Renting a laptop for a day, a week, or a month is easier than you might think. A number of firms specialize in laptop rentals on a local or nationwide basis, and so do some of the rent-to-own stores found in major metropolitan areas. Here's the scoop on renting a laptop...
Should You Rent a Laptop?
If you need a laptop just for a trip, a special event or because your laptop is down for repair, a laptop rental may be a good option. But depending on how you go about it, renting a laptop could be almost as expensive as buying a used one. Here are some tips to consider.
RentAComputer is one laptop rental specialist. They rent to anyone, anywhere in the United States, unlike some laptop rental places that will rent only to businesses. I emailed RentAComputer a request for a quote on a one-week rental of a "standard" laptop and within an hour received this proposal back:
- Intel Pentium 2-3Ghz Notebook
- 1GB Ram / 40gb Hard Drive / CDRW / DVD
- 10/100 Ethernet / 802.11g Wireless
- Windows XP Pro SP3 / MS Office 2007
- Adobe Reader / IE 8 / Anti-Virus
- Carrying Case / External Mouse w/ Pad
It's a pretty bare-bones system, but good enough to run Windows XP and the included apps. The cost was rather steep, though: $125 rent, plus $95 for delivery and pickup. For $220, one could probably buy a comparable laptop on Craigslist. There were some other terms that one should be aware of, too.
Cancellation fees may apply if you refuse delivery of the system or cancel without sufficient advance notice. Refuse a delivery from RentAComputer and you can kiss 100% of the rental and delivery charge goodbye! You lose 50% if you cancel less than 48 hours before scheduled delivery.
When renting a laptop, you should make sure the unit you rent does have the software you'll need. At a minimum, look for an office suite, and up-to-date anti-virus protection. Also, it's a good idea to have your own USB flash drive to save your work, so you don't accidentally leave anything personal or confidential on the laptop when returning it.
RentAComputer and, presumably, any nationwide laptop rentals firm needs 10 days to deliver your rented laptop. A laptop rental for a trade show or other scheduled event is no problem, but if your laptop just broke down and you need a temporary replacement right now, you will have to rent locally.
Local Options for Laptop Rental
Since I leave near New York City, I googled "Laptop Rentals in NYC" and found one that rents both Dell and Apple Macbook laptops for $49/day or $99/week. The advantage is that you can pick it up and drop it off yourself, saving the expense and wait time of a delivery service.
"Computer rentals" may be a category in your local Yellow Pages. Local computer resellers, builders, and service centers may have unadvertised rental programs. Nationwide chains of rent-to-own centers such as RentACenter rent laptops as well as furniture, TVs, and major appliances.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that "rent-to-own" is for dummies. A year's rent usually amounts to much more than the cost of buying a thing new. Save your money and delay gratification if at all possible. But if you absolutely must have a laptop for a short period of time, laptop rental may be your only option.
Many laptop rental vendors also rent large-screen monitors, computerized kiosks, huge projection screens, and other gadgets used by trade show exhibitors and conference presenters. MeetingTomorrow.com is one such specialist in event rentals. One advantage of such rentals is that you don't have to lug equipment to the event; it's delivered there and often setup by trained installers.
Laptop rentals are used mostly by businesses, but sole proprietors and professionals are frequent renters too. Consumers rarely rent laptops as their needs are seldom urgent. But it's good to know about laptop rental options just in case.
Do you have something to say about renting a laptop? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Feb 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Laptop Rentals (Posted: 11 Feb 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved