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Rewarded for Respect

Operating a two-sided marketplace, like Fretish, can be a complicated thing.  First you need to find a supply of cool musical instruments.  This can be a challenge.  Then, almost simultaneously, you need to notify the right set of musicians that there is cool gear to be played.  Also, not an easy task.  But, having built and operated digital brands over the past 20 years – including AOL Instant Messenger, Monster.com and CoachUp – you become adept at overcoming marketplace challenges.

What feels unique about this latest endeavor is how central the role of respect must play – on all sides of the marketplace.  A culture of respect is required to make Fretish successful and sustainable.  And this culture must be shared by all participants: the company, the supply side of the marketplace (instrument owners and guitar builders) and the demand side of the marketplace (the renters and buyers of equipment).

Why is respect so important?  Because it directly benefits you (the Fretish member), regardless of which side of the marketplace you reside.  If you are a guitar player and are respectful, then you’ll get to experience playing that really cool guitar.  And, you’ll receive a positive review which will make other owners interested in renting to you.  If you are an instrument owner and are respectful, then you’ll earn money from your collection.  And you too will receive positive reviews.  For the company, respect is central to the brand identity.  If musicians don’t feel – at a gut level – that Fretish is a company dedicated to respect, for people and musical instruments, then the foundation for a sustainable business does not exist.

Some examples of practicing respect:

Players (renters or buyers)

  • When making a rental request, suggest possible times and location for pick up (if location hasn’t been specified on the instrument details page).
  • Respond promptly to owner inquiries.
  • Provide complete answers.
  • Be on time for instrument pick up and drop off.
  • Take extremely good care of the instrument while it is in your possession.
  • Thank the owner for entrusting you with their instrument.
  • If you are seeking to negotiate a lower price on gear that is for sale, don’t engage in endless debate on “what the instrument is worth”.  Succinctly present an alternative offer.  If the owner says “no thanks”, then consider the negotiation concluded.  Don’t pester the instrument owner.
  • Make sure to leave a review of the transaction so that other Fretish users know if this was a good experience or not.

Owners

  • Make sure to complete the payment settings on your account when listing instruments.  Users cannot rent from you until you complete those steps – nor can you get paid.
  • Respond promptly to player inquiries.
  • If your instrument is unavailable for rent or sale, then either a) update the availability of the instrument on your availability calendar or b) de-list the instrument from the site.
  • Inspect the instrument before it is delivered for rent.  Are the electronics working as they should?  Are the strings (relatively) new?  Is the guitar in tune?  Has it been wiped off with a soft cloth?  Yes, to all of the above?  Great!
  • Be on time for instrument pick up an drop off.
  • Make sure to leave a review of the transaction so that other Fretish users know if this was a good experience or not.

If you ever encounter a disrespectful experience on Fretish, let us know here https://fretish.com/en/user_feedbacks/new so we can address the issue as soon as possible.

photo credit: BET

How To

How To: Prepare Your Instrument for Rent

So, you’ve joined Fretish™.  Listed an instrument.  Someone made a rental request.  And you’ve accepted the request.  Congratulations!

Now what?

To ensure that the person renting your instrument is satisfied with the transaction and, as importantly, that you receive a positive review once the rental is complete, you should consider taking the following steps:

  • Clean the guitar.  Are there fingerprints on the finish?  Is there “gunk” between the bridge and the pickups?  Are the tuning machines looking a bit tarnished?  Now is the perfect time to use an air duster, an extra soft toothbrush and/or a soft cloth to gently remove any schmutz.
  • Change the strings.  Use your judgment on this.  If the strings were changed within the past three months and the instrument has only been played a few times, it may not be necessary to completely change the strings.  But, if you cannot recall the last time you changed the strings or there is obvious wear (signs of rust or sections where the nickle is worn down), just do the right thing – change all the strings.  Also, make sure that if you’ve listed a particular gauge string in your Fretish listing (i.e., .11 high E), that the replacement strings match what you have “advertised”.
  • Confirm that your pick ups and volume/tone knobs are in working order.  (Obviously, this only applies to electric guitars.)  Plug in your guitar to a functioning amplifier.  Run through all the settings on  your instrument – neck pick up, bridge pick up, any other pick ups and all the different configurations your instrument supports (neck and bridge pick ups simultaneously engaged, etc.).  Are the pick ups working?  Is the volume working?  Is the tone working?  If not, get thee to a guitar repair person – prior to the rental.
  • Tune the guitar.  Before meeting the renter at the pick up location, make sure the instrument is in tune.  It’s the little things that make a transaction go from good to great.
  • Document your good work with a short video or set of pictures.  Whether you choose to share all the steps you’ve taken prior to the rental with the person renting the guitar is up to you.  But, at a minimum, it’s a nice way to keep a record for yourself of the shape the instrument was in each and every time you rent out your gear.
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.