Amazon isn’t the first website that comes to mind when it comes to investing. You go there to spend money, not to make money. With their intelligent suggestions of “those who bought this, bought this” and enticements like free shipping and deep discounts, who hasn’t thrown something they don’t really need into their shopping cart? Not everything on Amazon is a money suck. There are some items that can yield you a good investment return if they are bought with the intent to rent out. Someone looking to rent a few chairs for a rehearsal dinner or a pitching machine for a baseball-themed fundraiser would prefer to rent the item at a much lower cost than pay for it.
What can you buy and then rent out? Here are 10 of the best ideas: (click the images to check the current price)
JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball - Someone looking to have a home run derby as part of a birthday party or fundraiser would be an obvious candidate to rent this machine. Parents are reluctant to buy one because they do not want their kids playing with it unsupervised and often they have no place to put it. (Many HOA's wouldn't allow a batting cage even if you had the space) If you can get just a small amount like $50 per day, it is still quite possible the machine could pay for itself after only a few weekends.
Animal Kingdom Inflatable Bouncer - Perfect for little kid birthday parties, this inflatable doesn't have the same level of injury risks that a tall water slide would have. Young parents love to spend money on their pre-school or early elementary school children's birthday parties. One person bought this float, bought a very inexpensive insurance policy, setup an LLC to own it, then made his money back in less than 30 days by renting it out for $300 per day in the summer. He advertised it on Craigslist.
Giant Inflatable Movie Screen - Smaller ones are available on Amazon, but this monster costs enough that someone is less likely to want to buy one for one-time use. Combined with a projector, you could keep people entertained for hours at a birthday party, school event, or even an event for people that want to re-live the drive-in movie days. This can be rented out along with a projector.
Farmer Helper Wood Chipper - Most landscaping companies do not invest thousands of dollars into wood chippers because they don't need them for everyday jobs. However, when larger jobs call for one, many would rather pay a few hundred bucks than to buy and maintain a wood chipper themselves. While there are cheaper wood chippers that cost less than $1000, the Farmer Helper wood chippers is industrial strength and will hold up for major jobs. One landscaper recently rented this wood chipper from a competitor for a lot clearing job in Brawley, California and reported great results. He was able to chip up several trees and leave the chips at the site with a "FREE" sign next to them. Within a few days, they were gone.
Wood Chiavari Chairs - Wedding chairs are almost always rented. After all, who wants to buy $5000 worth of chairs that they will only use one time? If you have a warehouse to store them in and a truck to transport them in, renting out wedding chairs is a no-brainer. People are always getting married whether the economy is good or bad, and while they can cut corners in a lot of different areas like flowers and cake, good quality chairs is an area that people tend to always spend money.
Onfloor 20 Inch Floor Grinder - Costing thousands of dollars, most do-it-yourselfers and home improvers don't want to spend the money for this tool when they just have one job. It is useful for concrete polishing and wood floor sanding and refinishing. It often rents for over $100 per day. Buy one for your own projects, then rent it out to others to earn an investment return.
Eurosteam Commercial Vapor Steam Cleaner - Paying commercial carpet cleaning services to clean several rooms of carpet is very expensive. Some people will opt for renting out the machine and doing it themselves. These don't necessarily cost a fortune, but they can earn a decent return if you rent them out on a daily basis to individuals or small cleaning companies that need them for specific jobs.
Belleze Patio Heater - Even though they are not particularly expensive, people don't want to spend the money to buy 5 or more of these heaters for a large party (or fool with the propane, the ignition switch, troubleshooting, etc.) Someone who owns several of them can rent them out, and keep backups on hand if one is not lighting.
Christmas Laser Lights - Renting these out would probably be part of a larger scale decorating hobby, where you install lights and other Christmas decorations to neighborhood homes for a fee. This particular light is really cool, makes a great impression, and is not expensive.
Louis Vuitton Twist Handbag - Several websites like Rent the Runway and Bag Borrow or Steal have sprung up to offer rentals of high end accessories. You can beat them by offering better prices, local same day hand delivery, or offering to rent only to friends or people you trust. You get the added perk of being able to use the bag yourself when it is not rented out.