Think of stuff you can rent, and three things probably come to mind: apartments, movies (but these days, why even pay?) and cars (traditionally or Zipped). That’s about it for the usual suspects. We can pretty much guarantee a “DIY Seafood Boil Kit” wasn’t within a nautical mile of coming to mind. But you know where we’re going here: The boil kit, of course, is rentable too—for $20 a day. And you and your crawfish dinner will be hooking up on Snapgoods (Own less. Do more.), a brand new Brooklyn-based rental site for whatever you might need… for however long you need it.
As an e-marketplace for renting randomly useful items—everything from running strollers to video-recording eye glasses—Snapgoods isn’t a trailblazer. Rental sites have been around for years, based all over the world. And they all work about the same way (Snapgoods included): Lenders post items for a daily or weekly price, renters search for their desired goods (wherever they’re located), and that much-needed counterbalance lift is just clicks away.
Snapgoods is Brooklyn-born and bred—which we for one appreciate—and it’s clearly putting early efforts into making its local users comfortable. Check out the “how it works” page for starters, and it looks more like a hand-drawn Brooklyn indie film than international e-marketplace—which is what some of the other rental sites out there are: international marketplaces, based somewhere far, far away. You may be able to search for goods on the next street over, but you’re going to have to change the site to English first.
Sign-up with Snapgoods and your very first offer is to connect with your Meetup and Facebook groups. You can decline, of course (you’re probably rightfully leery of yet another site up in your business). But Snapgoods’ point is that if you’re renting out your Garmin GPS for some extra cash ($10 a day), you want some assurance that you’ll have it back for next month’s Costco run. And even if you don’t connect at first, you can start forming your own Snapgoods groups over time, or join the site’s own internal groups, like “Downtown BK,” “New York Snowboarding” or… Brokelyn!
As the site’s Brooklynite of a co-founder and CEO, Ron Williams, puts it, “Snapgoods facilitates swaps within communities… We’re working with local businesses and brands to give trial access to brand new products (for pick up locally) and places like Building on Bond that function as community exchange places.”
As for the nitty-gritty of safety and security, Snapgoods works with the security of Paypal, and all lending and borrowing is done in-person. At all stages of the rental process, there’s opportunity for communication, feedback and reviews. And if a problem does arise, whether it’s a no-show lender or damaged goods, there’s always the threat of suspension… and that time-tested safety net, the security deposit. Here’s the site’s FAQ, for all the details.
The money-making SOP for rental sites is to take a cut of renters’ asking prices, or charge annual fees for listings and services. Snapgoods doesn’t charge for now (the site’s still in closed Beta, which we’ll tell you about in a minute), but they may do so down the road, “probably in the realm of 3-5% of whatever fee [lenders] set for their goods,” Williams says. Snapgoods may also let businesses offer discounted alternatives based on your rentals, along the lines of “Hey! You just rented a mountain bike, would you like to keep that one or try this one?” Williams says.
For now though, the site’s free and ready for a test run… for you, that is, as a member of the Brokelyn family. Click to Snapgoods through this story, and you’ll automatically get in, past the Beta blocker, with a special Brokelyn invite. Go one step further and sign-up, and you’ll be a member of Snapgoods’ Brokelyn group (where the crockpots await).