Renting Versus Buying Culture — Are You Game?

Love online shopping? You might want to reconsider. In the wide commercial world, consumers usually opt for the optimal choice to obtain the best value for their money. Hence, which way of acquiring goods will offer you better value: buying or renting? Perhaps some of the criteria below may help you to evaluate both.

Renting or buying? A habit you need to change after including some considerations.
To everything you need and want in online shops… Should you buy it or can you rent it?

Renting Versus Buying

For acquiring any equipment, you need to weigh in the cost, its worth, and if you can afford it at all. Renting offers a cheaper price as you don’t need to pay its full cost upfront. But how low can it go?

1. Price Difference Between Renting And Buying

It all started when I was interested in a friend’s Fujifilm Polaroid camera, she bought it for 60€ in Spain which was about MYR270. Yet after some thinking, I figured that I’ll probably use it only on certain occasions anyway… So I tried to look it up on Lazada, a popular online shopping website and the price that I found was around MYR280…hmm… think again… perhaps I can get a secondhand item instead?

Online shopping website shows Fujfilm Polaroid camera for sale at MYR279.
LAZADA Online Shopping website for Search key: Fujifilm Polaroid.
Image source: Lazada

I started to browse through Mudah and it is still difficult for me to decide. Until this page RentSmart… Offers one for rent at just MYR18 per day. Voilà! One camera for my travels and events is now ready! If you are into Fujifilm Instax Mini Polaroid Camera like me, do remember the camera rental doesn’t include the Polaroid films, so you might have to purchase your own elsewhere at about MYR3 per film.

Online renting may offer a cheaper polaroid camera at MYR18/day
RentSmart Online Renting website for Search key: Fujifilm Polaroid.
Image source:
RentSmart Asia

I tried to compare the price of buying and renting to see how much I could save on things I might like to have. When I was searching for the price of a GoPro 7 camera (MYR2,488) on Lazada, I found out it was priced almost 30 times more than renting it for a day (MYR85) on RentSmart Asia – an online renting platform. It is more cost-effective to rent if you’re only using it a couple of times. Obviously, if the price is an issue, renting is the answer.

2. Maintenance

Frequent maintenance applies to all items we own to ensure they do not break down and are able to function well over time.

Service and maintenance does not apply when it comes to renting goods from the owner.
Ah… something breaks down… I need to send it down to the workshop again!
Source: Image by jeshoots from Unsplash

For any electronic equipment you rent, you skip the hurdle of finding the maintenance personnel, or pay more for servicing, or return the faulty equipment to the vendor in the same condition you received it. In terms of clothing rental, it is advisable for renters to return the items unwashed to the owners to avoid ruining the fabric if washed incorrectly. For this purpose, some rental websites even provide laundry services to save renters the hassle.

3. Time And Energy

Statistic shows 57 percent of why consumers choose renting is to test things before purchasing.
A market survey states that 94% of the USA population had inclined to the sharing economy.
Image Source: Lab42

My previous point leads to this! Renting an item avoids the need to worry about maintenance, saving you time and energy from trouble and travel. Furthermore, renting enables you to skip the purchasing decision altogether, if you are one who possesses the Purple Brain trait, you’ll be bothered about choosing what’s the best in the market after considering all the information and options available in the first hand.

Conversely, renting offers a shortening down of that list as compared to what’s on sale. So practising renting can be more convenient, less expensive, saves you time and offers quicker solutions!

4. Sense Of Power

 I'd rather buying a cute cactus toy found in DIY shop than renting.
Hey… Look, I found something to keep me company at home!

I know… I know. Saying renting is the best choice to everything means to close both eyes to the sense of belonging you could have had. Ownership prevails if you’d like to have something to hold dearly close for the rest of your life. In this case, why not just buy and keep it to yourself?

While this may be true, the renting choice could lead you to the experience of owning one. Most probably I hesitate to buy things when I am unsure of their working capacity. For instance, my laptop is slowing down lately, and so I thought I could use a new laptop with specifications I need. After weighing few models and brands, I think perhaps to test before purchase could give me sufficient user experience to sway my purchasing decision? Hence, renting and borrowing the device could pave the way to purchase it later.

5. Responsibility

Broken camera, an example of things that might happen while renting out your stuff.
What if someone rents your camera and breaks it, yet claims to be not at fault…?
Source: Image by Srongkod from Freepik

With great power comes great responsibility.

made popular by Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man

Speaking of power, it is both in renting and buying we should be responsible to take care of the goods we rent or own. Do bear in mind that if we were to rent something, make it seems like “borrowing”, which at some point in time the owner would want it back for his/her own use. Therefore, do take care of the stuff we “borrowed” as much as though we own them.

But what if misfortune does happen, and you break the things you rented? RentSmart provides a service that would hold accountable to things you broke or lost by forfeiting the deposit you pay (an amount agreed upon renting). At the same time, their insurance plan indemnifies owners in respect of loss or damage, so you can find relief for the things you rent out (below MYR5,000) and have them back in the same condition.

 in case of loss or damage Rentsmart indemnifies vendors who rent out their goods.
FAQs from RentSmart concerning loss or damage of rented items.
Source: RentSmart

6. Sustainability

Do you know that the increase of the carbon footprint on Mother Earth has been due to increased consumption of goods? This is very much attributed by the exponential growth of online shopping in recent years. In other words, increase in consumers’ buying behaviour leads to additional manufacturing sectors thus producing more goods and eventually creating more waste.

Save the world! Practice reuse of items through renting to reduce manufacturing of new ones.
Manufacturing industries are amongst the contributors to earth’s temperature rise.
Source: Image from Freepik

Transportation is now the top source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and online shopping is partly to blame.

ELIZABETH CLINE — author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap”

Nevertheless, rented goods are more frequently used compared to owned goods thus saving more resources. Choose this route if you would like to minimise wastage of resources.

7. Depreciation Or A Passive Income?

Letting your things go unused for a long time will bring its full utilisation into question. Over time, the asset will reduce in value due to depreciation. Each product has a useful lifespan, after the product has reached its maturity stage, it will then prepare to face declination and be replaced with a more advanced featured product.

Thus, if a buyer wants to trade-in the item they owned by the end of the product usage, it could be too late. But, here are some hints you can do with all your assets — rent it away and all the way!

In India, there is an increasing number of millennials who choose to rent just about anything they can, be it a smartphone or home furniture. The question goes, letting your items depreciate or earning a passive income by renting them out? The choice is in your hands.

Renting My Part To A Healthier Environment

Considering all these criteria, I would say I’ll prefer walking to the direction where the signboard indicates saving more cash, zero maintenance cost, cutting down time and energy, most importantly maintaining a healthier environment… or another word for all — renting. What about you?

If you are looking for items to rent or have something you want to rent out, visit RentSmart‘s website.

Read more about RentSmart in a previously featured article titled “RentSmart: A Smart Avenue To Rent And Earn“.

Amirah HENG

About Amirah HENG

Engineer by profession, but a total nature lover at heart. If you can't find Amirah at her cubicle, she's probably hiking up a mountain somewhere, trekking through a jungle, or backpacking off the beaten path.

2 Replies to “Renting Versus Buying Culture — Are You Game?”

  1. Bravo!
    Good article.
    P/S: another plus point for renting – with fast-growing technology, many tech-items become obsolete faster? Omg, im still using iphone5.. where can i rent iPhone 11? Oh.. RentSmart!!!

    • Hey, thank you and very good point indeed! I suppose now everyone can start renting things they never thought of owning. In the US even office appliances (eg: computers) were rented as no commitments attached. It goes with what you said, companies now can be flexible and rent all the tech-items they need! 😉

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