The search for what to rent returns as we scour the universe to find you great new rental items - by Ron Lanzo

November 19, 2019 - Spotlights

The search for what to rent returns as we scour the universe to find you great new rental items. 

Since I started to write these articles for the New York Real Estate Journal I began a journey to educate my audience and the New York Metro area of just how important and popular renting was as opposed to purchasing for a wide variety of items. As I look back over the past several years, I see we’ve talked about renting beach buggies, cars and trucks, construction equipment, material handling equipment, and of course leading-edge new items that spawned rapidly growing companies like “Rent the Runway!” I may have been the first to let you know that women all over Manhattan were choosing to rent their wardrobes as an option to buying and storing them in very limited apartment closets! The biggest single advantage was the ability to change out the wardrobe and try fresh new looks. And of course, you didn’t end up with a closet full of out of style and out of fashion clothes. Instead of taking them to the nearest Good Will store, you returned them to the Runway warehouse, and got a whole new wardrobe every three months or so. The list goes on. Goats as it turned out were useful for getting the weeds cleaned up and the lawns trimmed for the New York City Parks department. They were very efficient. Out west we mentioned a company near or in Denver, Co. that rented tents and other camping equipment. And then the guy with an outdoor hunting channel, host Randy Newberg, rented llamas as his pack horses to haul all his equipment out to his hunting camp to film episodes of his “Randy Newberg Hunter” series on the Outdoor TV Channel. 

Since we’re in the furniture rental business as well as the special events, trade show, a residential, and commercial businesses, we rent a wide variety of furniture for short or long-term needs. We see a lot of modular office trailers rented as construction offices and of course they call AFR to supply the office furnishings for these construction sites offices. At those sites you’ll more than likely see a rented fence as a perimeter to keep the construction site safe. Lots of heavy construction equipment at those areas is also rented including the material handling, electric generators, pumps and assorted HVAC systems from companies like United Rentals, a publicly traded industry leader whose corporate headquarters are in Greenwich, Conn. 

To be sure I hadn’t missed any segments, or products that could be rented, I did a Google search and found an article describing 17 things you could rent. Locally in the town of Fairfield, Conn., a local music store advertises instrument rentals. We had a guest this summer visit us from Paris, and her son Nicholas brought a small electric guitar on his trip and yes it was rented too. When you think about renting a violin or guitar for a youngster who might not play the instrument for long it certainly is a no brainer that renting makes way more sense than purchasing. Back to the list again, for people with a very large budget and ego to match, called rent a celebrity! You can rent a Hollywood actor, famous chef, or even Tiger Woods as your golf coach but it’s going to cost you a small fortune. As an example, you could hire Paula Dean for $240,000! Another item that caught my attention was “wheels.” Yes, the fancy rims that are purchased for your car or truck can cost as much as $2,000 for a set of four can be rented for a fraction of that cost. And when it comes time to replace the car you simply return the wheels to your rental company. 

As I mentioned so many times in previous articles, it often makes so much more sense to rent rather than purchase! You should run the math and decide upon your exact needs. In the case of office furniture, many of our customers would simply prefer to rent and not purchase because they don’t want to own a depreciating asset they have to pick up and store after their need is over. They would prefer to let us know the products can be picked up and we’ll take care of all the details. 

Ron Lanzo is the national accounts manager for the New York office of AFR Furniture Rental. 

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