Author Topic: Review my family friendly side hustle idea  (Read 1602 times)

tag

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Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« on: December 18, 2017, 01:48:14 PM »
I want to start a “toy and materials library” for kids. More as a service to our community than a money-maker. A hobby job really, and one that my kids could eventually run without me. We homeschool - so great learning experience for them.

The idea is to buy a variety of high quality, highly sought after toys and materials - and loan them out.

The idea is coming from the fact that there are things I’d love for my kids to lay with that are more than I want to spend and I also don’t want to accumulate and own more stuff. And some of the really high quality toys out there are really expensive. I was going to start loans at 10-15% of the retail price for each item.

My questions are...

1) Woukd you ever spend money to temporarily own something for your kid?

2) How could I handle damage/loss? I wouldn’t want people to feel that the toys are for decoration. It’d be my job to identify durable items and nothing with small or breakable pieces.  It I feel like I’d need to set up some kind of system for keeping a deposit for lost items or items damaged beyond repair. Thoughts on that?

Any other thoughts or comments you have would be greatly appreciated!!!

Jrr85

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2017, 02:47:03 PM »
I want to start a “toy and materials library” for kids. More as a service to our community than a money-maker. A hobby job really, and one that my kids could eventually run without me. We homeschool - so great learning experience for them.

The idea is to buy a variety of high quality, highly sought after toys and materials - and loan them out.

The idea is coming from the fact that there are things I’d love for my kids to lay with that are more than I want to spend and I also don’t want to accumulate and own more stuff. And some of the really high quality toys out there are really expensive. I was going to start loans at 10-15% of the retail price for each item.

My questions are...

1) Woukd you ever spend money to temporarily own something for your kid?

2) How could I handle damage/loss? I wouldn’t want people to feel that the toys are for decoration. It’d be my job to identify durable items and nothing with small or breakable pieces.  It I feel like I’d need to set up some kind of system for keeping a deposit for lost items or items damaged beyond repair. Thoughts on that?

Any other thoughts or comments you have would be greatly appreciated!!!

Are you in a densely populated city with expensive real estate? 

If not, I can't see people being able to get over the psychological hurdles of renting toys.

Also, unless by toys, you mean say, $1,000+ bounce houses, I think your 10-15% of the retail price is going to be way too low to cover the hassle while also paying you back for the purchase price. 

 

BAM

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2017, 04:09:56 PM »
We've had these toy lending libraries in two communities we've lived in. Both were free though - run through the city like the public library was.
The first one I used a lot - I had two little boys who were going through developmental stages quickly (ages 0-3 or so) so it was nice to have a changing supply of toys. We also had very little money to spend on toys. Now, I don't find it necessary even though I still have 2 and 4 year olds.

As far as paying, I don't think I would. It would have to offer something very special at a very good price to be attractive.

Spiffy

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 06:22:32 AM »
We had one of these run out of the public library in a tiny midwestern town when my first child was born. We loved it. You had to buy a yearly subscription. Ours was a gift, so I don't remember how much it was. They had all sorts of bulky toys that we wouldn't want sitting around for ever, so it was great for that kind of thing. Play houses, kitchens, boxes of trains sets, blocks, puzzles and games... It was great.

BAM

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 06:47:25 AM »
Hmmm... for big bulky toys, that I might consider. Ours didn't have things like that.
How would you get the big bulky things home though? I can't imagine that they would fit into a car trunk, some maybe not even into an SUV back.

kimmarg

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 07:10:19 PM »
hmmm I might do it. Personally I'd prefer a flat $$ per month rate for a set number of toys at a time. (say $20/month for 3 toys) so then my kid could swap them out.

In addition to bulky stuff, seasonal stuff would be nice. Rent a slip-n-slide and bubble machine for a summer bbq, skis and a sled for winter day, etc.  Personally I'd also rent any sort of electronic gizmo because then I could let my kid have it for a while and afterwards it would have to go back and I wouldn't have to listen to it.

EmFrugal

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2017, 09:01:16 AM »
If you can market to a minimalist type crowd, I think this would be a big hit. I have three kids and would love to have things temporarily. I hate, hate, hate the toy clutter despite not owning as much as the typical household. I just need to get better about having my kids pick up.

On the flip-side, I don't like paying for toys regardless of the price. I tend to wait until generous family members offer to purchase items for Christmas or birthdays. But if you have people who don't have the family hook-up or who don't receive hand me downs, this could work.

The challenge will just be finding the right audience. Start small and test it out with a few items on a handful of families. Always best to spend very little in the beginning and test market before buying more. That is how I've structured my own side-hustle and so far, so good. Good luck!!

chemistk

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 06:07:46 AM »
It's not a terrible idea, I've heard of toy lending libraries before (usually though a library or community center though). My issue with it is that it could become expensive, and time consuming very fast.

Assuming you can establish a market for this:

-There's a huge start up cost, most toys folks would want to rent are either expensive, or in such demand that you would need quite a few of them to not drive people away because you don't have the toy they want.
-Where are you storing your inventory? I would bet most toys people want are on the larger size (doll house size) rather than smaller items (which would get lost anyway)
-How will you make sure everything's clean? UV Sterilization? Disinfectant? You personally might not care but you don't really want to be the one responsible for a flu, strep, pink eye, diarrhea, etc. outbreak because of one kid.
-What recourse will you take if you find that a toy is missing pieces, is broken, or is lost? A cheap toy or an inconsequential component lost might lead you to discount it but how will you recover the cost if someone loses it?
-How will people know what your current inventory is? Maintaining a website with pictures, etc. can cost a bit and be time consuming.
-What about toys that fall out of favor? Will you donate them? Sell them at a steep discount?
-How will you advertise your business?


Sorry to poke holes in your idea. I like it and it could be profitable in certain markets, but I see it as a lot of work.


FWIW I could see myself using it in the future. Outdoor toys, nicer stuff (melissa and doug), hot wheels tracks, puzzles, video game equipment would be some of the things I could see myself renting.

MDfive21

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Re: Review my family friendly side hustle idea
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 12:20:51 PM »
You could probably do this with $0 startup cost.

Start a locals only toy share group.  Each member must donate one toy of the proper size/quality to enter and you and your kids manage the swapping around of the different toys.  Possibly use a facebook group for online visibility, or make your own website as part of the project for the kids.  This gets you into the market without a lot of $$ up front and you can see how it plays out.