Why not share?

Wow! It’s been a while since I have made a post here!

The weather here in NE Ohio is starting to look like spring and my time has been occupied with plenty of outdoor projects (and another couple of automotive “projects”) and honestly I have been at a bit of a loss for subject matter on which to post. I did, however, happen to think of something to post about today.

There are a few things that a man can use from time to time that just don’t warrant purchase individually because they are used so seldom. In my case I can think of a couple of examples. One would be a log splitter. I use it a couple weeks out of the year and the rest of the time it just sits. Another example would be a flat bed trailer.

Why not share the costs and benefits of owning things like this with a group of other people? I have a circle of friends with whom I have done just that! Any log splitter worth anything is going to cost you around a grand, new or used. So a year or so ago 4 or 5 friends and neighbors of mine went together to buy one. We pass it around as needed and we each only had to pony up a couple hundred dollars for the purchase. This has, so far, worked out really well. A similar arrangement has been made in regard to a trailer with a couple of friends.

Regardless of the complexity of the agreement between the members of a group, this sort of arrangement works well as long as the members take care of the equipment that is being shared. I even read an article recently about a group in a major metropolitan area that have assembled a “tool library” of sorts where the members can go to their warehouse and “check out” the tools needed to complete their task. It is similar to a rental station, but each member pays a fee for membership yearly and the collection of tools includes smaller hand tools than are generally available from a rental station.

We haven’t gone to that extent but many of my friends and family know the sorts of tools that I have and that they are welcome to borrow the tools. Making sure that those involved have something to offer for you to borrow is an added security against having anyone take advantage of the situation or to feel that they are doing so. There are some people who don’t mind taking constantly without giving something in return, but in general most folks around here would be happier if given the opportunity to repay a favor in some way.

This communal approach to sharing tools and equipment can have its downfalls, but as long as the lines of communication are kept open and everyone respects the property as belonging (at least in part) to someone else it works well. It has really worked out well in our case. In fact, in many instances those involved treat the equipment better than if it were solely theirs since they have the added accountability of sharing it with others. There are some tools that we don’t all use enough to justify the cost of their purchase, but if you work together, sometimes it just works out top share a little!