Rentrepreneur: Renting Your Stuff to Make a Living

Selling your junk on eBay is SO last decade. The new way to get money for all the stuff you've accumulated throughout the years is to rent them.

In his Newsweek article, Rob Baedeker tells us how he makes money hand over fist by renting stuff he wasn't using anyway (and that includes his dog Berkeley):

Call me a rentrepreneur, one of the growing ranks of Americans who, in a postbinge economy, are finding creative ways to make a quick buck by hiring out their personal belongings. The movement is being fueled by a slew of new startups catering to what some are calling “collaborative consumption.” There are now sites to connect people who want to rent out their cars, couches, personal services, dinosaur costumes or clay-pigeon launchers ($12 per day on For renters, the sites offer goods and services for a relative bargain (weekly rates for a rental car where I live in Berkeley, Calif., can be twice what I charged). More than that, they’re a chance to bypass corporate America at a time when corporate America is in the dog house. Why endure the long waits, high prices, and surly staff at your big-box tool-rental counter when you can pick up Rob Baedeker’s electric sander for a song—and go home with a smile?

There’s a virtue in this business, too, part of a postrecession shift from a throw-away society to a new economy of reuse. My customers might be in the 99 percent, but they’re not broke or unemployed. Same goes for my fellow rentrepreneurs. Yet after witnessing the fallout from a half-century-long frenzy of conspicuous consumption, a whole generation of us is now reexamining the long-forgotten “waste not” maxim exemplified by the sugar-packet-saving thriftiness of our grandparents. I can almost hear my Depression-hardened Nana speaking to me from the grave: “You’ve got all this crap lying around, man. Put it to use!”

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