7 min 46 sec

Marimba Rental Business Hits All The Right Notes

Arriba! A father of four starts a marimba flipping business to fund child’s tuition.
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What It's About

A father of four bangs out a melodic side hustle to pay for college tuition.

Business Model
Skills Required
Power of Observation & Resourcefulness
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Notice his process in how this comes to be:

It’s annoying and uncommon (not a lot of competition), yet common enough that there are enough potential customers to make it worthwhile. And there’s a proven pathway to reach those customers. If you needed to rent such an instrument, what would you do? I’m betting that you would either Google “marimba rental {city name}” or you would ask the band teacher what to do. Cassidy has covered both intake points.

Fun Fact

Setting up his site, Cassidy forgot to add any notifications for new signups. So, about a week later he received an email from a guy who had signed up but never had anyone contact him regarding delivery. Cassidy was excited to see some traction, but felt terrible that he’d failed to deliver on his first customer!

Notes from Chris

Episode 752

Cassidy Lackey is no stranger to the world of side hustles. He’s had many while working his day job as a programmer and IT manager, and he’s launched a number of visitor bureau sites in his surrounding area of Texas and Oklahoma. These include things like real estate, vacation rentals, and fishing guide listings. He acquired an online drone forum and grew it into a thriving business and one of the top drone communities in the world.

His side hustles were proving lucrative and required more of his time. So, Cassidy decided to take the leap several years ago and walk away from the 9 - 5 life. He’s now a full-time hustler!

Cassidy is also a father of four kids. His oldest is starting college soon. He didn’t have enough money saved. However, he wasn’t about to go into debt. What to do? He employed the use of his savvy side hustling skills and looked for ways he could start another cash flow business. Something that could help him pay for tuition.

Right around the same time, his younger son caught the “percussion bug” as a middle school student. Cassidy received an email from the instructor that he’d either have to buy or rent a marimba for his son to practice. Always the supportive parent, Cassidy sized up his options.

The recommended rental facility was an hour-long drive away and the magic marimba cost $60 a month. Plus, there was a terribly long contract to fill out and you had to lug the four and a half foot, 35lb marimba home!

There had to be a better option. He could get cookies delivered to his door in 15 minutes. Why not marimbas? Surely he wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

Cassidy decided to test his hypothesis. He was going to offer a better alternative to parents than the one that was presented to him. This was a niche that was in need of disruption. He focused on where he could over-deliver. e.g. free delivery in his area, better customer service, and an online, recurring payment plan.

Cassidy jumped on Craigslist and bought five used marimbas at $500 each. He was going to clean them, fix them up and rent them out. If the business failed, he would just turn around and sell them.

He spent $8 for a domain name. Zero dollars on hosting since he already had a WordPress server he managed. He built the site himself and used the service Chargebee to capture sales which were free for the first $50,000 in revenue. Cassidy then threw in some Google AdWords for people looking for marimbas in his area and launched … DFW Marimba Rentals was born.

He’s now been in business for over a year and is scheduled to hit $3,000 in monthly revenue this month.

What’s next for Cassidy Lackey? He’s determined to find the answer to the question that haunts many side hustlers who become full-time business owners. You might call it an existential dilemma: to scale or not to scale?

Should he buy delivery vans and hire drivers? Contract out to an existing delivery service with drivers who can’t answer customer service questions about marimbas? Or just continue to grow slowly while handling his own deliveries?

I have a feeling he’ll come out okay, at least as long as he stays in tune with what people need.


  • DFW Marimba Rentals: If today's episode struck a chord, head on over to Cassidy's website to learn more!
  • Chargebee: Software that lets you automate your recurring billing, manage subscriptions at scale and access metrics that matter
  • WordPress: Cassidy used WordPress to setup DFW Marimba Rentals, and here you can learn how to install your own WordPress site in 5 minutes
  • Google AdWords: Google's online advertising platform that places your ad in the 'Sponsored Links' section next to search results to boost website traffic and sales


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"I think the music instrument rental business is ripe for change. Pick a niche that is underserved or can be improved and become an expert. Focus on delivery so you don’t need to set up a shop and hire employees."
—Cassidy Lackey #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau