What It's About
A snapshot of a London man who buys his mom a flat with his camera rental profits.
Words of Wisdom
Antonio's advice to those wanting to rent out their own belongings on a similar platform is to start small. Develop a relationship with every client. Even if they don’t become a repeat customer, they will spread the word!
In 2015 alone, transactions of the global sharing economy totaled 28.1 billion euros (this is equivalent to almost 33 billion dollars).
Notes from Chris
Antonio Salvani is no stranger to the world of side hustles. He works by day as a receptionist for a property management company in Central London, and in 2016 he also started taking freelance photography gigs. From then on, his evenings and weekends were spent shooting wedding and other various events. It was in preparation for an upcoming wedding shoot back that Antonio discovered a completely different way to make money. Despite having spent a year collecting gear, Antonio still didn’t feel that he had all the camera equipment necessary to create the highest quality package for the bride. But he also knew that traditional camera equipment rentals can be quite expensive and require a hefty deposit. The usual deposit at a camera rental shop in London can put you out up to $1,500. In addition to the large deposit, the verification process necessary for renting can be inconvenient. He complained about this to a friend who was also a photographer, and they suggested Antonio use Fat Llama to rent the equipment he needed. If you’re not familiar with it, Fat Llama is not an up-and-coming rapper, nor is it a Jimmy Buffet song from 1980—it’s a “peer to peer” sharing platform that connects people who need to borrow something with those who could use a little extra cash. But the term sharing implies a no-charge service, so that terminology is a little confusing. There is a charge to “borrow” items through this service. However, as Antonio found, the rate to rent through Fat Llama was much more reasonable than the classic rental method. He found that he was able to rent the gear he needed for less than £50 ($60). It was a steal of a deal! The gear was available for pick up the same day, and the entire process was simple. From that first rental experience, Antonio was intrigued. And his next thought was—“why not rent out my own equipment on Fat Llama?” When Antonio started, he was booking 2-3 rentals a week. This increased very quickly to 5-10 a day! That’s right, up 5-10 bookings per day, and steadily increasing. So how does Antonio keep up with his personalized customer service with that many rentals? First off, about 80% of these rental pickups and drop-offs occur on the weekend. Also, about 70% of Antonio’s renters are repeat customers. Antonio creates a profile each time he meets with a new client. This cuts down on his time spent getting to know history and needs with repeat customers. A lot of renters want to pick up equipment on Friday evening and drop off on Sunday. He said he spends a fair amount of time on Thursday evenings planning and messaging about pickups and drop-offs. For the moment, Antonio is managing this system well. However, in the future, with his business growing he says he’ll need to get an assistant. His priority is keeping the exceptional customer service in place—he wants everything to be perfect, and his customers happy. So far Antonio’s had over 1,100 rentals and says he’s met some amazing people. He’s learned so much about the equipment just by talking with those who use the gear day in and day out. He feels like he’s started a community. He’s also made more than £25,000 ($32,400) and is putting the money toward another side hustle, buying an apartment in his hometown of Skopje, Macedonia that he will—of course—rent out on Airbnb. Renting his camera gear out 5 times a day is a trade Antonio can picture himself in for some time to come.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Salvani Studios: It's time for a close-up—learn more about Antonio and his photography side hustle over on his website!
- Fat Llama: A peer-to-peer rental marketplace which allows people to rent spare items to others nearby
- Mom-Founded Startup Rents Infant Gear to Tourists: Busy mom in Chicago uses a peer-to-peer sharing platform to earn extra money for her family and help visiting parents get all the baby gear they need for their trip
- Student Gets Paid to Help People Rent Adventures: After feeling jealous over a friend’s boat outing, a San Diego student creates a sharing economy platform to connect adventurers with gear
- Oh Snap! Photography Site Turns Into Passive Income Hustle: A traffic engineer begins shooting wedding photography to make some cash on the side, but it’s his niche tutorial website that earns the real money… at least until it doesn’t
Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work! Yours in the revolution,
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