Have you ever looked at something sitting in your garage and wondered how long it’s been since you used it? Have you ever decided you were going to get into something new, got excited and went out and bought all the stuff you might need, only to realize you didn’t like it that much?
Have you ever felt the satisfaction of feeling you’re getting a lot of use out of something? And conversely, the sense of remorse from owning stuff that sits idle?
Have you ever felt kind of embarrassed by how new your new stuff looks? And hoped that it would wear in a bit soon so you could be released from that feeling around others?
It’s a curious angst only accessible to us, the privileged ones. Born in abundance, raised in abundance, and apt to suffer from over-abundance.
This angst is a post-mortem on our burning aspirations whose artifacts remind us that we never quite realized them. It is the experience of personally confronting waste in your life, and guilt is its most efficient by-product. Why did I spend that money? What did I end up doing with my time between then and now? What happened? Where am I now and is that what I hoped for?
Abundance is fun but waste sucks. Angst sucks. Guilt sucks, big time.
We think that it’s time for a new way of looking at things. Cost per use is a metric that helps measure the productivity and utility of a thing. It’s not new at all, but it never really entered our consciousness explicitly as consumers. Cost per use helps us understand the value we get from a thing over time and can help us understand how to invest our dollars into the right things.
To help you start thinking about your cost per use, we have done the work for you by studying how long it takes to get the same value from buying gear as it costs to book it on Awayco. Read on. You might just be surprised.
Disclaimer: We’re not economists we’re surfers. We actually wish we tried harder in school.
Glossary of terms
- Awayconomics: The economic theory of pointless pleasures.
- Marginal cost per use: The amount a product costs you each time you use it by taking the Product cost and dividing it by the number of days you use it.
- Pay As You Go (PAYG): Exactly what it sounds like.
- Cost differential: The difference between two costs.
- Ariel: A beautiful mermaid none of us will ever forget.
So you’re heading to the mountains.
Let’s take these Black Crows Atris at Valhalla Pure Outfitters Revelstoke, or this Jones Mind Expander from Zero G in Chamonix. Both cost between $700 and $850. With a decent binding, we’re talking $1,000. These fantasy sleds will run you around $40 a day on Awayco (the rate per day actually comes down in the days following the first day, but we’re keeping it simple here — 40 bucks).
Neither of these products will make you better at economics.
So how does it work out?
If you’re scoring 29 days on snow this season then buying a fresh setup or booking it through Awayco will cost about the same on a per use basis. If you’re planning on hitting every single weekend until the lifts shut (around 24 days) Awayco will be $7 cheaper per use than buying. If you’re like the rest of us and you’ll be scoring what you can (which is about 2 weeks all up) then Awayco will be around $28 cheaper per use than buying. Meanwhile, the statistical average is 6 days a season which makes Awayco around $90 cheaper per use for the same product.
The red line is the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) Awayco rate set at $40 a day, this is a constant. The blue line is the marginal cost per use – the product’s cost divided by the number of days used – and as you can see this cost comes down over time. The two lines meet when Awayco’s PAYG rate and the marginal cost per use are the same.
What’s clear here is that buying and owning something works out to be better value on a per use basis if you are confident you can get more than a season out of it. Just make sure you go for quality and invest in something you really love, even better, something you love that is good all around. For everything else in your quiver, there’s Awayco.
How does it work out?
Um, wow. Looks like you’ll need to ride 52 days before your cost per use equates with the PAYG rate on Awayco. Even if you’re getting 30 days per season — 15 weekend rides — owning it will run you $58 more per use than booking it on Awayco.
You still with us? The red line is the PAYG Awayco rate set at $75 a day and constant. Blue line is the marginal cost per use. The two lines meet when Awayco and the marginal cost per use are the same.
Bottom line here: Booking a bike can make riding one in fun places considerably more within reach.
So you like to get wet.
How does it work out?
If you paddle out 32 times or more on the same craft then the cost of buying a board and Awaycoing one will be the same for you. That’s 16 weekends if you’re a warrior, 6.5 weeks of pre-work sessions or one month-long trip to Bali if you are an influencer from Sweden. If you’re not in one of these categories your board might be costing you more than you realise.
All together now. Red is Awayco. Blue is marginal cost per use. See? Learning can be fun.
I think by now the pattern is pretty clear. Invest in what you buy, care for it, and go for quality that lasts. Also, surfing more makes economic sense — and this happens to be the founding principle of Awayconomics. Now doesn’t that feel good to say? Ah-way-co-nomics. Awayco is economically rational if you’re not getting the number of days suggested in this study. But is being rational what gets excited about being outside? Let it not be so! What is truly underscored here is that choosing to sample by booking your gear is great for specificity, great for travel, great for novelty products, and excellent for unbridled enthusiasm and a helpful tool to come alive.
What does it all mean?
Choosing to Awayco is choosing to have choice. Having a quiver on demand means you can sample and play. And Awayco gives you a really big one. It also means you get to be on new gear and there is no ongoing maintenance cost.
Owning is still awesome. Let’s be honest, we’re talking about objects of art and instruments of passion. They are worth owning and appreciating. And you’ll always be able to recoup a little cash if you’re good at selling things second hand (we’re not). But we don’t have unlimited space or unlimited money or unlimited time. And yet, we have limited lifespans, limited waking hours, tight weather windows and infinite wisdom to acquire.
It’s figuring out how to do more with less.
There is soon to be 10 billion of us on this planet and truth is in our lifetime we are going to have to figure out how to share. It’s not about less, it’s about more with less…and better. With Awayco we are building a way to let you do that. We hope that we aren’t alone. We hope that we are part of a generation working to bring things a little closer, in a way that’s a little lighter, to make life a little better.