and for users to help vet quality of both. The founders, Rob Culliton, Zio Ziegler, and Justin Lucas, hope to reach critical mass in the San Francisco area and then have it spread — a la CraigsList — to other cities as users sign up and post items from their hometowns throughout the U.S.
“It’s definitely a site aimed at bringing out the best in people, and I know for many the idea will take a little while to get used to,” Culliton says. “Our main motivation is to get people outside and, we hope, to be able to offer a selection of gear from individuals that is much more affordable and extensive than traditional rental agencies.”
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