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The world in my pocket

Buying is not always the better option. Hiring gadgets and appliances can be more cost-effective and convenient, especially if it's for the short term.

Chandralekha Mukerji | Print Edition: December 2010

MOBILE PHONES

WHY RENT: If you feel the urge to upgrade your phone every six months or need one on a temporary basis, rent-a-phone is for you. After all, a new mobile phone is being introduced almost every month, making it one of the fastest moving gadgets. Besides, even a branded phone will not fetch you more than 50% of the MRP after a few months' usage.

WHERE TO HIRE: Mobile rentals have been recently introduced in India by Vincegrass Creative Solutions. Register on their Website, www.rentaphone.co.in, to hire.

RENTAL VALUE: For a one-time payment of Rs 365 and a one-year validity, you can buy a RAP (rent a phone) card by filling up a form. You can then rent a variety of phones at prices ranging from Rs 10-61 per day. There's no security deposit.

GAIN: A BlackBerry 8320 costing Rs 16,500 can be rented for just Rs 26.30 a day. So, a three-month rental will cost you Rs 2,760, a fraction of its actual cost.

LAPTOPS

WHY RENT: If you need a laptop for a single project and are not quite ready to purchase one, consider hiring. You can take the machine home simply by signing a rental contract, along with identity proof and an advance fee.

WHERE TO HIRE: Various city-specific businesses have flexible rental periods ranging from a few months to a year. You can also approach the local electronics shops; even a Google search can yield good hiring options.

RENTAL VALUE: Rs 2,000-3,000 a month. Usually, there is no security deposit or delivery charges, but beware of the Websites that may impose hidden charges.

GAIN: A basic laptop will cost you a minimum of Rs 30,000, while you can rent one for three months for about Rs 7,500. It comes with basic software and free maintenance, assuring you trouble-free operation during the rental period.

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

WHY RENT: Medical equipment is usually costly and has very low resale value. So, if you need a wheelchair or a hospital bed for a short period, say, till your operated knee is better, get one on rent. It's cheaper and more convenient to hire, be it for temporary usage like recovering from an injury or while travelling.

WHERE TO HIRE: The best place to begin your search is the directory and its online avatars. Search under the category 'medical equipment', make a list of local dealers and start calling. Companies like MediRentat also offer flexible rental periods, ranging from few days to months.

RENTAL VALUE: Wheelchairs are available for Rs 1,500-2,000 per month, oxygen concentrators for Rs 4,500-5,000 per month, and hospital beds start at Rs 1,800 a month.

GAIN: Instead of buying an oxygen concentrator for Rs 50,000, you can hire it at one-tenth the cost. Even a wheelchair costing 7,000 will be cheap at Rs 1,500.

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