'We want them to use the furniture like their own'

'We want them to use the furniture like their own'

For professionals who are always between cities, people who find furniture shopping a nightmare, and many others who look upon furniture maintenance as a stressful task, furniture renting is an enticing concept. Imagine a platform wherein one can rent beds, recliners, sofas, dining table, refrigerator, TV and loungers, at the click of a button! Ajith Karimpana, CEO and founder of Furlenco, a home furniture rental company, believes that the company is making immediate access to a great-looking home a convenient reality. Excerpts from an interaction:

How did you come up with the idea of furniture renting as a business?

We buy our furniture and furnishings with great care, and sometimes, at huge cost. But if and when the time to sell comes, it can turn into a nightmare on two counts: one is the paucity of buyers of second-hand furniture, and two, the low price it commands regardless of the condition it is in. I faced this problem while relocating from the US to India. I had to sell off my furniture worth US $5,000, which I had bought for US $300 in 2009. Also, while setting up our house in India, my wife and I had a lot of issues getting new furniture. The delivery was delayed by almost a month and a half and what landed up wasn’t quite what was ordered. Realising that this was not uncommon in India, I wondered if one could improve the home setup experience of people moving back to India. Renting furniture seemed to be the ideal solution, but there were no businesses offering quality furniture for rent. Although there are shops where you can rent furniture, you are not assured of design or quality. That’s when the idea took shape in my mind and I founded RentUrDuniya, which was rebranded as Furlenco later.

How does it work?
We rent out premium furniture with matching furnishings and decor on a monthly subscription fee. The service also includes free doorstep delivery and installation, making it extremely convenient and hassle-free to furnish your home. Our service promises deliveries within 72 hours of an order being placed with the flexibility to swap or return
furniture annually based on need.

How is the rental furniture industry faring right now in India?
The rental industry in India is growing at a healthy 20 per cent, month on month pace.  If you look from market point of view for the rental segment in India, then it is currently around Rs 250-500 crore and is expected to go to Rs 5,000-10,000 crore in the next five to 10 years.

Renting will be the new buying and new way of life for everybody, and in next two years, online furniture rentals will overtake online furniture buying.What kind of customers do you typically cater to?
Our primary audience is between 22-34 years of age. However, others are renting too. Also, in Bengaluru, almost all of our customers are people falling in the income group of Rs five lakh and above. Bedroom and living room packages are quite popular with them, apart from aspirational products like recliners and sofa-cum-beds.

And what about the maintenance of the furniture?
Our business model is such that it demands no commitment from the customers. We want them to use the furniture like their own. Also, we offer free cleaning services and fresh set of linens every six months. The furniture goes with curated sets of fresh soft
furnishings and home decor items. There is a damage waiver of Rs 10,000, so damages are covered. Moreover, customers can swap their furniture for another set of furniture every year and in case they are relocating within the city or between Mumbai and Bengaluru (where we are currently operational), we provide free relocation services for our furniture.

Many associate rental furniture with ‘used’ furniture...
We believe our furniture is better than new and the reason is that we take
utmost care before and after renting our furniture. At the end of your tenure, once we receive the furniture back at our warehouse, we strictly refurbish and repair the furniture before it is sent to any other customer.

Our refurbishment process includes sandpapering and polishing of every wooden furniture, sanitisation and UV cleaning of the mattresses and other soft upholstered parts of the furniture, HEPA filtration to extract allergens and dust particles, foam shampoo and cleaning of couch and anti-dust mite spraying on the wood to save it from termites.

But why rent furniture?
We believe that it should be the default way of life for every individual. The way renting houses is always the first step before owning homes, renting furniture should be the first option, but not the last. Slowly and steadily people’s mindset is opening towards accepting furniture rental as the new way of life.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for renting furniture instead of buying:
Save money: Why should you invest a huge amount of money in purchasing furniture when you can use the best and most desirable furniture in the market at cheaper monthly subscription? You can save a considerable amount of money by renting furniture and this money can be invested in assets that give good returns.

Be hassle-free: The most expensive and stylish furniture today might not always remain in vogue. Selling them off at low prices to upgrade in a few years is not a great idea! Moreover, if your stay in a city is not for too long, selling/transporting furniture will be at a loss. So, make your life easier by simply renting furniture.

Speedy delivery: Once you select your furniture and monthly subscription, we ensure that the furniture is delivered at your doorstep within 72 hours. What more can you ask for to set up a new home with all the comforts you need.

Easy availability: What you see is what you get! Your choice of furniture is just few clicks away. Only readily available furniture is posted on the website, and hence, you need not worry about the availability.

Convenient and pocket friendly: You can select and rent from a range of furniture within your budget. Once you have your home set up and if you feel that the furniture is of no use, you may contact us and we will arrange a pick up at your convenient time with no added expense.

Zero wear and tear expense: You do not have to worry about the wear and tear of the furniture, as the cost is included in the monthly rental plan.

Pause and restart: We offer a unique benefit called the Pause. Given your
personal and career needs, you may need to relocate to a different city or even country for some time. Just give us a week’s notice, we will come and pick up the furniture from your home. There won’t be any rentals charged for that period. Once you are back in town, let us know and we will set up your home again in a jiffy!

Swap anytime: You have the flexibility to swap your current furniture design for a different design offered by us every year with no added cost.

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