Pune: Young working professionals keen to change cities or houses with no extra baggage, literally, have found furniture rental firms to be an attractive and pocket-friendly option.
Even though this is a new concept in the country, students and young working professionals who come to Pune are renting furniture as the firms allow them keep the items as long as they want. Other benefits such as free delivery and set-up, relocation services, free cleaning and option of a free yearly swap are also part of the package.
When Priyanka Parkhi had to move to Mumbai from Pune, she planned to give the rental option a go only for a short while.
“I thought I would buy furniture later. But I saw there was no dearth of rental options and a firm even offered to take care of the furnishing for the entire house, including the drapes and matching carpets. I do not mind if my dining table and chairs and my study table have been used earlier as long as they are in good condition,” she said.
There are several others like Parkhi who are adopting this rent-and-use philosophy.
Furlenco, a firm that provides matching decor and furnishing with the rented furniture, has over 5,500 customers across Pune. “What works for us is a Netflix-type subscription model, which allows customers to avail facilities such as free relocation of furniture, damage waiver up to Rs 1,000, cleaning and interior services,” the firm’s founder Ajith Mohan Karimpana said.
Another player in the segment, RentoMojo has adopted an asset-light model, where they tie up with vendors and charge them a fee to connect with customers.
RentoMojo was born from chief executive officer and founder Geetansh Bamania’s personal experience. “Like many other young working professionals, we were living in rented apartments. Each time we moved, we had to equip our house. For ages, we have been fixated on the idea of owning stuff and after a while, when it goes out of fashion or doesn’t suit our lifestyle we simply sell it for peanuts. That’s when we got the idea of RentoMojo,” Bamania said.
According to Bamania, apart from regular furniture, Pune has a good demand for low-ticket items like bean bags, study tables and dressing tables. The demand for office furniture rentals is gradually. “We have an active subscriber base of more than 1,900 here and are looking at 40% to 45% monthly growth in the number,” he added. Most of their orders are from working professionals between the age of 25 and 40.
Analysts attribute the popularity of rental furniture to the rise of smaller firms and startups in the city. Moreover, the rental specialists have technology platforms supporting their services, which allow customers to search and order remotely.
In fact, MebelKart, a specialist in online furniture and end-to-end home services, is launching a separate arm for the growing segment. “We work with local vendors on an inventory basis. We have been getting constant demands for rentals of furniture. The challenge is making the traditional furniture market sellers understand the concept of online buying and rental,” Rahul Agarwal, cofounder and chief executive officer of MebelKart, said.
Credits Times of India