Rent your way out of the credit crunch online
By Sarah Marsh
FRANKFURT (Reuters Life!) - Don't let that Prada handbag, your camera and the rollerblades you never use gather dust in your closet. Put them to work on the rental market.
A growing breed of online marketplaces offering to rent everything from baby prams to bulldozers have seen a boom in business as the credit crunch bites from consumers and companies discovering the rental market can save and make you money.
Online rental marketplaces provide an Internet platform for individuals and hire companies to rent out their wares -- like a rental version of eBay.
Gary Cige, 28, co-founder of Zilok (uk.zilok.com), says individuals are renting out more and more of their personal belongings to earn pocket money.
A Paris-based member of his website has rented his single lens reflex camera out several times, earning around 800 euros ($1,015) in 9 months. Another member has made around 600 euros in 3 to 4 months by renting his camera, roller blades and game console.
Cige says the website has been growing around 25 percent a month since it was founded one year ago, and he thinks the credit crisis will likely boost growth.
"People have difficulties making ends meet at the end of the month, they try to find ways to save money and to earn a little more," he said.
Items available for rent on Zilok include dog costumes, a candy floss maker and an inflatable castle. Continued...