How it works:
1) Signing up
2) Hiring a pen
3) Owners - how much should I charge?
4) Owners - how to complete a listing - photo & description guide
The first 3 months are free! After that it’s just a £12 per year membership fee. For that, you get to hire pens from others or hire out your own pens.
It’s important to hire out to and hire from your own country – this avoids paying expensive international shipping and the risk of incurring international taxes when the pen arrives.
For owners, the security of your pen is the most important thing:
- That’s why we’re members only – not just anyone can hire your pens.
- That’s why it’s important for all owners to leave feedback for hirers – so you have peace of mind that the person you’re lending your pen to will take great care of it
2) Hiring a pen
Use the country filter on the left of the page to see the members and pens in your country – no cross border hires are permitted, sorry!
Select the pen you’d like to hire and hit the blue “Rent” button
This then takes you to the payment page, but before you enter your card details or pay by paypal, you can send an optional message to the owner and you also have to agree to the terms and conditions. It’s important to read them, in particular section 8, “Hirer’s Rules”
Once you’ve entered your card details, the owner will be notified (both by email and on the site) that you’re interested in hiring their pen. The owner is under no obligation to accept the request but provided you have good feedback there’s no reason they shouldn't. They have 3 days to accept the request otherwise the request will be automatically rejected. If it’s rejected, your card will not be charged.
If they accept the request, you will be notified (both by email and on the site). They will ship the pen to you. Make a note of the day when it arrives as this is day 1 of the hire and you will have to ship the pen back on day 7. When the pen arrives, not before, mark the order as complete.
Please be as careful with the pen you hire as you would with your own pens as you will be responsible to pay for any damage or loss.
You can give feedback to the owner once you have received the pen and marked the order as complete – perhaps about the shipping time, condition of the pen on arrival, or maybe later during the hire once you’ve had a chance to use it and describe the actual experience. You rate the experience as positive or negative overall. It’s important to give as much detail as possible to build trust within the pensharing community!
Send the pen back in the same packaging as you received it, recorded delivery and insured.
You should agree with the owner about refilling the pen with ink, or cleaning it again if you received it empty, to avoid any misunderstanding etc. Once the owner receives their pen back, they will give you feedback – hopefully positive, so that the pensharing community will know you are a trustworthy hirer and other members will want to hire to you.
Ultimately though you're free to charge whatever makes it worthwhile for you.
Whatever makes it worthwhile for you, but pens, like anything, vary hugely in price. The hirer will have to pay the postage both ways so it doesn’t want to be too expensive relative to the price of the pen, but equally it needs to be worthwhile for you to hire out the pen. Around 5% of the replacement value of the pen is a good starting point.
i) Landscape photos please - the listing spaces are landscape shape so please take your photos in landscape mode otherwise you end up with two big ugly black bars at either side of the listing, and not all of the photo will fit in when you view it on the homepage
ii) Pens fit best when they're photographed diagonally
iii) I like 3 photos minimum - cap on, cap off and a nib close up
iv) If there are any blemishes on the pen, these should be photographed and shown, to avoid any misunderstandings between owner and hirer about the condition of the pen
v) A lightbox and a tripod will really help with the lighting and consistency of your pen photos. These are very cheap, around £6 each from eBay. Otherwise, try to take the photos in daylight.
vi) If you want to add some visual interest to the photos, feel free! Things like an ink bottle or notebook alongside look nice.
b) Listing title
Include the name of the pen, and also the nib width - helps hirers assess the pen at-a-glance. When a pen goes out on hire, I manually edit the listing with the words **ON HIRE**. Unfortunately the platform does not automatically flag which pens are on hire and which ones are available so to avoid having to reject a hire request for a pen which is alfready out, I find this useful. You have to remember to edit the listing again when it comes back, to avoid missing out on a new hire!
See section 3 - I recommend around 5% of the replacement value of the pen
d) Shipping cost
Use the Royal Mail Price Finder to see which service is required for your pen: https://www.royalmail.com/price-finder
- whether the pen is sent large letter or small parcel
- the insurance value of the pen
e) Detailed description
Here are the standard headings I use in my descriptions, with an explanation of why it's important or useful:
i) Hire fee: if you google a particular pen and we have it on the site, the first line of the description will appear in the search:
ii) Description: the general features of the pen. I either use my own description or use the description from the manufacturer's website, and quote the source
iii) Filling system: self explanatory
iv) Dimensions: include unposted and posted. If the pen does not post, this should be stated. It's important to include these dimensions because some people prefer larger pens, some smaller. Some people prefer to use their pens posted, others do not
v) Condition: state whether the pen is new or not becuase this will help to inform about any blemishes (see next section)
vi) Blemishes: the hirer is liable for any damage during use, so it is critical that any pre-existing faults or blemishes with the pen are highlighted to avoid any dispute between owner and hirer on return of the pen. These should also be photgraphed
vii) Replacement value: the replacement value is either the current retail price or for a pen which is no longer made, the going rate on eBay (looking at sold prices). The hirer is liable to pay the replacement value of the pen if it is lost or irreparably damaged during use, so the hirer must know before hiring what is their maximum financial exposure. For shipping purposes, the pen must be insured up to the replacement value. Royal Mail insurance offer insurance value of £20, £50, £100, £500 and £1000 and the postage cost and delivery times vary accordingly.
viii) Shipping: I make it clear on my listings that the shipping cost included in the listing is UK only and what service it uses. Owners and hirers MUST use a signed for or tracked service, for proof of delivery. This gives peace of mind that the pen has arrived safely either way, but also avoids any dispute about when the hire started or finished
ix) Packaging: I will either use a letterbox sixed box, in which case you can use a cheaper "large letter" postage service which is cheaper, or the original pen box which will be classed as a "small parcel" and therefore cost more in postage. Once the insurance value gets beyond a certain point the postage cost is the same for large letter or small parcel, so for cheaper pens it makes sense to use a large letter service to minimise postage costs
x) Other instructions: with some pens, I ask the hirer not to post, due to the risk of damaging the barrel material. This particularly applies to my celluloid pens which I want to remain in pristine condition, however this section can be used for any other instructions relating to the pen.
xi) Choice of ink: I have tons of ink and these are listed on my profile page. I always offer either to fill the pen before shipping or include a sample. Sometimes the box prohibits sending a sample which is why I pre fill the pen. There is a slight risk of the pen leaking during transit of course (less so with a securely closed sample bottle) so this is something to consider.
f) Country - choose UK as this is the location of the owner not the country of manufacture of the pen
g) Brand, pen price, pen type, nib type, nib material - choose from the tick boxes. These are the filters that you can apply on the homepage to narrow down the search
h) Location - I always remove this. The pens are being shipped rather than collected in person, so it's not relevant as to the exact location of the hirer.
i) Images - I always take my photos on my phone. I always start the listing on my laptop which I find easiest, then to complete the listing with the photos I always save the listing on my laptop, log into pensharing on my mobile, choose "edit listing" then just upload the photos direct from my phone.