Turn Your Hobby into a Rental Business in 6 Steps

Throughout your whole life, you’ve probably had a hobby that’s stuck with you. You probably have a collection of equipment or expertise that would make a beginner reasonably jealous. You might’ve had...

Throughout your whole life, you’ve probably had a hobby that’s stuck with you. You probably have a collection of equipment or expertise that would make a beginner reasonably jealous. You might’ve had some people interested in borrowing your gear, but has the thought crossed your mind that you turn your hobby into a rental business?

How to turn your hobby into a rental business

Let’s start with the fact that many hobbies can be monetized in different ways. However, the focus of this guide is turning a hobby, whether that includes collecting items (like camera and musical instruments) or expertise (like cycling and skiing), into a rental business. You will need to ask yourself about your motivations, ideas, and whether you’re ready to start a business.

The questions below are a good starting point:

  • Am I in it for love, money, or both?
  • Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? (even if it’s just a little bit)
  • Have I taken enough time to collect all my ideas?
  • Have I already shared the idea with knowledgable people around me?

Once you’ve determined that you are satisfied with your answers to these questions, you can start to make it official. So, let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to turn your hobby into a rental business.

Six steps you need to take to go from hobby to rental business

1. Determine your business model

If you’re at the level where you’re considering turning your hobby into a rental business, you’re probably very knowledgeable. So, how will you run your rental business? Will it be from home? Do you need a team? Should you invest in inventory, or do you have enough already to get started? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

Rental businesses can usually start small and you don’t need to overcomplicate the process. It should be done by trial and error, so you can grow with your business and learn what works best for you.

The process of writing your business plan will help you to answer many of these questions. In addition, they will help you determine how much your investment will be, a launch timeline, and any additional needs you have before starting your own rental business. Of course, this structure could change over time, but at least you won’t be doing it blindly.

2. Develop your identity

Pretty much every business is anchored to an identity. It defines everything around your business, including your voice, guidelines, and your brand’s story. In addition, developing a solid identity will help to inform your website, branding assets like your logo, and social media content. So, it’s essential to spend plenty of time on this step to get it right.

To start on the more affordable side, you can use your personal brand to operate the business. Again, it shouldn’t be overcomplicated, something like “Nathan’s Camera Rental” can be a great start to your own rental business.

For more tips on branding, check out our branding guide.

3. Set boundaries

Hobbies are often an integral part of our lives, but this can change once you transition into a rental business. You would typically take part in your hobby anywhere in your house; you now need a dedicated workspace. This will help you to set boundaries and create a healthy work-life balance.

4. Create your processes and workspace

Next, you should consider how the day-to-day of your rental business will look. For example, how will people order something from you? How will you manage your bookings? What will the pickup and return process look like? Can you do it from home? If so, do you need a dedicated workspace? Or, do you need to rent an office or shop to run your business from?

While you can only determine the physical elements of your business, the software you use can be found easily. Booqable allows you to manage every aspect of your business, from your inventory to customer and bookings. In addition, you can set up an online store, so people can book online without contacting you directly.

5. Launch and market your brand

Once everything is in place, you can finally launch your brand! If you’ve had your hobby for a while, your friends and family are likely supportive. So, start here to spread your brand by word of mouth and get them to share about it on social media. Your first customers are the most important as they will help you work out any issues with your process before they become a problem.

For more tips on marketing, check out our guide to marketing your rental business.

6. Set yourself up to grow

You did it! You started and launched your own rental business, and you’re getting your first few customers. Now, you need to embrace optimism and consider how you can scale. Of course, the last thing you want is to have more customers than stock, so you need to set milestones. These milestones will help you to determine when more investment is required.

This can be difficult when running the business day-to-day, but you can offset it by getting help, whether this means asking family members to work for you part-time or employing someone so you can focus on the bigger picture. It would be best if you considered how the next 12 months, five years, and decade would look for your rental business.

Stick to your plan and understand that everything takes time, so persevere with your rental business. It is important to be patient and remember good things come to those who wait. It may take 2-3 years before you can see your success, but it is worth the wait for the result.

Do what you love for a living

Doing what you love is one of the most satisfying experiences you can have, and you’ll likely want to make your life about it. However, if you’re going to harness your experiences and turn them into your livelihood, you’re probably just on the edge of turning your hobby into your own rental business.

As someone passionate and skilled in your favorite thing, you likely have a lot to offer the world. If you want to contribute to your community and help others find love in the same things as you do, this can be a great way to do that.

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A business owner using Booqable rental software