It’s a niche market that won’t suit everyone, but there is real financial potential if you’re in the right place and adopt the right strategies, as we’ll see in this article. Because yes, there are all kinds of people who may need to rent furniture.
- Here's the program
- What is it all about?
- How to get started?
- Pros and Cons
- Information recap
What is it all about?
First of all, you should know that this article is a bit of a sequel, or a complement, to my other article on selling refurbished furniture. If you are interested in this idea, I invite you to read it as well because you will find other useful information.
The principle here is quite simple: You buy vintage furniture, designer furniture, modern furniture, antique furniture, in short, any kind of furniture with a particular interest, you refurbish them if necessary or just give them a little bit of freshness, then you rent them to people who need them.
And here I’m guessing some of you are asking the question: But who the hell needs to rent furniture? Well, there are a number of different reasons why a person or business might resort to renting furniture rather than buying it:
- Film, television and theater are often looking for furniture that is vintage or has a particular design, for certain scenes where the set must fit the script.
- People who, for professional or other reasons, often move and prefer to rent furniture that is both stylish and practical rather than buy it.
- People who organize events such as weddings, shows, conferences, etc., for various reasons sometimes also need to rent furniture.
- People who organize exhibitions related to history or art may need this type of service.
- Photographers regularly look for various types of furniture for photo shoots.
- Some companies may be looking for a particular style of furniture that is no longer manufactured or is hard to find on the market.
- Popup shops may need furniture for a relatively short period of time as well.
In short, all these cases, plus all the others that I did not mention here or that I did not think of, indicate that there is a real demand for this kind of service.
However, there are some conditions for this idea to work and make money. First of all, it is better to live in a city or any other place with a high population density (or at least close to it) because if you live in the middle of nowhere, it is not sure that you will find customers.
Secondly, it is better if the economic situation of the country where you live is relatively comfortable and allows this kind of market to exist. By this I mean that you will probably not be as successful in Los Angeles (USA) as in Lagos (Nigeria). Yes, I’m using a bit of an extreme example, but it’s just so you understand what I’m talking about.
Concerning the delivery of your furniture, you can either ask the customer to come and pick up the furniture at your place and then bring it back to you, or offer to deliver it at his place and then go and pick it up (in this case, think of counting your travel expenses), or even ask a local delivery company to do it.
Finally, you will have to be careful because dishonest people exist, and you will have to ask for a deposit, the amount of which varies according to the value of each piece of furniture. And then, as for a car, think of detailing the state of the furniture before renting it, in particular by taking some pictures.
How to get started?
Overall, you will need to go through these 3 steps:
1Find a place
This first step consists in finding a commercial space, and this is the main drawback of this idea. Because it requires a space big enough to work in, but also and especially to store all your furniture. And if you live in a city such as Paris, London or New York, it could cost you a lot of money.
So try to find a place in the cheapest areas or in the outskirts of the city. Alternatively, there are websites that offer shared workspaces, such as workshops, offices, and storage spaces. Or you could look into non-traditional storage spaces, such as garages, disused warehouses, or even deserted commercial space.
Once you’ve found it, set up a workshop area so that you can restore any furniture that needs it, and create a slightly nicer showroom where you can welcome your customers. And you don’t need to do any major work, just a little paint to make the space look presentable. If your business is successful, you’ll have the opportunity to invest a little more money in decorating.
I’ve already covered this step in my article on reselling furniture, so I won’t go into it. Just know that you can find furniture on sites like eBay, Facebook marketplace, Etsy, or even local classifieds sites. You can also look in secondhand stores, garage sales, public sales, dump sites, etc.
The key here is to have an eye for identifying furniture with high potential, but also the flair to find the best places where they are (this will come with time).
The most important thing here is to get visibility. Start by creating a website and accounts on various social networks, and then create online ads. Visibility is a key element that will contribute to your success. Some marketing notions are therefore essential, and it’s good because I wrote an article that will help you with getting started.
There are also some sites that allow individuals or professionals to offer all kinds of objects for rent. This is the case of fatllama.com (USA, UK, and Canada) or loanables.com. You can find others via a small localized Google search.
Finally, try to find contacts in key circles such as film, television, and the art world in general, but also with companies that might be interested in renting furniture.
That’s all I had to say about this idea of renting furniture to individuals or companies. It will work more or less well depending on various factors, especially if you manage to offer furniture with a real appeal, such as antique furniture (the older the better), furniture with an original design, etc., as I already explained.
It’s an idea that has potential, but you’ll need to invest some money to get started—especiallyin renting a commercial space, in buying the furniture, but also for your marketing strategy (creating a website, online advertising…).
Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.
These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.
Regarding this specific topic, and rather than explaining more or less the same things as in my article on reselling restored furniture, I will explain how renting furniture rather than buying it can be considered an eco-friendly choice. In fact, there are several reasons for this:
- Waste reduction: First, when furniture is rented rather than purchased, it reduces the amount of waste that is produced. Furniture that is no longer needed doesn’t end up in a landfill.
- Resource savings: The production of new furniture requires natural resources such as wood, metal, and fabric. Renting avoids the production of new furniture, which reduces the use of these resources.
- Energy savings: The same production process requires energy, whether it is for manufacturing, transportation, or assembly. By avoiding the purchase of new furniture, the energy required for its production is also avoided.
- Saving money: Finally, renting furniture can be less expensive than buying it, especially if the furniture is used temporarily or seasonally. This can reduce the amount of money spent on furniture and free up resources for other needs.
In addition to these environmental benefits, renting furniture can also be considered part of the circular economy, which is an economic model that aims to maximize the use of resources by extending their life. By renting furniture, resources are used more efficiently, as each rental potentially avoids the purchase of new furniture.
- A (relatively) passive income
- Potentially high profitability if conditions are met
- High initial cost, for the acquisition of furniture and the rental of a sufficiently large storage space.
- Risk of deterioration or theft of the furniture
- Location: Mostly in a city (or nearby), and in a country where there is a demand.
- Investment: t can be relatively high because you have to find a commercial space and buy the furniture.
- Earnings perspective: Impossible to say, but the more unique your furniture is, and the greater the demand, the higher the price you can charge!
- Required: A good eye for high potential furniture, knowing where to find it, being a handyman or handywoman to refurbish the furniture…
- Risk level: Moderate, considering the amount to invest.
- Implementation time: A few weeks
- Material needed: A smartphone, a transport vehicle, some tools to restore the furniture…