I’m excited to have a guest blog this week from Sam at Fretish℠. Sam is the founder of the recent site, Fretish.com, which aims to make borrowing a guitar easier. Talking with Sam this week, it was easy to see how bringing the sharing economy to guitars could immediately benefit guitar owners, borrowers (of course), and even guitar manufacturers.
So, just imagine you’re reading The Onion for a moment, as Sam explains to himself what this new guitar business model is…
A new solution for guitar porn addicts who want to try nice gear on a regular basis without visiting a retail store, getting divorced or going bankrupt. P2P guitar rentals is also a great way to earn money from your current guitar collection, but it’s not for everyone.
Name of condition: Guitar Acquisition Syndrome (aka G.A.S.)
Symptoms: Depleted bank account. Angry, frustrated spouse. Inbox stuffed with sales alerts from Sam Ash, Guitar Center, The Music Emporium and five billion other retailers. Spare guest room contains shrine to Jimmy Page and 15+ hardshell cases stacked floor to ceiling.
Is there a solution to G.A.S.?: Perhaps. There’s a promising clinical trial underway. It’s called Fretish℠ (located here: http://fretish.com ).
Age: Weeks old. Born July 2017.
Appearance: Similar to a typical guitar website, except it doesn’t use the color black. (Is there a law that every guitar site must use black as the main color motif? But, I digress…)
And what is it, exactly? A peer-to-peer guitar rental marketplace.
Come again? It’s a place where people who own musical instruments list their gear to rent to other musicians for short periods of time.
You mean it’s like AirBnB for guitars? Ding. Ding. Ding. Exactly.
So, I can rent a guitar or an effects pedal, take it home and play it for a few hours or a few days without having to buy the equipment outright? Yes, that’s how it works!
Sounds pretty cool. What does it cost to rent an instrument? Each owner gets to set their own price, so it depends on a variety of factors. However, the current average cost per night is approximately $25.
What if I rent some gear and decide that I really like it and want to buy it? I thought you wanted to get rid of G.A.S…?
I’m…..asking for a friend. Well, it depends on the owner of the equipment from whom you are renting. They may be open to selling their instrument. And, if so, they can sell it to you. Moreover, they can adjust the sales price downward to reflect the amount you spent while renting the gear. But, they may want to keep their gear and, in that case, you’ll need to return the equipment when the rental period expires.
Okay, let’s say I already have a decent guitar collection. Can I rent my instruments through Fretish℠ to nearby musicians? Yes. It’s free to join and it’s free to list your equipment.
So I don’t pay anything to rent my equipment? Whoa, that’s just crazy talk. There is an 11% service fee (which covers payment processing and platform administrative costs) that gets charged to you for each transaction. Example: If you listed a Gibson L-5 Archtop Guitar for rent at $200 per night and someone rented the instrument for one night, you’d make $178.
Seems reasonable. So, if I rent my instrument out, I could actually earn money? Yes you can.
What should I charge for my instrument? Are you a Guitar God like Jimmy Page, Edward Van Halen or Jeff Back?
Yes! Charge whatever you want!
No. Whatever you think is a “fair” price for the equipment available for rent. There are some industries, like professional photography cameras, which rent out gear for approximately 33% of the retail value of the equipment.
By that benchmark, you would list your $1,000 Stratocaster for $333/night. However, that “feels” high to most people. Try starting at a nightly rate which seems reasonable to you and your friends (and then you can adjust the price higher or lower based on the response you get).
Are there other marketplaces where I could rent my gear out to other musicians? Certainly, there are lots of online marketplaces for selling gear, including (but not limited to): eBay, Craigslist and Reverb. But, there are very few options that specifically allow you to list items for rent.
How about the safety of my gear? Can I ensure that my gear doesn’t get damaged when it gets rented? There are a number of options available to you to reduce the risk of damage to your equipment:
- Only rent to people you know and trust.
- Only rent to people who have previously rented through Fretish℠ beforeand have high ratings.
- Structure the rental period to be supervised (at a location and time/duration of your choosing).
- You have up to 3 days to review a rental booking request. During thattime you can communicate with a potential renter through the Fretish℠ messaging system. Ask them anything (e.g., Are there small children in your household? Is your place climate controlled? Are you a smoker?). If something doesn’t feel right, then you have every right to reject the rental request.
Should I list the “crown jewel” of my guitar collection for rent? My grandfather gave it to me and it has significant sentimental value. It’s really like my baby. You’d seriously consider renting your baby?
Well, no… Look, start off by listing an instrument in your collection that you rarely play and perhaps you had considered selling to “thin the herd”. If renting out that instrument starts to make money for you, then consider listing other guitars in your collection. Or, consider listing that effects pedal that you never use. Just take it one step at a time.
Do you have any additional suggestions? Before checking out Fretish℠, ask yourself this: Am I like Nigel from Spinal Tap ? If you can’t stand the idea of someone looking at your guitar, then listing your gear on a peer-to-peer rental marketplace may not be your cup of tea. But, if you like the idea of meeting fellow musicians and passively earning money from your guitar collection, then give it a try.
Founded in July 2017 and based in Boston, Massachusetts, Fretish℠ is a trusted community and peer-to-peer marketplace for musicians to list, discover, and book unique guitars and gear for rent. Whether the available instrument is a Martin flat top guitar for a night, a Dunlop Wah pedal for a week, or a Fender Jazz Bass for a month, Fretish℠ is the easiest way for people to showcase their instrument collection to a wide, yet qualified audience. By facilitating bookings and financial transactions, Fretish℠ makes the process of listing or booking musical equipment effortless and efficient.
Currently, Fretish℠ serves musicians in the Boston and greater New England area. By the end of 2017, we plan to expand into New York. And, assuming all goes well, we’ll spread to Nashville and Los Angeles by the middle of 2018.
The company is privately held.
To contact Sam T at Fretish℠, use the contact form at https://fretish.com/user_feedbacks/new