In a down economy, fewer people are willing or able to go out and splurge on new toys. Motorcycles, boats, and second homes are major expenses not just in the short term but also in the long run. To save money without sacrificing fun, many folks are choosing to rent these items and several new start ups are looking to take advantage of the trend.
In South Florida, peer-to-peer boat rental companies are popping up along the coast. These businesses provide boat owners with an opportunity to rent out their boats – and make a pretty good chunk of cash – when they aren’t using them. According to a story in the Miami Herald, there are over 12 million registered boats in the United States alone but the average boat gets used just 26 days a year. By renting their boat for just a couple of days a month, owners can recoup all costs of ownership including boat payments, storage fees, and maintenance.
How It Works
Although the idea of boat sharing is not a new concept, a new breed of companies is making it easier to connect owners and renters. Sites such as Boatbound.co, Cruxin.com, Fun2Boat.com, Boatyard.com, and Boatsetter.com, are set up in much the same way as vacation rental websites Airbnb or VRBO. Users can browse a set of listings in specific areas, compare features, and read reviews and ratings before selecting a boat that fits their needs. On the flip side, owners can screen users prior to renting and their boats are often insured.
According to the article, the sharing economy is especially popular amongst a younger generation. In fact, 68 percent of Boatbound’s rentals have been individuals 45 years of age or younger – a promising statistic to those working in the boating industry. Manufacturers, dealers, and retailers are hoping that peer-to-peer boating will generate more interest in boating and lead to an increase in boat sales as the economy improves.
For now, peer-to-peer boating companies in South Florida will work to carve out a niche as they compete for business from owners and users looking to benefit from one another.
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