How many items do you have that are used infrequently, maybe only once or twice a year? Some items might be tools such as power tools for the infrequent home improvement project, snow blowers, leaf blowing bags, and chain saws, to just name a few.
Rather than buying each of these items individually, why not consider sharing them with a trusted neighbor or family member?
I live outside of Chicago, and while Chicago’s reputation is a snowy, windy city in the winter, we don’t actually get that much snow. On an average year, we can expect 38 inches of snow. However, that snow typically comes in a few big storms and then little one to two inch dustings. While there are times that having a snow blower is helpful, that time is usually only once or twice a season.
The rest of the time, a simple snow shovel will do the job. With the infrequency of use, it can take 10 or more years to recoup your cost. If bought new, a snow blower can run $500 to $1,2000.
Instead of spending that much on your own, you could co-own the snow blower with a trusted neighbor. In my area, cleaning up the snow after a big storm typically takes 30 minutes or so because most people have small lots for their homes. That leaves plenty of time for you and your neighbor to share and finish clearing each of your homes in one morning.
While sharing expensive, infrequently used equipment can be a great way to save, there are a few considerations before you begin the arrangement:
–Does your neighbor care for his belongings as you do? Make sure you both take care of equipment, or you could be left seething when you have to clean up the mess he left in the leaf blower bag. Even worse, if he doesn’t care for equipment, you could be left with a damaged item.
-Is she trustworthy? Is your neighbor trustworthy? In the case of a snow blower, you will each be chipping in at least $250 to buy a new snow blower, so you want to make sure your investment is safe with the other person.
-Who will store the item? Determine ahead of time which person will store the item and how the other person will have access to it.
-What will happen in the event one of you moves? If one person moves three years into the equipment sharing arrangement, what will happen? Will one person buy the other person out?
-Consider writing up a contract. You may consider writing up a contract detailing the arrangements of your item sharing so there are no conflicts in the future. You could even go as far as having this document signed by a notary public.
While sharing equipment with a neighbor or friend does require you to work out some details in the beginning, the arrangement has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars if you share numerous pieces of equipment. The most important consideration is if you and the neighbor have a good relationship, communicate well, and both treat personal equipment the same way.
Have you tried sharing equipment with friends? Would you?