Denver startup Fluid wants you to rent stuff from strangers

A Denver startup wants Coloradans to do something they’re probably not used to: rent lawnmowers, chainsaws, trucks and other stuff from strangers in their neighborhood.

(Courtesy of Fluid)
(Courtesy of Fluid)
(Courtesy of Fluid)

A Denver startup wants Coloradans to do something they’re probably not used to: rent lawnmowers, chainsaws, trucks and other stuff from strangers in their neighborhood.

James Eberhard, owner and founder of Fluid, thinks his company will change the way people think about possessions. “In five years from now, if you have a tree that’s broken and needs to be cut down, the whole notion that you would go to Home Depot and buy (a chainsaw) … you’ll never think about that ever again. You’ll hop on Fluid, rent a chainsaw from somewhere that’s a lot closer for a lot less and use it when you need it.”

Eberhard launched his app last summer and says he’s already raised $1.7 million in funding and found more than 10,000 users in the Denver metro area. He hopes to continue rolling out Fluid in Colorado before expanding to other states.

“The great thing about this model is it will work anywhere whether its Denver, Pueblo, New York, San Francisco, London or Romania,” Eberhard said.

The Fluid app works by letting users either rent items from others or post items they’re willing to lend out. Fluid tacks on a 20 percent service fee for all transactions and has insurance in case any items or damaged or stolen while being rented.

“What it really does is it optimizes every asset you have,” Eberhard said. “You can look at it like when you want to go out and buy a chainsaw, it may cost you $300 for the chainsaw, but you can put it on Fluid and effectively pay for that chainsaw by renting it out.”

Users set their own prices on Fluid. So for the chainsaw example, one option was $46.67 an hour in Arvada while another was going for $90 a day near Greeley. Other items for rent on the app were a camping chair ($1 per hour), camera ($30 per day), “authentic” tipi ($150 per day), and Ford F-150 ($15 per hour).

“The biggest challenge we have is this idea that ‘it’s mine.’ There’s a lot of people that are so attached to their possessions they won’t lend them out to their best friends,” Eberhard said. “But you’re seeing people’s ideas about ownership are changing.”

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or @adriandgarcia on Twitter.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was recently elected to the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.