Lending Club Blog

Rental Center Pricing

Rental centers allow you to rent everything from furniture and appliances to computers and high-end electronics. Monthly fees may seem low, but renting often ends up being even more expensive than buying.

When my wife and I relocated for her job, her company paid for furniture rental until we completed our move. Included in the package were a small couch, coffee table, end table, 2 lamps, 2-person kitchen table and chairs, 3-drawer dresser, bed frame, and mattress. Her company was charged $116 per month for the rental.

The first thing we noticed after the delivery was that the items were of much lower quality than what we had seen in the showroom. The items were certainly well worn. While we only had the furniture for one month until we sold our house and moved our own furniture, the experience taught me a lesson: renting furniture is really expensive.

I decided to go shopping and price comparative furniture to what we had received. Of course, my prices were for new furniture, which would be considerably more than the used furniture we rented. The breakdown was as follows:

Table and 2 Chairs $90
Small Couch $400
Coffee and End Tables $45
Two Lamps $20
3 Drawer Dresser $70
Mattress/headboard $250
Total $875

Assuming you were to buy new furniture versus renting, you’d pay for the furniture within the first 8 months at the rental rate. Furniture may be more of a need than some other rental items, but want items follow similar pricing. If you were to buy used furniture, of comparable quality to the rental, from a thrift store, yard sale, Craigslist, or a similar second-hand source, it would pay for itself even more quickly.

Renting for a very short term may be more cost effective in certain situations. If you are looking to satisfy an ongoing need, however, then buying will almost always be less expensive. Confusing wants and needs makes us even more inclined to rent things that we really can’t afford. The irony is that while we may rent to save money, it usually ends up costing much more. Run the numbers for yourself before making a rent versus buy decision and you’ll likely come to the same conclusion.

Friday, May 23rd, 2008 at 7:30 am

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