NFR Renting your Pontoon

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Drysuperfly, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. Drysuperfly

    Drysuperfly Member

    Feb 26, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I was thinking about renting out my pontoon boats and other outdoor gear that I have collected over the years, my hours are getting cut at work and I need to make some extra cash without selling my gear, I have 2 person, and a 1 person. both Dave sadden so I am not worried about them falling apart on somebody. I would supply life jackets and all necessary items.

    I am running into a couple questions/problems
    1) How would I cover my ass in case of injury, does a signed document actually hold up if stated that I am not responsible for any safety once the boat leaves my property (in fancier lawyer terms or course)
    2) does anyone run a small business? I would like to take smaller deposits (most fixes are under $300) so that more people could rent it, but if something does go wrong and the boat gets destroyed beyond the deposit how can I make them financially liable for replacing it, technically all I have is a signed piece of paper and I have no clue how to enforce it.

    Any ideas or advice would be great, I am not sure on the best course to take this so here I am.

  2. Peyton00

    Peyton00 Active Member

    Oct 24, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Puyallup, Wa.
    REI-- Sports Authority-- and many seasonal sport shops have rentals. See what they have, compare your gear and go from there. The places renting your specific type of gear will tell ya over the phone the deposit and daily rental fees etc.
    In generalities, you are renting your gear to strangers, requiring a deposit, and looking to make a few bucks off your equipment( good for you and the renter ). I suggest paying an attorney for legal knowledge/documents/assistance, get a license if needed, and make a short term goal into a longterm adventure.
    I would not like to hear about a guy making an attempt at a few dollars allowing his precious outdoor gear to leave with strangers, found liable for injuries, ripped off, or any other thing that can happen out in the world.
    If you think its a viable plan, spend the money, do it right and sleep well at nite.


    ...death threats... revenge... property damage....bodily injury....
    U dont need any red tape bureaucratic paperwork... go oldschool!
    gofish101 and Blue like this.
  3. SpeyFitter

    SpeyFitter Active Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Coquitlam, BC, Canada
    Get an Attorney.
  4. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

    May 20, 2004
    Likes Received:
    low holing
    Home Page:
    Liability Insurance will make you think twice.
  5. Darryl Pahl

    Darryl Pahl Active Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Seattle, WA
    You would want to form a separate business to limit liability, otherwise you and your assets would potentially be on the hook. The paper work to setup a new business in Washington isn't that difficult and can be done on your own. But to be safe, and because of the inherent risk that you are looking at, a lawyer would be a good investment. There's lots of small business lawyers that could help, but you're looking at at least $600.

    And if you have a small business, welcome to the world of taxes. Our small business has 33 separate tax documents/filings per year, not counting our own personal taxes. You wouldn't have all of these of course, but expect more time filling in forms and less time fishing.

    If not the business route, you might check your home owners insurance or with your agent. The difference is likely in loaning equipment vs. renting it.

    It's all possible, but you are in a position where to do it right would cost too, and doing it wrong would risk too much.

    As an example, I dislocated my shoulder when I was younger in CA. About $5K in medical bills. My insurance company paid as they should, but they did put some effort into finding out the ski resort where I fell and where I rented my skis in order to basically hassle them. Nothing became of it, but it's standard practice to at least try to assign blame and recover costs.
  6. BDD

    BDD Active Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Ellensburg, WA
    Home Page:
    A friend and I started a small business a few years ago manufacturing and selling inflatable pontoons and rafts and formed an LLC (limited liability company) to help reduce potential risks of the operation. We offer rental and demo programs to allow folks to either rent boats outright or to allow them to take out boats and try them before buying them. I have been a little surprised how few people actually rent boats. I think between universities having equipment to cheaply rent to students, borrowing boats from friends, and simply saving up a few hundred to a few thousand bucks to just get your own boat limits the market for boat rentals.

    When you consider all the paperwork, time communicating and coordinating with customers, running shuttles, paying for and maintaining a website, paying for a phone, answering email, prepping and cleaning boats, invoicing, taxes, having people blow you off, and a bunch of other stuff, simply providing a boat rental service probably does not make a lot of economic sense, unless you are already in the boat business and/or have resort, guide service, or whitewater rafting company.

    I would anticipate that you would do very few rentals per year, which in a way is a good thing because you would not have people thrashing your personal equipment. You might make a little extra cash on the side a year and whether that would be worth it for all the extra trouble and hassle, only you could determine. If we were not constantly changing up our fleet, I would be hesitant about keeping any boat in a rental program too long because they get much more use/wear and tear than during normal use, which is why most companies have reduced or limited warranties for commercial applications. Fortunately for you, I don't think that would be an issue because I just don't see there being a big market for pontoons using personal gear. Not trying to burst your bubble but rather giving you a reality check of what you could expect.
    bennysbuddy and dfl like this.