For rent sign hanging from the side of a building

20 Best Rental Business Ideas You Can Start in Your Spare Time

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Renting things you own is a great way to earn some extra income, especially if you are currently not using them. You already own them, so why not put them to work for you?

Renting stuff you own can be a great side hustle, but it’s also possible to grow it into a full-time business. Rental supply companies, for example, offer many different products that people can rent for a few days or weeks. The rental business is a bigger industry than many realize.

There are many things you may be able to rent out for profit. The following are 20 rental business ideas you may be able to use to make money. This list is only for generating ideas. It does not cover the various aspects of starting and running a business.

If you are considering starting a rental business, consider consulting with SCORE to obtain business mentoring that will help you navigate the startup waters.

Also, if you list your items through any of the websites mentioned in this article, be sure to read and understand all of the terms and conditions, fees, and other important information before doing business with them so there won’t be any surprises. In other words, read the fine print.

1. Almost Anything

The best items to rent are often things that are expensive to buy that people only need on occasion. Most people don’t want to buy a dumpster, for example, if they are demolishing something. They may only need one for a few days or a week or two.

Nevertheless, it’s possible to rent many different things by listing them on websites that specialize in connecting people who need to rent something with people who have something to rent. If you currently aren’t using something in your home, you may be able to rent it to someone who needs it.

Fat Llama is a site that allows you to list many different items for rent.

2. Tools and Equipment

Small tools and other equipment are very popular things to rent out. Many people need the use of a tiller, for example, to till their gardens in the spring before planting. But tillers are expensive. Instead of buying a tiller and only using it once per year, many prefer to rent one instead.

Tool and equipment rental are probably best suited for a brick-and-mortar rental business. You could specialize in renting tools and equipment, or you could combine it with other rental items like event supplies, dumpsters, moving trucks, and storage units.

3. Your Vehicle

Do you have an extra vehicle that you don’t use much? If so, you may be able to rent it out by listing it on a vehicle rental site. These sites are kind of like Airbnb, except for vehicles.

Why would someone need to rent a vehicle? There are many different reasons. Someone may need to rent a car for a week, for example, after flying somewhere for vacation. Someone else may need to rent a truck for a day or two to move furniture and other things.

Turo is a site that specializes in connecting those with vehicles to rent with people who would like to rent them. With Turo, you get to set your own price and rules. If you prefer, you can let Turo set your price for you to maximize your earnings. Different kinds of vehicles can be listed on Turo including cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Fetch is a site that is similar to Turo, except that it specializes in the rental of trucks. People need trucks all the time to haul things. They may need to transport some trees and bushes to their homes for landscaping, for example. Perhaps they need to use a truck for a day or two to haul off some junk.

4. Real Estate

Real estate is a large category with several rental ideas to explore. You can rent apartments, single-family homes, or rent short-term on Airbnb.

Apartment and single-family homes require significant investment capital to get started. Many real estate investors make down payments on the rental properties they buy and use the monthly rental income to make the mortgage payments.

Buying a piece of land and renting out plots for mobile homes is another option to consider. Rental plots aren’t as lucrative as renting homes and apartments, but people are usually responsible for the maintenance of their own mobile homes, so you don’t have to worry about someone calling you over a clogged toilet or leaky faucet.

Being a landlord isn’t for everyone. You have to deal with tenant issues, and things need to be maintained and repaired regularly. Depending on how many rental units you have, being a landlord can also be very time-consuming. It’s possible to use the services of a property management company to take care of your rental units, but they take a cut of your profit.

Another option for renting property is to list it on Airbnb. With Airbnb, you can rent out a small room in your home or you can rent out a full home. People can reserve your room or home for just a few nights or longer.

With Airbnb, all reservations are handled through the platform. Airbnb states on its website that there are over 800,000 Airbnb stays each night, making it a very popular option for travelers.

5. Event Supplies

Renting things for various events is a popular option to consider. For example, many people prefer to rent wedding supplies instead of buying to save money. Examples of things you could rent for weddings include tables and chairs, backdrops, canopies, aisle runners, decorations, and other things.

Renting items for parties is something else to consider. Rental business ideas for parties include bounce houses, lighting, linens, party buses, dance floors, punch bowls, tents, photo booths, and other things.

If you are thinking about starting a business renting event supplies, you will need to rent, lease, or buy a building to house your supplies and do business in. You could potentially combine the rental of event supplies with tool rental and storage unit rental.

6. Parking Spaces

It may be hard for some to believe, but there are some places where people are willing to pay good money for parking spaces. It all just depends on where you live. If you happen to own a desirable parking space, you may be able to rent it out when you aren’t using it.

Spot is a site where you can list your parking spot for rent. The site currently only serves certain cities in the US, so be sure to check and see if your city is listed.

JustPark is similar to Spot except that it only serves those in the UK.

Neighbor is another great option for finding people who are looking for a place to park their vehicles. In addition to renting out your driveway, Neighbor also allows you to rent out your garage, covered parking, or open lot. The platform is a lot like Airbnb for storage. The company’s website states that you can make $50-$300 per month renting out your empty parking space.

7. Boats

Many people enjoy going out on a boat on a nice day to enjoy riding around, go fishing, water ski, and do other activities. But most people don’t own boats. And those that do usually don’t use their boats very often. If you have a boat that you aren’t using, you may be able to earn some money with it by renting it out through a site that specializes in boat rentals.

Boatsetter is an option for listing your boat for rent. An interesting thing about Boatsetter is that it’s also possible to find a boating captain through the site. This is great for those without boating experience.

GetMyBoat is another option for listing and renting boats. The site claims to be the “world’s largest boat rental and water experience marketplace.” GetMyBoat has listings in many different countries.

Another option to consider with boats is partnering with a local marina if you store your boat at one. The marina could advertise that your boat is for rent and take a cut of the profit when someone rents it.

8. Aircraft

If you are a pilot and an aircraft owner, you may be able to rent your aircraft out. It’s possible at many airports across the nation to rent airplanes for various purposes. Most student pilots, for example, don’t own the airplanes they learn to fly in – they rent them. Airplanes can also be rented to qualified pilots for pleasure flights and other things.

If you are thinking about renting an airplane, trainers are a popular option to consider. These are the airplanes that students learn to fly in. Instead of renting directly to students, you may be able to make an arrangement with a local flight instructor to use your airplane when giving lessons.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that students can be very hard on training aircraft, especially when they are learning how to land. Another consideration is the cost. Airplanes are very expensive. A new training airplane can easily cost over $100k.

9. RVs

RVs are very similar to boats insofar as many people who own them only use them for a few weeks out of the year. The rest of the time they are either parked at the owners’ homes or at a campsite.

If you have an RV that you aren’t using, you may be able to rent it out for extra income. There may be greater demand for your RV if it is in a desirable location.

RVshare is a site to list RVs for rent. It claims to be the largest marketplace for RV rental with the platform reaching millions of renters every year.

Outdoorsy is another option for listing and renting RVs. One thing I really like about this site is that it allows both the owners and renters to leave reviews after each rental.

10. Clothing

Of all the things you can rent out, did you ever think that clothing would be one of them? Well, it’s true. It’s also possible to rent out clothing accessories.

Many people need specific clothing items for events. It could be a one-time event, for example, and they may never wear those clothing items ever again. So, why buy them when they can save money by renting instead?

An example of clothing some people may be interested in renting is formal wear for a dance, event, or something else. Some people also just like the idea of renting different clothes on occasion – just for fun.

Rentmywardrobe is a site that lets you rent your clothing, designer bags, shoes, dresses, and other apparel.

11. Storage Units

Many people need places to store things temporarily – or long term. They may need to store things while they are moving, to clear out some of the clutter at home, to empty a dorm room in the summer, and for many other reasons. Small storage units provide the extra space people need.

There are two ways you can rent storage units – either climate controlled or non-climate controlled. Climate controlled units may be more appealing to people who are concerned about the effects of heat and cold on their belongings, but they are more expensive to build and energy costs will be much higher. Non-climate controlled rental units, in comparison, are more affordable to build and have lower utility expenses.

The great thing about renting storage units, as opposed to rental homes, is that you may not have as many repairs to make. Buildings with storage units are usually very simple and they usually don’t have toilets.

A negative thing to consider with rental units is that you usually have to have either a small office on the property or someone on standby during business hours that people can call if they want to rent a unit.

Storage unit rentals are great to combine with event and tool rental, moving truck rental, and other types of rentals.

12. Event Spaces

If you own a building of some kind, you may be able to rent it out to people for events like parties, conferences, weddings, concerts, and other things. You may even be able to rent out a barn, for example, if it is clean and scenic. Many people like to have country-themed weddings in barns, and they are also used by photographers for photo shoots.

13. Music Equipment

Many people try to learn a musical instrument as a hobby. Some envision themselves joining a band, becoming famous, and touring the world playing to sold-out stadiums. And then reality sets in. It can be hard to learn to play a new musical instrument when you work full-time and have other obligations.

When most people give up on learning a new musical instrument, they either store it somewhere in their homes where it just takes up space, or they sell it for much less than they paid for it. If you have a musical instrument that you currently aren’t using, you may be able to rent it out.

Fretish is a site that specializes in renting musical instruments. It’s also possible to rent other music items through the site like sound recording equipment and speakers.

14. Photography Equipment

Many people take up photography as a hobby and then let their expensive photography equipment sit unused in their closets or somewhere else. Even professional photographers don’t use all of their photography equipment all the time. Many photographers have expensive specialty lenses, for example, that they only use on occasion.

If you have professional photography equipment, you may be able to rent it out. In addition to renting cameras and lenses, other equipment you may be able to rent include lightboxes, backdrops, reflectors, and filters.

ShareGrid is a site that lets you put your camera gear to work for you when you aren’t using it by listing it for rent. In addition to being a site for renting camera gear, it’s also possible to buy and sell photography equipment through the platform.

15. Bicycles

Bicycles are another possibility to rent out. Many people ride them for exercise, and they are also great forms of transportation for local destinations. There are also many walking and biking trails in communities that people can enjoy when the weather is warm.

Spinlister is a site for listing and renting bicycles. In addition to bikes, it’s also possible to rent out surfboards, snow skis, and snowboards on the site.

16. Baby Items

Traveling with a baby is challenging enough without having to worry about taking a lot of baby stuff with you, especially if you are flying. Travelers can lighten their loads by renting baby stuff after reaching their destinations.

BabyQuip is a baby equipment rental site that serves hundreds of cities in the US and Canada. It’s possible to rent many different baby items on the site including bouncy seats, high chairs, toys, car seats, strollers, cribs, and other things.

17. Dumpsters

It’s not exciting or sexy, but renting dumpsters can be lucrative (depending on location, competition, demand, and other factors). Many people need temporary use of dumpsters. They are often used during the construction of buildings, for example, or remodeling jobs.

When the need arises, people don’t want to purchase a dumpster, they usually just need one for a few days or weeks. They need someone to bring the dumpster to them and come and get it when it’s full. They also want someone to dispose of the dumpster contents for them when they are finished with it.

To get started renting dumpsters, you will need to purchase several roll-off dumpsters and a special truck to haul them. You will also need a place to put them. Dumpster rental can be combined with other rental services like tools, event supplies, storage units, and moving trucks.

18. Campsites

Starting a campsite is another rental possibility. With a campsite, you would have to purchase some land in a desirable location, like a densely wooded area. Another possibility is near a lake or river.

If you rent campsites out to RVs and campers, you will have to install water and sewer hookups at each site and have electrical connections. To generate extra income at a campsite, it may be possible to build a small building and install coin-operated washers and dryers.

Another option to consider if you have a small space on your property that people could camp on is to list it for rent on a site that specializes in camping space rentals.

Campspace is a site where you can list your land or some type of shelter for people to rent. The site lets you set your own rules, prices, and availability.

19. Advertising Space on Your Vehicle

Have you ever seen a vehicle driving down the road with a big advertisement on it for a company? If so, did you realize the vehicle probably wasn’t a company car? It was most likely just an average person driving around getting paid for the advertisement.

Carvertise is a company that connects businesses that want to advertise on people’s cars with people who have cars to advertise on. Carvertise is only available in certain cities. Approval depends on a variety of factors like the route you drive and other things.

20. Land for Farming

Do you own some land that you aren’t using for anything? Maybe it’s currently overgrown with brush and you don’t know what to do with it. If so, you may be able to connect with people who would like to use it to grow food on.

Shared Earth is a site that connects people who have land they aren’t using with those who would like to grow crops on it.

Renting Your Stuff for Profit

Did you realize there were so many rental business ideas you can start in your spare time? Whether you are successful renting your stuff depends on many different factors like where you live and the demand for whatever it is that you are renting.

You can either rent stuff as a side hustle for some extra money or start your own rental business in your community. With so many online sites that specialize in renting, you could start off with just a few items that you rent from home and slowly grow it into a full-time rental business over time.

Renting instead of buying makes sense for a very simple reason – buying things you only need to use for a little while doesn’t make financial sense. It’s good practical advice whether you are the one renting things to other people or whether you are the one doing the renting.

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