When I still resided and ran a business in Los Angeles, at one point or another I rented out equipment and such,
but when running my resale boutique I also rented costumes, high end clothing and other accessories that were both
one of a kind vintage/antiques, or high dollar designer labels such as Valentino....
Point here, I rented much of the lot I had (costumes from my movie studio connections, and wealthy clients)
for X amount according to the item, BUT, the trick always was, I held a deposit, no matter who the customer was,
for the FULL VALUE of the item.
My rule of thumb was in simple terms, 20% of the tag price, with a minimum of 25 dollars a day, keeping in mind that some items
I had in my store were actually priceless or valued at more than any tag price. These actually hung above the racks
in my store like art. So, having said that, if a beaded dress from the 20's was valued at $1000, the rental price was $200 a day,
(I worked better deals with studios, as I had them as constant clients) and the deposit was, YEP, You guessed it, $1000!
Held either in cash, but most frequently by a credit card that had been validated for the amount.
You might think, how the heck, but the studios had no problems with this polocy and neither did any non studio customers
who just wanted to rent a flapper dress at $50 a day, or the weekend...
Lesson learned here, is don't under value either your products/goods, nor your value as a service for providing them, and
this sort of nightmare will not happen, at least not without being prepared for it. I realize the case for this Martin Guitar,
is not about the money, but the sting of what happened to it, would
have at least been less.
I hope this little bit of experience and advice will be valuable to one or more of you!