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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
A Market in Part-Time Ownership

In the U.K. the concept has become a normal way of life, and though it hasn’t wholly caught on here in the states, part-time ownership is slowly creeping into the market. What exactly am I referring to when I mention “part-time ownership?” Well, here are some examples of businesses that have tapped into the industry:

Flexcar provides a range of membership packages to people who only have need of a vehicle part-time. Members designate when they need a vehicle parked locally and, instead of paying $500-$800 a month to lease a vehicle they hardly use, they pay an average of $100-$200 a month to only use a car when they need one. The business initially targeted residential markets, such as Seattle, where many people walk to most outings anyway. But Flexcar soon discovered that there was a need among members of corporate world, as well as those who couldn’t afford to purchase a car of their own. Not to mention the environmentally friendly benefits of the business, by reducing gas emissions.

FlexPetz, based in San Diego, started in March of this year and has already expanded to Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Customers are screened for compatibility and basically take turns caring for an obedience trained dog (with varying breeds to choose from) anywhere from a few hours to a number of days.

Bag Borrow or Steal leases out designer accessories, such as handbags and jewelry, and plans to soon add more elements of a luxury wardrobe, such as shoes, gowns and furs. In the three years they have been in business, they have expanded their customer base more than 100 times the few thousand they started with. I can see the appeal here for girls like me who may have the need to look like a diva for a special occasion, but couldn’t afford to out right purchase the accessories to do so.

It is believed that the concept of flexible or part-time ownership stems from the popularity of auction websites, such as eBay. As a whole, our concept of ownership has changed from long term to short term. People buy things on eBay with the knowledge that, once they no longer have a use for them, they can turn around and sell them on eBay to someone else. This has also broadened the acceptance of buying products used rather than new, even among what some may deem the cultural elite.

Though the market for part-time ownership is still only at a starting point, it is definitely catching on. So, if you’re looking for a business venture to pursue, consider offering part-time ownership – your product simply needs to be something consumers use, but not necessarily on a regular basis, much like the businesses mentioned above.

• The Luxury of Flexible Ownership

Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Which Business Entity is Right for You? (Part 3)
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 1)
Universities Should Provide More Entrepreneurial Studies
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 4)
The Right Way to Write-Off Business Expenses (Part 1)

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, July 15th, 2018 @ 12:01 AM CDT

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