Could you imagine getting paid just to hang out? Could you imagine getting paid to watch a movie, play a bit of tennis and maybe go for a drink? Could you imagine getting paid for being a friend?
Well, thanks to a site called Rent a Friend, you really can get paid for your friendship.
Sounds weird, right – but kind of cool?!
Read on to find out how exactly it works.
Rent a Friend was created in Stewartsville, New Jersey, by Scott Rosenbaum.
He had noticed that friend renting companies were very popular in Japan, usually to stand in for a missing family member.
The US market, however, didn’t really have such a thing – so Rent a Friend was created to cater for those in the US who might be in need of a friend.
The site became very popular and is now available worldwide, which means that we in the UK can now get paid to be a friend.
People looking for a ‘friend’ pay a monthly fee to the site to look for, and get in contact with, potential friends near them.
When they find someone they’d like to have as a friend, they agree to pay the ‘friend’ hourly and, if both parties are happy, they hang out.
As a friend, you’re able to sign-up to the site completely free (only people looking for friends pay – which means they’re serious about doing it) and advertise yourself to whoever might be interested.
If someone wants to hire you, you’re able to charge them for the privilege of your company.
In many ways it’s a great money making opportunity – you set the hours, the price and you keep all the money you make!
Isn’t it a bit… weird?
Let’s be honest, the idea of renting a friend isn’t something we’re used to. In fact, some people might find the idea positively vulgar and a complete misuse of the word ‘friend’.
But, if you give it a chance, it begins to make a bit more sense.
Whilst it might attract lonely people who simply can’t make friends any other way (and you can decide how comfortable you feel about charging for that), it actually has a lot of people who it might make sense to charge for your time.
For example, someone might be staying in a town for a few days and want you to show them around, or just to have you as company.
Equally, someone might be wanting to learn a new skill and ask you to teach it, which is a perfectly legitimate thing to charge for.
Some people might want a workout buddy to go the gym with.
Other people might just want someone to join them when they go to a movie or to eat out at a restaurant.
You’re under no obligation to meet-up with anyone you don’t want to, so you’re absolutely free to only hire yourself out to people you feel comfortable with.
There’s a 100% no physical contact rule which the site strictly enforces – this is in no way a dating or escorting site!
Some people have gone on to make good friends with people they’ve met, so it’s a nice way to meet new people too.
People usually charge a minimum of $10 (around £8.20) an hour for their time.
That means that people who are ‘rent a friend’ full-time can make a minimum of £307.50 a week. Those who do it for an extra source of income at the weekend could make upwards of £131.20 a week.
However, how much you can make is obviously going to depend on how much demand there is for ‘friendship’ in your area, and how popular you are as a companion.
You’re likely to make more money – and get recommended to others – if you are:
- kind and caring
- interesting and interested
- a good listener
- knowledgeable about your area and the fun things to do in it
- a bit of a culture-vulture, sports fan or someone with similar passions to your ‘clients’
- non-judgemental and non-critical
…in fact, all the things we wish we could find in our own circle of friends!
When you think about it, people have been paid for centuries to be ‘companions’, usually to wealthy, older people. Often young single people would be paid a monthly salary plus room and board to be these people’s ‘friend’, so it’s not really that unusual.
Rent a Friend is different though, particularly as it’s ‘by the hour’ and for all ages.
If it catches on, it could become a seriously good money-maker for some people.
Of course, the site needs momentum to build. If not many people in your area know of the site, then you’ll struggle to get business. If you have to travel to meet people then you’ll need to factor in travel costs.
We recommend you just see this as a nice way to supplement your main income. If you can make something more from it, great. But think of it as an unusual and fun way to make some extra cash.
This would work particularly well for students who have some extra time and fancy a different way to make money. But, really, anyone with spare time, and a friendly, open, interesting personality, can give it a go!
Would you consider renting yourself out as a friend? Do you think it’s a good idea? Let us know in the comments below – we love to hear from you!