Everyone who has ever been on the start-up side of a lacrosse program knows that there are really only a few reasons that a prospective player will not play lacrosse: 1) They don’t want to, and that’s that. 2) They sort of want to, but don’t have the drive to follow through. 3) They want to, but they can’t afford to play.
The first two reasons are just reality and there isn’t much that can be done about it. The last reason is something that every new program really has to tackle effectively to survive… new programs need to do anything they can to get kids on the field, period. The need to get this done has created some business opportunities on the Lacrosse Frontier, including one I recently found out about, called RentMyLaxGear.com.
Today I spoke with Matt Kimsey to find out more about this company…
What is your background in lacrosse and how did you first get involved with RentMyLaxGear.com?
I actually didn’t start playing lacrosse until college. I’m from Kansas and I played at K State, for their MCLA club team. We didn’t have lacrosse in my high school, so I ended up getting involved with it at the collegiate level and just fell in love with the sport. Fast forward about 3 or 4 years and I’m in Kansas City now, since 2008, after I graduated from K State. I started with ESB Lacrosse and started talking to them about 3 1/2 years ago and we’ve kind of had this idea for RentMyLaxGear for a while now. It’s just kind of out of the nature of being here in Kansas City. We have a lot of new players, new parents, so we started thinking about this idea. We’ve seen a lot of leagues handle their own internal rentals, but there’s never been anything nation wide. So we just want to be able to do that and to offer the lowest prices we can. We just kind of went with it, and we were formed in October 2012, but our website went live on 12/12/12. Since then we’ve developed some partnerships – with Montana Lacrosse Association, with Omaha Lacrosse, and several clubs here in KC. It’s been pretty exciting. I think there is definitely a need, and we’ve been able to offer something that new players and new parents want.
What sort of challenges did you face early on and what have you learned so far?
The biggest challenge for us is that we really didn’t seek out investment early on so we’ve been shoestringing it a bit to get things going. Buying the gear, packaging, and getting those rentals out back and forth… it’s made me be really frugal with the decisions, whether it’s purchasing gear or advertising or something like that. It’s just a bit of a struggle. We thought about going after some investments early on, but it’s getting better every day. We started purchasing used gear, and now we’re building relationships with the suppliers. So moving forward our biggest challenge is going to be making sure we can keep our prices low, to be able to offer all the stuff that we can to new players and parents and not make them pay a lot of money for it. We aim to keep lowering prices as we get better deals with suppliers.
What are all of the services that your company provides and how do people get involved with RentMyLaxGear.com?
I think our website is pretty self-intuitive, you just go to the website if you’re interested. We basically offer 3 options right now. That’s the rental option, which is a 3 month minimum, and that’s really kind of directed toward the new player where parents aren’t definitely commmitted or know if their going to be sticking around with it. The time period represents a season of lacrosse. Any of our rentals are available for size exchange at any time, in case parents have a kid who might be growing fast and moving through sizes during a season. The rent-to-own option has been pretty popular. That just basically lessens the financial burden and enables parents to say we’re going to get our gear now, but we can still space out payments over 6 months. It’s just not offered at many places. We offer that on both used sets of gear and new sets of gear. We’ll also sell all of our gear – whether it’s new or used – so that is another option for people. We are also branching into goalie gear. We already have a couple teams that are using goalie gear from us, so that’s just something I’m going to keep adding to the website. We want to get goalie packages up online soon, and also D-poles. I think that’s going to be a big kicker, because youth players start getting that itch to try out defense but they might be in between positions. Those D-poles can get very expensive and this might be a good option for players who want to try out the position. I really just try to be flexible, I will work with anybody.
What kind of role do you see RentMyLaxGear.com playing in the next 5 years, as the sport continues to grow?
I think it’s just going to be us facilitating an easier entrance into the sport for new players and new parents. I think that is a lot. I wish I would have known about this and done it 4 or 5 years ago, because now I’m coaching high school with 70 or 80 players this year and with our youth program rolling… the amount of questions I field from parents… I can see how a parent coming in is a little overwhelmed – what do I need? where do I go? – I think that’s something we can help with. We’re an easier entrance into the sport, a place where you can get information and where we can provide gear for as low a cost as possible so people can just try the sport. I think it’s a fantastic sport and everyone should have the chance to play it. I think parents sometimes balk at it because it’s pretty expensive to start off when you need to buy all new gear. So that’s our goal and our mission and I want to be an interactive resource and outlet for parents. I’m working on some videos for our YouTube channel, how to fit your player, stuff like that. We just want to make it easier for parents.
I’m a big fan of this program and I wish Matt and RentMyLaxGear.com a ton of success in the future! The Montana Lacrosse Association is currently partnered with RentMyLaxGear.com, and our Chapter is receiving a 5% kick back from every purchase in our region this spring. If you are a coach or parent living on the Lacrosse Frontier and you want to learn more, just head to RentMyLaxGear.com and Matt will hook you up!