How To

How To: Set Up a Really Good Listing

You’ve heard about Fretish.  You’ve visited the site.  You’ve joined (it is free).  And now you’ve decided to list one of your musical instruments (which is also free).  So far, so good.

But, how do you maximize the quality of your listing to get the most clicks on the Rent button?  Here are some tips:

  1. List one instrument per post.  Highlighting your entire collection, or even just two pieces of gear, in a single listing is a recipe for confusion and dissatisfaction.  It’s also true that consumer response drops dramatically when people are given a choice between multiple items to pick from versus a single item.
  2. Before photographing your instrument, clean it.  Does it have finger prints on the body?  Give it a quick wipe with a cloth.  Are there any broken strings?  Replace them with new strings.  If it looks like you take good care of your gear, then other people will feel compelled to take good care of it.
  3. Post multiple high quality pictures of the instrument being offered.  Show the front of the guitar, the back of the guitar, the body, the neck, the head stock.  A separate blog post will go into greater detail on what constitutes “high quality”, but here’s a quick rule of thumb: If a picture is blurry, dark or shot from 10+ feet from your instrument, then it’s not a high quality picture.  And, as a general rule, don’t use manufacturer or stock images of your instrument.
  4. Write a succinct, accurate title.  This will typically include the year the instrument was made, the brand, the model, the country of origination and any distinctive upgrades or accessories. For example: 2018 Fender American Professional Series Telecaster with Bigsby.  The finish of the instrument (blonde, sunburst, etc.) can, of course, be included.  But, if you have decent pictures, including the finish in the title may be redundant.
  5. Describe the guitar with facts and relevant anecdotes.  What type of wood is the body made from?  What type of wood is the neck?  The fretboard?  What type of pick ups does the instrument have?  How many settings on the pick up selector switch?  Are there any mechanical or aesthetic issues with the instrument?  Be honest.  Potential renters really need to know these things.  Then, there is information that isn’t critical to know, but may draw the reader in, such as: When did you buy the guitar?  Are you the original owner?  Do you take any special care when storing the instrument?
  6. Embed a YouTube video of you playing the instrument.
  7. Don’t be afraid to detail the conditions of who you will or will not rent to.  Don’t want your instrument to be played at a gig?  Say so.  Don’t want your instrument in the home of a smoker?  Say so.  Set clear guidelines of your expectations as an owner about how and where your instrument should be played.
  8. Set a price.  The price you set for your instrument will have an obvious impact on a person’s willingness to rent.  There are many ways to approach this, so let’s tackle this topic in greater detail in a future blog post.
  9. Provide a specific, accurate pick up/drop off location.  When renting out an instrument through Fretish, it is strongly encouraged to fulfill orders through in-person pick up and drop off only.  Shipping instruments for short term rent can be costly and have other unintended consequences.  The pick up/drop off location you choose is entirely up to you.  Most people select a safe, public venue (e.g., Public Library, Police Station, etc.) for their pick up/drop off location.  Sometimes exact locations are not provided as part of a listing.  This approach has downsides.  For example, when people conduct a search by city or town (and you haven’t provided an accurate or specific pick up location), your instrument may not appear in the search results.
  10. Share your fabulous new listing to your social media accounts.  Let your network know you have gear to rent.
How To

How To: Maximize Good Rental Experiences (For Instrument Owners)

It’s not uncommon for me to hear from guitar owners, when I tell them about the peer-to-peer music instrument marketplace Fretish, “I could never rent my instrument to someone else.  I’d be too afraid something bad would happen.”  Fair enough.  Some musicians may never be open to join the “sharing economy” when it comes to their precious gear.  In fact, I do not list all of my instruments for rent on Fretish.

However, almost every guitarist I’ve spoken to over the past year has either borrowed an instrument from a friend, or conversely, has let a friend borrow one of their instruments.  This willingness to share gear among musician friends has been reinforced in surveys conducted by Fretish where 80+% of guitar owners have confirmed to have let a friend/acquaintance borrow an instrument.  So, what explains this disconnect?  Borrow = OK, Rent = Panic Room?  Perhaps the root issue is fear of the worst case scenario.  That’s valid.  And there are ways to mitigate risk.

For those musicians who are open to renting out their gear, here are some of the options (and tools) available to you which increase the likelihood of a pleasant and satisfactory renting experience:

  • Only rent to people you know and trust.  (i.e., those same friends you let borrow your gear for free)
  • Only rent to people who have previously rented through Fretish before and who have high feedback ratings.
  • Structure the rental period to be supervised (at a location and time duration of your choosing).
  • Only offer in-person pick up/drop off when renting.
  • An Owner has up to 3 days to review a rental booking request. During that time they can communicate with a potential renter through the Fretish messaging system. Ask them anything (e.g., Are there small children in your household? Is your place climate controlled? Are you a smoker?). If something doesn’t feel right, then they have every right to reject the rental request.

Also, don’t start by listing your “crown jewels” for rent.  Ease your way into the process of renting. Start by listing an instrument of modest value from your collection. If you’re pleased with the transactions you have had with the less-precious instrument, then start adding instruments of greater value.

Lastly, if you absolutely, positively do not want to rent your gear on Fretish, you do have the option list the instruments for outright sale.