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.