Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Toys - Rent Them, Don't Buy!


Salvatore Vuono, freedigitalphotos.net


As parents, toys are something many of us splurge on for our little ones. But we soon realise what a mistake that is as our children quickly outgrown the toys and they end up as clutter in the house. Or our kids may not even like what we bought and the toys go into the storeroom almost as soon as the packaging is thrown away.

Solution? Try renting instead of buying.

Renting toys have plenty of advantages. Your children will always have new toys to play with, you pay only a fraction of the original price and there’s no worry of not having enough space to keep all the items. It is also a great way to let your child try out a toy, especially an expensive one, before you decide on buying.

That is exactly what we did when we were considering buying a Bumbo seat for Kenan. We weren’t sure if Kenan will like sitting in a Bumbo and thought that letting him try it out would be a wiser option. After all, we have made quite a few bad decisions that land us with a number of unwanted baby items clogging up the storeroom.

Our experience with one toy rental company

We searched the internet and found two toy rental companies that have the Bumbo seat. Even though the Bumbo is not a toy, I think it’s great that these two companies offer the item. However, for one of the companies, the Bumbo is perpetually unavailable (we waited for about two weeks), so we went with The Toy Rental Club, which is located in a warehouse at Pasir Panjang Road.

The company doesn’t offer any free delivery (nor collection), so we decided to go down and pick up the Bumbo ourselves. While it may be inconvenient, we like the fact that we can select the item in what we thought is the best condition. We could also go around the warehouse and browse. In the end, we picked up a Fisher-Price peek-a-boo piano too.

What we appreciate about The Toy Rental Club is that it does not only rent out toys but also baby essentials like nursing equipment (e.g. breast pump), baby bath, baby carrier, car seat, stroller and high chair! I think this is probably the only toy rental company that has all these items! I attribute this thoughtfulness to the fact the company is run by two expatriate moms and having these items on rent will be especially helpful to the expatriates (for locals as well, given that some of the things won’t be needed anymore as baby grows e.g. breast pumps).

However, The Toy Rental Club will be closed from end June for about two months as the two owners have to be both back in their home country this summer holiday. Anyway, we are also keen to try out some other rental companies that offer free delivery and collection. Below are the toy rental companies I found.

List of Toy Rental Companies

1. My Growing Toys

Search toys by: Brands
Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$30; one-time charge of S$10 for less than S$30. No deposit required.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cash cheque.

Rental Period: 4 weeks. Will receive email reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point.



Search toys by: Brands or age groups

Delivery & collection: For orders above S$40; one-time charge of S$10 for orders less than S$40. If delivery is within CBD, additional charge of S$6 (one way) applies.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cross cheques.

Rental period: 1 month

Other services: Offers rental of toys for parties


3. Rent-A-Toy

Search toys by: Toy categories/ brands

Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$40; one-time charge of S$12 for less than S$40. No deposit required.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cash cheque.

Rental period: Either 2 weeks or 1 month. Will receive a call reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point.

  
4. Rent That Toy!

Search toys by: Brands or age groups

Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$35; charges courier fee of S$10 if less than S$35. No deposit required.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery.

Rental period: 1 month. Will receive email reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point. Delivery charges will be waived when you extend the rental period for all toys. Otherwise, a pick-up fee of S$7 will apply.

Other services: Offers party bucket - will recommend a suitable bucket of toys based on the age group of the children attending the party.


5. The Toy Rental Club

Search toys by: Functions or types e.g. ‘On the Go’, ‘Educational Games’, ‘Puzzles & Boardgames’ etc.

Delivery & collection: Charges S$25 for one way, hence S$50 to both deliver and collect. Refundable deposit of S$50.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery. If self-collect, can pay by cash, Nets or credit cards at the company’s premise. Alternatively, can pay by phonebanking, interbank transfer or ATM transfer (to OCBC bank).

Rental period: Mainly 1 month, but some items can be rented by the week or day, such as car seats, travel cots etc.

Other services: Offers rental of toys for parties



Search toys by: Age groups

Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$50; one-time charge of S$15 for orders less than S$50. If delivery is within CBD, additional charge of S$6 (one way) applies. No deposit required unless stated in the description of toy. Surcharge of S$15 for public holiday delivery and S$10 for eve of public holiday. Surcharge of S$15 for outdoor venues (e.g. zoo, chalets) and condo/apartments/HDB with no direct access (need to climb stairs), surcharge of S$5 applies.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cross cheques.

Rental period: 14 or 21 days. Will receive email reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point, granted that it has not been reserved by other parents.

Other services: Birthday party packages (for 18 months and above). Gift vouchers are also available - minimum S$10 and in multiples of S$10.


7. Toy Rental World

Search toys by: Age groups, brands or toy types (e.g. educational toys, kitchen & workshop)

Delivery & collection: Strictly between Mon – Fri, 10am to 5pm. FOC for members without any minimum orders. Non-members will enjoy free delivery and collection for orders above S$40; one-time charge of S$10 applies for orders less than S$40. Delivery

Payment mode: First subscription based toy-rental company. Join as a member and buy Credits to make payment for orders. The more Credits you buy, the greater the discount you enjoy (as much as 15% off).

Rental period: 1 month


If you have tried any of the above toy rental companies, would love to hear your experience!

Note: above information accurate as at 23 June 2010

3 comments:

Toy Rental Club said...

The Toy Rental Club is now back in business!

A team of staffs is now working full-time while the mums are supporting them as consultants.

There might be hiccups during the initial training period but TRC is now here to stay permenantly with the support of its fans.

Ruth Wong said...

Thanks for the update! I'm sure many mommies will be happy to have another rental company to go to :)

Anonymous said...

Educational apps are the best way to start your kids education at home. There are many schools in America which provides early educations to your kids in very homely & friendly environment and the teachers also use these apps to help the students better understand the topic.I love the apps that are kid-friendly while also being fun for adults. I may or may not have spent more time playing Apparatus than my 5 year old has... but who needs to know...wp.. :)

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