Todays edition of People Suck (Renting - and is it really worth doing it ?)

toymaker

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So here is todays tale of how horribly inconsiderate and downright rude and stupid people can be...

Last year I bought a small boat - complete rookie mistake - thought hey, always wanted one and it will be fun. Able to go out to the lake with family and friends weekends - have a good time and we will use it regularly. Anyone that has ever owned a boat knows exactly how things were bound to wind up - you spend all your time working to PAY for the boat, and what limited time off you get is spent working ON the boat with friends and family only showing up on the holiday weekends with a bag of chips expecting to be entertained for the day by you driving them around on YOUR boat using YOUR gas.

Well - a funny thing happened before all that could shake out....I discovered peer2peer rental. Kinda like an AirBnB for boat owners. You provide the boat - renters take it out for the day and the website handles all booking, payment and insurance for a fee. Being first time boat owners - we bought low end stuff really and don't have that "personal" attachment to anything - and renting has went great for us.

Now we are not making a "profit" - but we are covering all the expenses, with the added bonus of having a boat available to us during the week most days - its the weekends that are busy, but thats when the lake is packed and its honestly not as enjoyable to me.

So 40+ rentals into this venture and only 1 really "minor" inconvenience renter (young party crew who left a few empties on the boat, tied off at wrong slip - but did leave me a 12 pack in the cooler). Everyone else has been genuinely decent and some downright nice to deal with. For that reason - I decided to keep pricing lower - give more people the opportunity enjoy an AFFORDABLE day out on the water.

I thought I was also getting good at "screening" renters - again, the booking company does the first round - credit check/identity verification, security deposit processing, ect. They also allow me to approve/deny any renters - some questions are bound to generate an auto deny....but you can typically tell when someone is genuinely interested or a complete PIA I thought. Last minute booking request for example - there are alot of weekly rentals around the lake - and some of the operators pass along my info to their renters who are looking for something to do. For that reason - I book out weeks in advance many times. When I get that message looking for a same day weekend rental = its an easy no. If you are planning things last minute - greater chance its a simple pop up party or you got tossed from your party pad early and are seeking to extend the "fun".

So yesterdays rental headache was a kind of shock - they texted me 3 weeks ago asking normal questions - hours, rate, safety equipment..ect. Certainly didn't come across as your typical party crowd. Booked and scheduled for 10a pick up...I understand most people operate on "vacation time" so running early or later is not a problem - 10a is not a firm appointment. Anyway - 9:55a get the "i'm running a few minutes late" text - fine, no problem....10:30 no more text and not there (lives 15 minutes away)...11a - still nothing - so I call and text....no reply.

By 11:30a - I am getting a bit hot....so I call the booking company, ask them to call/text and see if they can get a reply....find out the reason for the delay and let them know at Noon I leave and its a no show/cancel with no refund/reschedule allowed. 5 minutes later - I get a reply from them...yes, they are on the way - having problems as "feeling sick". Of course that prompted a whole new round of questions with COVID and the sick person was changed to a family member they are caring for - who will not be going with them. 12:15 - renter actually shows up...does apologize, and admits they were simply too hung over...of course they are not going to be the driver - her brother is and he's not coming out to 1p. Against my better judgement - I say ok and turn over keys and go over return process and safety gear.

1:45p - phone rings - boat will not start....ask basic questions - is it in gear....no, what do you think I am an idiot....ok, did you accidentally pull kill switch - no....what does it do - it just beeps when I turn the key (indicator it is not in neutral). So I have them do 3 or 4 meaningless things - turn off and on radio, lights, ect and then tell them to push shifter to opposite direction - ok, now put it in neutral/ OK - now turn the key idiot - BECAUSE YOU HAD IT IN GEAR. Ok - didn't say this exactly, but I think they could tell I wasn't pleased having to spend more time on the phone and having them ask me to run back out - ALL BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T BE BOTHERED TO PAY ATTENTION THE FIRST TIME I SHOWED THIS.

6:00pm - boat is due back...they are supposed to text on return/again - I understand some people take their sweet ass time - so I dont bother them. 7:00p - no text - I text and no reply. 7:30p - still nothing call...no answer.

By 8p - just send a message off to lake patrol - let me know if you see it out there tonight....renter is not replying - so taken without permission. If you see them just guide them back in and let me know...

Checked phone this AM - nothing....from either renter or lake patrol. Odds are I will go out and it will be there this morning - not like theft is a strong possibility.....but just pisses me off to no end. ZERO RESPECT for other peoples time or property - asked booking company to block from future rentals - and make sure the card run is good as we can expect a chargeback/fraud I suspect....makes me not want to bother doing this anymore or to just raise the damn pricing to make it WORTH the effort I have to put in. All because one ass-head ruins the experience for everyone else.

All of this over a simple boat - I cannot imagine what it would be like with jet ski rentals....I have had a few people pushing me to go that route and resisted - seems the target audience is exactly what I am trying to avoid and the insurance/odds of damage to equipment seems ALOT higher risk. A boat full of 8-10 adults floating around enjoying a drink and the water view is one thing...2 dumbass teen/early 20's zipping around a busy lake at 60 in between boats is another.

Rant over - enjoy your Monday.
 

Ed B

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If it is there, this is nothing more than a headache. I think you have every right to be pissed. I'm hoping it's just a headache and nothing more serious.
 

ehb

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Initial 'Late' would have been enough for a tough shit text....

Bufords are gonna Buford.
 

toymaker

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So it was there...

No damage fortunately.

Still - dealing with idiots sucks. Wish I could go referral only really.

I’m trying to keep it affordable - $250 a day plus fuel for a newer pontoon. Big enough you can take out 8 comfortably, tube with the kids or fish - or just bar hop with friends (about a dozen on the water).

My thought was $250 is reasonable enough for a family of 4 by themselves to swing - or if you got 3 or 4 couples splitting the bill, it’s very affordable.

I hate to up it to $350 a day weekends or $250 for a half day - but I might have to - just to keep the morons away. Since my booking fee is a straight gross of cost - I’d make a little more, but goal isn’t profit. I know what is like not being able to swing a weeklong family vacation - and just going camping for a weekend. Something like this gives people affordable options that are fun.

Guaranteed the moment I do it for a higher price point though...I get 3 “imitators” trying to compete - keep it low, they have no profit incentive to try to enter markets.

Thought of trying to get one of the local fraternal clubs to try it out - I’d happily just rent mine to them and volunteer to show the operation/help out. That way it’s all charitable profit and they can better screen renters by making it “members only” if they want.
 

toymaker

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Should mention though - at least I wasn’t the one who had to call someone and say - “Hey, remember that law office you had in my building downtown....yea, the one you left Friday at 5p.....umm, it’s kinda GONE”...

Just talked to someone who had to make that call due to protests. Man - that would totally suck as a landlord.
 

toymaker

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Hope you have some serious liability insurance.
I do - as well as physical damage to including loss of use if some dumbass totals it it, killing my already booked rentals.

Part of the referral spiff I pay...it’s a chunk, but piece of mind is worth it.

No way I’d ever rent something like this to the public without having that in place....just asking to get sued or to lose a boat to a drunk on a holiday.
 

ehb

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Isn't "Buford" french for "stupidmotherfuckers"?
Nawt. It's redneck shorthand for 'stupidmotherfucker'....

"Hey Buford. Your boat ain't on your trailer. You may want to turn around and drive back to the ramp parking lot."

"Your name must be Buford.... Obvious by you ordering a Big Mac and McFlurry.....in a Subway....."

"No Buford.... You do NOT want BAMA. "

:cool2:
 

toymaker

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So just an update on the rental biz.

It has actually gotten a lot better overall. Went from getting inquiries at all hours and stupid ass questions to just making money and dealing with some seriously nice people overall.

Yea, there are a few morons mixed in - but been booked up every weekend and getting a decent amount of weekdays (every day this week actually) and really no problems yet.

Seems the weekend renters are more of a party crowd...weekdays have been nice mix of families and grandparents/grandkids just hitting the water for a few hours.

Had 1 renter who was clearly clueless - but he was honest and I have no problem spending 30 minutes giving a quick lesson of what little I know on boating.

Did get one person message me - saying “he might be running late for his rental next week....He has court in the morning”. Got to check - if he’s not an attorney - it better be a traffic ticket type thing...otherwise I got a feeling there may be a “mechanical issue” that takes 24 hours to fix.
 

toymaker

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Another day...another hour late arrival...

I get it, people are on vacation time, kids, etc - I have no issue with “running a few minutes late”.

a few minutes to me ends at 30. An hour is just rude...

Funny thing is though - I revised the booking policy to clearly reflect “I will wait - but no show within 60 minutes - no refund/no reschedule” - funny how people now make it right at 60 minutes.

Gonna change that to 30 right now.

It’s no big deal - till it’s 88 degrees with 100% humidity out here on the water...then it gets old quickly.
 

Lungo

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I would consider no call no show at 15 minutes to be late. There would be exceptions for emergency situations of course.
 

Sct13

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So....it HAS to be in Neutral to start?

and what does this Thing do? Do I pull it to stop?

Does it have GPS ?

I was a manager for an equipment rental years ago...... I could not imagine renting out a boat....Lawn mowers and bobcats were worrisome enough....
 


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