Renting your instrument out

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    Living on an island with a relatively small population, I get asked at least 4 times a year if I’ll rent my harp out. In the past, I have done it. Two incidents over the past 7 years have changed my mind. First, a harpist borrowed my harp and neglected to put the bottom and column covers back on. Instead, she shipped them back to America with her band’s equipment because she let a roadie take care of the harp. It ended up with two gashes in the base. (I don’t move my harp here, we have an excellent instrument mover. Someone did put the harp back in the harp case and he just checked to see if the harp was in there properly. I don’t blame him at all.) The worst part about all of this? She never paid the rent she promised. She had the harp for 4 days! Just skipped town and left. So, I didn’t rent out my harp for awhile. Eventually, I gave in again and everything went well! I had many harpists come that cared very much about the instrument. Then, last year, I got a strange request. There was a harpist coming that demanded having a Gold Lyon and Healy 23. Sure, that would be nice, but no one on Iceland owns one. He then decided he wanted to symphony orchestra’s 30. I told his “people” he couldn’t have that one because the orchestra does not have insurance on the instrument. (They only have “insurance” from the government saying they would cover any damage costs.) He reluctantly said he would settle for my 85. I was already NOT happy with how he treated me, but I figured since the instrument was staying in our concert house it would be ok. I was wrong. It fell back on something and, while not having any major damage, has some SERIOUS scratches on it. He also skipped out on paying the rent and somehow thought that leaving me a chocolate bar would make up for it. Here’s my issue. I vowed not to rent out my harp again. I’ve been asked for this festival if it is possible and I’ve already said no. I feel quite guilty, however, because I know they aren’t ALL bad. Should I continue to say no or should I allow the company that would be renting the harp to have the harpist contact me? Is it wrong of me to say no? (By me saying no, there isn’t another harpist that will rent out their instrument…)


    I think it’s perfectly OK to say that you’ve had some bad experiences in past and can no longer rent out.


    What terrible experiences. Maybe you could try requiring full payment ahead of time plus a damage deposit equal to your deductible. Have it due a couple weeks ahead of time so that if the check ends up bad the harp is still in your hands.


    I would never deal with a company or organisers. I have lent my harp out to strangers, and might well do so again (I have also borrowed one abroad so it only seems fair) but I would want to discuss it with the harpist in person and get a feel for the situation and how much personal responsibility the harpist would take. Maybe the harp would only be available if I were hired to move it!


    Yea, I actually very much trust these organizers with my instrument. My last great experience was with them. (And I personally have let them move my harp around the country, in winter, and they did a fabulour job taking care of it.) Do you think its bad if I say yes to some situations, but an absolute no to others? I want people to be able to play here, but, I would like to know who the harpist is and actually speak to them before renting it out. Oh well, I’m sure this company will come back to me and ask again.

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