Why should you rent/buy an instrument at your local certified music store?
Most parents rent an instrument with an option to buy or upgrade later. I strongly encourage you to rent a quality instrument through a specialized string company as they offer the brands and models we prefer. Inexpensive instruments could be found on the Internet and in some catalogs (these are known in the music world as VSOs or Violin/Viola-Shaped Objects), however, the “real” cost of such instruments may be high in costly repairs or poor tone quality which will hinder the students’ success.
If you are curious on what and how much it takes to make such instruments up to standards, here is a video by a Youtube luthier, Olaf, who went through the process of making it so.
Skip to 17:15 if you just want to see the breakdown of the cost of what he did to the violin.