Interest in an interconnect

Hello there, this is my first post here. My business friend and I have been kicking around the idea of starting an online interconnect "library" where it would be possible to rent interconnects. Our plan would involve a small one-time fee of perhaps 5 or 10 dollars, and would include your first rental. Thereafter, a one week checkout would also be about 10 bucks. Additionally, with each rental we would include a formatted page for you to fill out with your current system and a brief (1 paragraph or so) review of the sound with that particular interconnect and, ultimately, what was purchased; subsequent rentals of that interconnect would include these previous comments so that comparisons could be made.

Is there any interest in this sort of setup? What about pricing? If you have any helpful feedback, positive or negative, please post and let me know.

Thanks for your time!
This sounds like an excellent idea and something that i too have thought about. While the Cable Company offers something along the same lines, it is not quite what you described. Letting the public access the various cable reviews and info could be VERY helpful.

Since cables can be so "flavorful" or system dependent, there really is a need to try several different makes / models to see what works best. It is strange that something as simple as various wire configurations could make such a drastic difference ( good OR bad ) with all of the money that we have put into active electronic circuitry and components.

You better devise some type of "fool proof" plan on inspecting returns and how to bill people for "damage" along with the appropriate disclaimer. While i think that most people are honest and try to be "straight up", it is amazing what people can do when making simple connections.

You might also want to restructure your price on "rentals". I won't go into details here, but you would be out of business REAL fast at the rate that you're talking. Sean
I don't want to rain on your parade, but the Cable Company has a pretty extensive library--and it's free. You can check anything out. They charge your credit card the amount of the cable and then refund the money when they get the cable back. It's a good way to try multiple cables--you just have to be sure you don't go into next months billing cycle while you're trying the cables.
Well, my immediate reaction is: not a bad idea. I'd be willing to pay a nominal fee to try out expensive interconnects and speaker cables (which you might also want to offer) that I wouldn't buy without trying. I also like the aspect of being able to rent without feeling a sense of obligation to a retail dealer.

I don't see this business venture as a big revenue generator, since the audiophile community isn't very big, and the number of audiophiles that would be interested in your rentals would be a smaller subset of audio hobbyists. From a business perspective, your idea sounds more like a part-time business endeavor, but it might grow enough to keep one guy busy. The cost-to-profit ratio is something you will need to consider: how much do you need to make for this idea to be worthwhile to you, both personally and financially?

From your side of the equation, you will obviously have some start-up costs: buying the interconnects and/or speaker cables; getting an Internet site going; etc. You might want to talk to some other small business owners in the interconnect/cable field, such as and HomeGrownAudio. They can give you some insight into the practical and business issues.
...Well well Sometimes it's not going to make a sence unless you're guys going to be paying at least for shipping.
If I would pay for shipping + rental price of the cables of $10/weekly then they have to be realy costly cables.
Following up on Sd above, I would also suggest you run this idea by cable manufacturers, both mega and small, with an objective to obtaining the matl for free. The library could be be a one-to-one marketing place for them...
I would certainly love to be able to try out cable without the pressure that a 30-day return policy generates (I always feel like I am really buying it and can only legitamately send it back if there is something actively negative). Your model also has the benefit of encouraging people to try cables they really cannot afford (a good thing in my mind - it helps to know what you are missing).

However, your cost model seems VERY unrealistic unless your membership was large and number of cables small (which has other problems in terms of availability). In pro-audio rental, the base rate for rentals is 1% of MSRP per day. This assumes that units will be in active rental for about 3-5 years and will be rented out for 50 to 75 paying days a year (longer rentals get discounts - e.g. a week rental costs 4 days). At this rate equipment pays for itself during the second year and still has 2 or more years of profitmaking rental. Renting cables would have to be for at least one week at a time with a week being sent back and forth. So with a total of 3 weeks per rental the absolute maximum number of yearly rentals is 17 and realistically even 15 would be difficult (also one week is not very long for evaluating cables). So at 15 rental a year if we want the cable to pay itself off over say 2 years you would need to charge 3.4% without allowing for ANY profit or administrative costs during that period and assuming that the connectors and cables will last through 4 or 5 years of such heavy use - which I doubt). I believe that realistically you would need to charge something close to 10% of MSRP for this rental library to work and since used cables can often be had for 40-50% of MSRP you are asking people to pay 20-25% of what they could buy the cable for, just to rent it for a week or so. And then there is shipping both ways...

Not to be glum, it would be great, but unless some wealthy benefactor of audiophile land is sposoring the venture as a community service (or tax write off), I doubt it could work.

Good luck

If you can get it "off the ground" I would be willing to pay a reasonable fee for auditioning ICs and cables. Why not also add power cords-- much audiophile interest in these.

However, the posters above provide some food for thought re actually getting such a venture started. The last time I got wires from the Cable Co. (3-4 years ago), they were charging a percentage fee to audition wires with the fee(s)to be applied against purchase. If you didn't purchase though, the rental fee was effectively fairly high,in the 5-10% of MSRP range. So it was only a good deal if you actually planned to purchase-- which I did.

Good Luck. Craig
The Cable Company does not run it's lending for free. You pay 5% of the cable value by credit card which they will point towards the particular cable that you buy. If you do not buy a cable from them, you are out that money. And the Cable Company cells all their cables for absolute list price so the service is worth it to some but not for me. I
have never paid list price for cables. Not evem at a brickn'mortar shop. It is cheaper to purchase 3 or 4 different cables at the Gon and cell them back at the same price to someone else. I am only out of shipping. Dale
About the Cable Co, Craig is correct there is a charge of 5-10% (depends how good a cutomer you are) of cable cost to audition, but this can be applied to "any" future purchase of any product from Cable Co.

My experience is Cable Co will give a good discount to regular customers, I never pay list there.

Now all dealers carry certain cables that provide 30 day
trail return policy, but they catch on quick and know who is a serious buyer and who just wants to try several cables and not buy anything.