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building a rental business from home

woman building a rental business from home

Renting is a hot and growing ecommerce trend. Being driven by Gen Z and millennials, the shift from buying new products to consuming used goods stems from a found value and sustainability in using peer-to-peer sharing platforms. The advantage to starting an online home business stems from the flexibility it offers. You are able to start part-time around your current schedule, and  take the time to build your brand and grow from there. You can launch a small business around your professional and personal life as a side hustle project and, if you thrive, take your business full-time as a home-based career. Use the following guide to help shape your RuckifyStore

find your product niche 

Look around your home and select the items you are considering renting. Is there a desired need for these items within your community? Is there a theme? Think of your home as a store, identify your rental objects based on categories and group them as such. If you are going to create a brand, your product inventory should have a flow and an overall concept. This concept becomes your “niche” – together these objects will create experiences for potential renters, and spark a desire or need for your peers to rent from you. 

A clean white room in a house filled with potential rental products

know your target market

This will be the market that is interested in your rental products. Choose a target audience that will find value in your products – but that are currently not being reached in your community. You’ll use this targeting in determining your brand’s look and feel, tone and overall point of view. Remember, you want your rental store to be the trusted platform for the neglected clients in your category. 

building your brand 

Once you’ve completed your “market research”, nail down your branding. Branding is going to give your service or product a unique recognizable identity through the use of symbols, logo, name and design.   

When you think about it, you’ve already built a brand – you! Each person has a name, face, style and way of communicating. We create different impressions on different people and have a reputation built by the opinions of others. Similarly, businesses have names, logos, products, voices, and reputations that make up who they are and how they are perceived by consumers.  

“you want your brand to inspire a feeling. you want to sell people on a lifestyle, and not just a product or service”. – Paige Cody (TreeHouse Episode5

The first impression your rental platform gives off should mimic the feeling a user would get if they were to walk into your home and shake your hand. This is achieved through visual consistency created through colour choice, font, imagery, filters, etc. That way you will harness a desired feeling and create a lasting visual experience for your consumer. Let it relate to the kind of experience he/she will get through renting your products. Start by choosing your business’ name and tagline (slogan) and business logo. 

logo mock ups for rental businesses
“Baby Bear” rentals is a simple descriptive name for the person renting out their baby toys. Whereas “Paper House” is a great name for someone renting their private book collection – creating an online library.
“staging” your RuckifyStore

Once you’ve narrowed down your store name, you need to consider how you would like to visually represent your brand. In particular, your colours and font. Stage your RuckifyStore as you would your home – giving off a feeling that is reflective of the experiences built using your products. 

Although it isn’t an exact science, color psychology is a great informative tool that you may use as a guide for choosing your brand colors, especially when creating your business logo. Your color selection will help define your brand’s “style”, conveying the feeling you want to get across your target market. It’s important to make your colour scheme consistent across your entire page. Think even as far as the backdrop behind your product photos – make sure it is clean, crisp and “on brand”. 

Product shot of various baby toys for rent on white backdropProduct shot of the book "Your Soul is a River"

Your photo quality is pivotal in relaying your message across and closing rentals. It is the only visual representation of your product, so it has to be awesome! Try posting several high resolution images of your products from various angles, including finally, a photo of the product in action. Action shots are a visual representation of a customers potential experience – so make them count! Click here for a video tutorial on product photography.

rented baby toys being played with by toddlerman about to read "Your Soul is a River" in bed

be descriptive!

Writing an appealing  product description that resonates with your potential renters is much easier said than done. Think transparent, descriptive and concise. They should be a reflection of your business’s overall persona, and maintain a tone that mimics that. If your brand is professional, use more formal rhetoric in your descriptions. Or, if your product page is creative and quirky, make sure your lingo is casual and fun. Stay inline to your brand. 

Include keywords that your renters are likely to search for when looking for one of your inventoried products online. Naturally incorporate them into your descriptions for that SEO (search engine optimization) boost, and watch how they will help drive traffic to your page. 

create a competitive pricing strategy

Do your homework! Research other renters and sellers in your category sharing similar services or products. To compete, generally you want your rental rates to be 5%-10% lower than your competitors. Remember, prices are not set in stone. Be competitive, but make sure you are earning a profit at the end of the day. Alter your rental rates throughout the year (i.e. lower the cost of renting your kayak in the fall when demand slows down). Stay competitive and you’ll become the trusted rental platform for consumers. 

Woman working on her RuckifyStore from home.
“Today’s digital technologies seem to be taking us back to familiar sharing behaviors, self-employment, and forms of community-based exchange that existed in the past.” – Arun Sundararajan [The Sharing Economy, 2016]
get out there and get started!

The more you learn about how to start an online rental business, the better you’ll do. This article offers you the basics on creating a rental store on Ruckify, and now it’s time to go out and find what works best. Test new tactics and make adjustments. Consider marketing strategies and social media to promote your store. Never get complacent. If you keep learning you’ll find a method that works for your brand, even if it takes a little time.

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