The different ways you can start a rental business are countless. From vehicles and furniture to construction machinery and hiking gear—you’re sure to stumble across a niche that’s perfect for you. Below are 35 rental business ideas to inspire your next business venture.
Let’s dive in.
Top Rental Business Ideas for 2020
Before we get started, you’ll want to consider three things before you commit to a rental business idea:
- Storing your products
- Transporting your products (e.g., photo booths and bounce houses for special events)
- Cleaning and maintaining your products
Renting large products like a bounce house or furniture will likely have more transportation demands than renting baseball gear. Make sure you understand what a rental business entails and the resources you have access to before committing to a rental business idea.
1. Sporting Goods
Sporting goods is a broad umbrella that houses several types of business ideas. You can start a rental business that serves different activities or focus on a specific sport:
- Baseball: bats, gloves, helmets
- Hockey: helmets, skates, hockey sticks
- Football: neck collars, shoulder pads, gloves
- Tennis: rackets, balls, ball machines
And the list goes on. If you have an interest in sports, renting equipment could be the perfect business for you.
Halloween is only one day out of the year. The other 364 days, your costume is just taking up room in your closet. For this reason, more people are renting instead of purchasing costumes. And don’t think this rental business is limited to just Halloween. A costume rental can serve multiple markets: theater groups, themed parties, entertainment professionals, and other holidays.
3. Conference Room
If you own an office building, you’re probably not using your conference rooms every minute of the workday. If you want to make extra money, you can rent your empty conference rooms to other small business owners and entrepreneurs who don’t have the same infrastructure.
4. Bounce Houses
Remember those bounce houses you played in as a child? Why not start a bounce house rental business and give that fun experience to the next generation? Parents are always throwing children’s parties, so you’ll have a steady flow of prospective customers you can target throughout the year.
5. Hunting Equipment
If you have an interest in hunting, you can serve a unique market. Since hunting season happens only a few times a year, many people choose to rent instead of buy hunting gear. Items you could rent out include binoculars, scopes, tents, and navigation and communication devices.
6. Fishing Gear
Fishing is a favorite pastime among many Americans. But transporting and storing fishing gear is a hassle for most people. Make fishing easy and convenient by renting out rods, wading boots, and other fishing gear.
7. Office Space
If you’re the proud owner of a large commercial building, you can rent out office space to businesses. Many entrepreneurs are looking for affordable places to set up their business operations. Renting office space is also an excellent opportunity to support fellow small business owners.
Many people rent RVs for road trips and “glamping” in the forest. With most travel plans still on hold because of COVID-19, road trips are especially on the rise, meaning this could be the perfect time to start an RV rental business.
Learning how to start a car rental business is one of the most common rental business ideas. In this business, you can target a vast market, including tourists, business travelers, and long-term rentals. You can join a franchise, work with a dealership, or even start an independent small business.
Not everybody has a full toolkit in their homes. Those who are tackling a weekend project without tools can rent what they need from you. As a tool rental business, you can rent out ladders, saws, monkey wrenches, and more.
11. Real Estate
Airbnb has carved a name for itself in the travel industry. And if you’ve traveled recently, you’ve likely checked out their services to book potential spaces. If you own property and have the extra space, consider becoming an Airbnb host.
12. Board Game Rental
Yes, people are still playing board games, and they’re an excellent way to have fun at home. In fact, New York-based Bard & Baker is a board game café that allows their customers to rent various board games for $5 to $10. From Scrabble to Catan, there are so many games you can offer your customers.
13. Concession Machines
Renting out concession machines can be one of the more fun rental business ideas. Serving popcorn, cotton candy, and snow cones is an exciting way for you to contribute to the party (while satisfying everybody’s sweet tooth).
Many people, often traveling business people or college students, need temporary furniture solutions to spruce up their living space. You may want to partner with professional movers and cleaners to keep your couches, chairs, and tables clean and maintained.
15. Office Equipment
Some businesses don’t want to go through the hassle of buying, maintaining, and storing office equipment. Instead, they seek office equipment rental services for desks, printers, chairs, printers, and more.
16. Formal Wear
Similar to costumes, formal wear is only worn during special occasions (and often not repeated). To help people save money, you can rent tuxedos, dresses, gowns, and even accessories. One business already doing this is Rent the Runway—where women can rent anything from cocktail to black tie attire.
17. Party Bus
If you live in an area with a lively party scene, consider starting a party bus rental business. You can target bachelor and bachelorette parties and graduation celebrations to help create an unforgettable evening.
Shared-use kitchens are increasing in numbers as more culinary startups and food entrepreneurs use them to test their menus. But first, you must invest in a facility with industrial-grade kitchen equipment. After that, you can rent out space to chefs in time blocks throughout the day.
Depending on the size of your boat, you can target a broad market. You can rent smaller boats for fishing trips or cruises around the lake. If you own a larger houseboat, you can host bachelor parties, corporate outings, weddings, and more.
20. Photography Equipment
If you ever wondered how to start a photography business, you may have discovered how expensive photography equipment can be. Many photographers save money by renting tools for specific gigs. Your photography rental business can include professional cameras, tripods, lenses, GoPros, and even drones.
If you live in a city with bike lanes or an area with bike trails, a bicycle rental business can be a profitable venture. Many people are looking for a temporary way to zoom across town quickly or need a particular mountain bike to tackle challenging trails.
If you have experience caring for farm animals, then starting a petting zoo business can be an exciting opportunity. Your target market will likely be parents wanting to spoil their children with pony rides and small, furry or feathery animals to pet.
23. Medical Supplies
Some people need certain medical supplies without the long-term commitment. Medical tools you can rent include wheelchairs, hospital beds, ramps, stairlifts, and knee walkers. Within this type of business, you can partner with local medical facilities or market yourself directly to patients.
24. Landscaping Tools
If you’re not a professional landscaper, you likely don’t have the necessary tools to tackle a weekend landscaping project. With the right marketing, you can start your own landscaping rental business, renting chainsaws, lawnmowers, tillers, and more to homeowners in need.
Starting a self-storage business is a unique way to easily make money. You provide the space and your customer pays their rent and handles the heavy lifting. Although buying the storage space can require a significant initial investment, you can apply for self-storage loans. With enough patience, you can repay your loan and profit from your storage units.
26. Portable Toilets
While not the most glamorous of rental business ideas, portable toilets are certainly necessary. Your target market will likely include construction sites and outdoor events. Portable toilets can be a competitive industry; if you can distinguish yourself from your competitors, this can be lucrative.
Dumpster renting likely won’t rank among the most glamorous of rental business ideas; however, it can be lucrative. You can serve residential, commercial, and industrial markets offering dumpsters of various sizes. However, keep in mind that dumpsters have some initial investment costs—a new dumpster can potentially cost you $1,000, and you must also have ways to transport them to your customers.
28. Photography Booth
Photography booths are an exciting rental business idea because you gain entry into some fun parties and events. Even though our mobile cameras can take amazing photos, there’s still something about group photos and Polaroid-style prints that never go out of style.
29. Outdoor Equipment
From fishing gear and ski boards to surfboards and scuba gear, you have several possibilities for outdoor equipment rentals. Of course, you might want to tailor your services according to your location—offering surfboard rentals in Iowa probably won’t be very profitable.
30. Moving Equipment
With this rental business idea, you can rent moving blankets, dollies, hand trucks, floor protectors, and more to people or businesses that are tackling moving on their own.
31. Cleaning Tools
Similar to the various tools mentioned earlier, many people don’t own specialty cleaning items. For those participating in spring cleaning (or just need to deep clean their homes), you can rent out carpet cleaners, heavy-duty vacuums, steamers, and handheld vacuums.
32. Camping Gear
Camping can be a fun weekend adventure, but most people don’t own so much as a sleeping bag. This rental opportunity is ideal if you are located near a camping hotspot, and you can rent out:
- Outdoor cooking supplies
- Campfire essentials
- Sleeping bags
- Tables and chairs
33. Carts and Kiosks
If you have access to a supply of carts or kiosks, you can rent them to vendors selling various merchandise and accessories—whether in malls or outdoor markets.
34. Cake Stand
Many about-to-be-wed couples focus on the wedding cake but forget about the cake stand. A cake stand adds the finishing touch that can elevate and frame a cake beautifully. From forest-themed to floral designs, you can rent out various cake stands to make a wedding cake pop.
35. Event Venue
If you have the capital and own a large venue, you can rent it out to host various events. Weddings, parties, and corporate outings are different markets that may contact you to rent your venue. You can also partner with local catering companies and event planners to create package deals for your customers.
Starting a rental business is a unique business opportunity that offers various challenges and rewards. Unlike other business models, you’re only renting the product. That means you’re also responsible for maintaining and keeping your products in reusable condition.
We hope that this list of rental business ideas inspires you to research your next entrepreneurial venture. Whatever your interests and background, you’re sure to find a niche that’s right for you.
- Statista.com “Rental & Leasing in the U.S. 2020”