by Liza Long, photos by Mark Dyrud
As the long days of summer stretch out before us, it seems like the whole state is ready to play every weekend. If you’re the owner of a boat or recreational vehicle, do you ever feel guilty when you can’t use your gear? Or if you don’t have an RV or boat, have you struggled with high rental prices and confusing processes? Boise-based Outdoor Toy Share has a solution for you.
“Traditional rental companies have fixed inventories,” said Kyle Sales, founder and CEO of Outdoor Toy Share. “We can connect potential renters with a much wider inventory, even helping people to rent gear on dates that would seem impossible—Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc.”
Outdoor Toy Share is based on the same sharing economy principles that underlie successful companies like Uber and Airbnb. Sales, a CPA with private equity and technology experience whose wife Lindsay works at St. Alphonsus as a radiation oncologist, got the idea for the company after the couple’s attempts to rent a boat for the weekend failed.
“We had an idea of what we wanted to pay, but when we called traditional rental companies, the cost was outrageous—over $350 per day in Boise,” Sales told me.
By the time Sales and his wife finally decided to rent, everything was booked. “Even if we were willing to pay outrageous prices, there wasn’t anything available,” he said, noting that the process was also way more complicated than it needed to be.
Sales decided there had to be a better way. He researched the idea of a web-based sharing exchange for recreational vehicles, exploring other markets as well. In May 2015, Outdoor Toy Share soft launched in Boise, McCall, and Coeur d’Alene, so that the company could test its processes in a limited market.
The business bought a boat and rented it. Sales and his wife used the boat five times themselves, renting it out on the other weekends. “The average boat owner only uses it 7-11 times per year,” Sales told me. “We rented ours out 20 times. That was enough to not only cover our boating costs, but we also made a few thousand dollars.”
Outdoor Toy Share provides several advantages for both renters and owners. The rental process is automated through the company’s website. Listing your boat or RV takes only a few minutes, though Sales does recommend high quality photos to show off your gear. Owners set their own rates and approve any potential prescreened renters. Outdoor Toy Share takes care of the rest, from background checks to securing insurance to preparing one-page rental contracts.
“We make it turnkey for owners and renters,” Sales said. “We handle all of the insurance for the owners and renters. If something happens, owners are protected.”
Based on demand, Outdoor Toy Share also plans to offer jetskis, ATVs, snowmobiles, and even dirt-bikes. This year, they’ve expanded to eight marketplaces including Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Sales hopes to change what it means to own a boat or an RV. “Some owners feel guilty when they aren’t using their RV or boat. People get busy,” he said. “Now there’s a solution.”
For more information on how you can make your boat, RV, or other outdoor toys work for you, visit www.OutdoorToyShare.com