Quiptu defines itself as the “Airbnb” of outdoor equipment rental
LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Enthusiasts of outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking and biking this summer will find it easier than ever to source the necessary gear through Quiptu, the “Airbnb” for outdoor gear rentals.
Indianapolis native John Laughlin co-founded Quiptu with brother-in-law Josh Roche earlier this month. The idea for an outdoor equipment rental company came about when Roche struggled to find a gravel bike needed for a 350-mile bike trip last year.
“And so he spent an entire night trying to see if there was an REI (store) or a bike shop where he could rent a gravel bike,” Laughlin told the Journal & Courier. “And there wasn’t one near where he was going to ride his bike. Luckily, his friend who invited him had an extra gravel bike in his garage, and Josh had to basically dismantle the bike, up to 51 pieces and ship it to Montana, assembled it in his Uber driver’s backyard.
“And the box of parts came late, and so he missed the big start, so he had to catch up with everyone afterwards.”
Feeling that there must be an easier way to source hardware without buying, Quiptu was born.
Quiptu operates by customers visiting its website, www.quiptu.com, by choosing the activity for which the equipment is necessary, the pick-up and return dates and the location of the rental company. This will show the equipment available for hire according to the needs of the tenant.
“So as a renter, or someone who might want to rent a kayak or a bike,” Laughlin said, “you can search by location in our markets and pull up on the map and see the price for each listing … We modeled the experience after Airbnb and a few other companies. And so our goal was to create a sort of similar experience for landlords and renters.”
The equipment available, the time range it is available, and the price of the equipment are at the discretion of the owners, according to Laughlin. Pricing guidelines and recommendations for owners are provided by Quiptu.
“You can create an account as a landlord or tenant on our website,” Laughlin said.
Local partnerships in the Greater Lafayette area will make equipment much more accessible to Hoosiers.
“We partner with the Purdue Outing Club and the Purdue Cycling Club,” Laughlin said. “In addition to exploring partnerships with Virtuous circles…and another bike shop in West Lafayette.”
Quiptu is currently available in Indiana and Colorado. Future plans for Quiptu include expanding the geographic region of service available as well as the equipment available, such as branching into sports such as golf, tennis and eventually, winter equipment.
“Our goal is to launch and expand geographically into new markets,” Laughlin said. “So like I said, we’re in Indiana and Colorado, but we’d like to expand into other states as well. We’d also like to expand into other potential business categories… So think potentially of fishing gear, maybe golf clubs as well as…
“We think there’s a lot of outdoor adventure gear that people would be better off renting rather than owning. And then there’s a lot of people who just have that gear in their garage or their basement. -sol. And so, there’s not much of a limit to how far Quiptu can grow.”
Margaret Christopherson is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @MargaretJC2.