No strings attached life on RENT

Team Sakal Times
Saturday, 22 December 2018

Cars, furniture, potted plants, wedding sarees, camping gears and gaming consoles on rent

Geetika moved to Pune this month, arriving in the city with just four bags. Her job required her to be here for just a year. She rented an apartment near her office, but that was not the only thing she rented. Furniture, home appliances, garden supplies and car -- she got everything on rent for a year. Why buy everything and then worry again about selling it, when one can live with no strings attached. An increasing number of students and professionals in Pune are finding it extremely convinient to buy all life essentials on rent, and then return it when not required.

While the car rental business has been existing for a while, with the rising demand, car vendors have added a number of propositions blending in with the technology which is attracting a large number of customers. Cars are now available at your doorstep with charges as minimum as Rs 18,000 per month. Zoomcar which has more than 2,200 cars, has served more than 20 lakh customers, indicating the massive success earned by these sharing models. It has now launched its subscribe-a-car service where a customer can subscribe a car for at least six months. Another vendor Drivezy, has more than 7,000 operational cars out on rent and claims to attract more than 37,000 customers on a monthly basis. 

Speaking about the need of such services, CEO Drivezy Ashwarya Singh, said that the sharing economy in India is thriving and has picked up real pace in the past five years, especially within the mobility sector. “With less than 8 per cent of Indian citizens owning a car, the rapidly growing car and bike sharing industry could provide convenient and sustainable mobility to millions of urban Indian residents,” added Singh. 

The attractive propositions from different vendors have continued to attract customers keeping them away from buying car and going for the renting option. As per Zoomcar, buying a car comes with a financial strain with the down-payment as the first obstacle. Moreover, other financial components like road taxes and insurance also add to the list of expenditures and subscribing a car can help a customer get rid of these obstacles. 

One of the users, Avinash Pratap Singh said that subscribing to a car helps you get rid of maintenance charges which is a major problem if you buy a car. “Similarly, one pays in small amount on a timely basis which does not burn your pocket. The only issue is one has to abide by rules and regulation of the vendor while subscribing to the service,” added Singh. 

Zoomcar claims that subscribing also helps in getting rid of monthly EMIs and the service is tech-driven and hassle-free which saves lot of time. The company also has option of different cars like hatchback, sedan and  SUV. The ZAP subscription service also allows a customer to rent the subscribed car out on Zoomcar’s platform when he is not in need of it which reduces the car subscription costs. 

Speaking about the drawbacks, some people who have availed such services are only worried about condition of the car while they are subscribing for the same. Another vendor, Revv, provides car on monthly basis after one pays one month’s subscription fee in advance, plus a refundable security deposit of Rs 5,000. Revv assures its customers that the subscribed car is as good as new, is well maintained, and have low kilometers (<30K) on the odometer with a door step delivery. 

The city which was known for its vibrant student population, also won the recognition as an information technology hub. However, professionals who come to the city for a brief period of time or to complete the assigned project prefer to rent the house as well as the furniture and home appliances which later would become a burden on them. But then, the concept of renting the furniture or home appliances has gradually started taking the centre stage. 

Online sites like IndiaMart, Rentomojo and others help them to fulfill their needs. Right from a bed to two chairs and a table and kitchen furniture, these sites provide all kinds of furniture. Few of the online sites have a very flexible renting pattern, they also offer the client the option to buy the rented furniture. Or it can be exchanged for a latest design. 

Meanwhile, like online sites, few of the furniture shops in the city also rent furniture. Kamaldas Gupta, owner of a furniture house at Wakad, said, “We started our furniture shop in 2000. However, shortly after that, we observed that we get more queries from people asking to rent the furniture and hence, we started renting the furniture. The rent industry is growing on a large scale these days and it is benefitting us as well.” 

Irfan Khan, owner of a furniture shop at Pimple Saudagar, said, “From the last five to six years, we have observed that mostly, the students take furniture on rent while only 20 per cent are families that rent the furniture and home appliances. And the rents are kept at very nominal rates. For example, a cupboard and sofa set is rented for Rs 200 a month, bed is rented for Rs 100 to 200 depending on the size of it. 

Deepak Gangawane, another seller who rents home appliance and furniture, said, “These days, people from all corners of the city are renting home appliances and furniture. Till now, I have rented both the necessities to over 10,000 people and more people are on the waiting list. We purchase these daily necessities directly from the market in bulk at wholesale prices and then rent it. While renting, we take Rs 15,000 deposit and items such as fridge, washing machine, TV, cupboard, bed, dining table and other daily necessity are rented from a price range of Rs 200 to Rs 600.” 

Indoor plants have multiple benefits like reduction in carbon dioxide levels, reduction of temperature, airborne dust and air purification. The holistic improvement in health and decorative value drive many to keep plants at their office as well as home. The option of renting ready-made plants of different variety in good condition is within easy reach of any common man. 

Different varieties like Ficus, Dracaena, Aglaonema, Dieffenbachia, Areca palm, Pritchardia palm, Table palm, Kentia palm, Syngonium and Philodendron varieties on moss sticks can be hired. Plants can be hired from as low as Rs 75 upwards. Those who believe only in hiring can even outsource watering, cleaning of foliage and damaged leaves. Paid intensive maintenance cover is also available to keep plants healthy at offices and homes. 

Abhijit Joshi who runs Chaitanya Nursery at Dhankawadi, said his nursery boasts of over 2,000 plants which are being regularly hired for short duration functions by many corporate clients. He said that corporate offices, however, rent plants for a longer duration. He added, “I offer plants on monthly rent basis for as low as Rs 80/month if minimum quantity is 100 plants. However, I charge Rs 40/day for a shorter duration. The customers  include locals as well as outsiders. Most prefer to take our site maintenance service while hiring plants.”

Now, even gaming consoles are available on rent for the serious as well as casual gamers. One can hire a Sony Play Station 4 for approx Rs 1,350/day and Rs 4,070/week. Similarly, Microsoft XBOX 360 is also available at around Rs 1,299/day and Rs 3,699/week. Nintendo consoles are most economical at approx Rs 999/day and Rs 3299/week. A Sony Play Station Portable (PSP) can be hired at approx Rs 499/day and Rs 1,399/week. In all cases, the mandatory security deposit is around Rs 2,500 while the drop and pick up charges are fixed at Rs 400. 

Console games range from expensive to very expensive. Once all levels are finished, most players don’t play them again and hence, it becomes a dead investment. So there is a good news for gamers as a game DVD can be rented for approx Rs 399/day and Rs 599/week. For DVDs also, its status quo for the security deposit and drop and pick up charges. Renting a console along with a gaming DVD is a great economical option for the students and low income avid gamers. 

Babu Lal, owner of Babu Video Games, Bhavani Peth revealed that the free mobile games have drastically reduced the demand for gaming consoles. However, renting gaming DVDs is highly popular with the youngsters. DVDs are in most demand on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. As buying console games is very expensive, most prefer to rent for a day or two and complete all the levels. I endeavour to provide the latest titles as far as possible. As the gaming titles are very expensive, either the security deposit is charged or Aadhaar details are sought from the customer.

Due to a growing number of accidents in the city, the staff members at orthopaedic hospitals and surgical shops in the city share that persons needing rented medical equipment are rising day by day. In many cases, accident victims are advised to use walker, stick or knee caps for few weeks or for a few months. As the use of these equipment is for limited period of time, many hospitals along with shops have started renting these equipment by charging a minimal cost.  

People looking after the medical equipment on rent section at an orthopaedic hospital said that they often rent western commode chairs that can be easily fitted on existing Indian toilets. The staff at one of the hospitals mentioned that a minimal deposit is charged and the patient can take home these equipment as per their need. He added that after the use, these equipment are returned and in many cases, many patients who have earlier brought these equipment also choose to donate them back to the hospital facilitating their re-use. 

Along with hospitals, surgical shops across the city also rent out equipment. Speaking to Sakal Times, Santosh Desai of Pioneer Surgicals said that the most rented out equipment are walker and commode chairs. “Patients renting these equipment are increasing year by year. The walker and commode chairs are mostly in demands. The deposit and rent charges of the equipment is decided as per the quality of the instrument. For example, a walker can be rented out from Rs 300 to Rs 500 for a month. The deposit is roughly double the rent cost for the month,” said Desai.

Speaking about the convenience of renting, Amit Bhalerao, a student from the city who recently met with an accident and was advised to use a walker said that renting was a viable option. “There are a variety of options to choose from and I did not bear the cost of buying the equipment as the doctor had advised me to use the walker for only a short period. Hence rather than investing in buying, I decided to rent it for a few months,” said Bhalerao.

Gone are the days when the wedding sarees and lehengas bore a huge sentimental value for the brides. Considering the ever-rising prices of wedding attires and the difficulty in storing them, the modern-day city brides and grooms have now begun using the attires available on rent.

“If you check the rates of these clothes in market now, the wedding wear clothes meant for brides as well grooms, with some amount of heavy work cost above Rs 20 to 25,000. Instead of buying such expensive clothes that they would probably wear just once in their lifetime, many now prefer to get them on rent, which is usually not more than Rs 5 to 6,000,” Atish Mehta of Fashion on Rent, MG Road said.

“Getting married is already a lavish affair. Although, I wanted to look my best on my D-Day, spending a huge amount on the wedding gown seemed unreasonable. I would most likely not wear it ever again. So, I instead rented a beautiful and trendy piece at an affordable price,” Trapti Sharma, a newly-wed bride, said.

While practicality of renting is one of the factors driving the concept, another is the ever changing fashion dynamics.

“For many, it is not even the issue of budget. Sometimes, they are very clear that they will wear a dress so heavy in wedding that they will not be able to wear it for any other occasion. Also, there are also chances of a particular colours or designs going out of fashion every couple of years. In such cases, a huge investment on a wedding dress that will do nothing but occupy a huge area in the closet is not appealing to many, and hence, they prefer to get these clothes on rent,” said Jyoti Dharod of Popin Designer who has shops in Camp and off Laxmi Road.

Apart from the brides and grooms, renting wedding clothes is also gaining increasing popularity amongst the friends and relatives who are attending the wedding, as they have even lesser a reason to invest money in wedding clothes.

The trend of camping on outskirts of the city has picked up over the years. More and more youngsters are choosing off-site camping for weekend rejuvenation away from city lights. For travelling, trekking, camping, one requires a range of equipment which are often not within the buying capacity of these adventure sport lovers. Renting has become one popular option. 

“Camping kits are quite costlier and travelling and trekking requires a list of equipment. A good quality tent easily starts from a range of Rs 5,000-25,000 or more, while ropes for rock climbing also costs around same price. I am not a camping or trekking enthusiast, I like to go camping once in several months. Therefore, it is convenient to rent tents and other things, rather than investing in something I do rarely. If I travel with my wife, we take a tent for two persons which costs Rs 600 and when we go in a larger group, it comes around Rs 1,000-1,500,” said Dhurvas Sontakke (31), analyst. 

“Usually, camping gears are expensive. Therefore it isn’t convenient for those who wish to go camping once in a while. Renting these equipment becomes more practical. We had started with 250 tents on rent 10 years ago. But now we have 1,000 tents available on rent. Every year, we add about 400 tents because of the rising demand. Mostly, youngsters from college and IT professionals choose camping on the outskirts of Pune,” said Prajakta Ghode, operation and co-ordinator at Step-In Adventures, Kothrud. 

“We provide tents on rent which are less in weight but are sustainable and a rent of Rs 300-1,500 is charged. Also, we provide other equipment like solar lanterns, ropes for rock climbers, ladders and other technical equipment based on the adventure sport they choose. All of these gears are certified by UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation),” added Ghode. 

With inputs from Sunil Pradhan, Neha Basudkar, Prajakta Joshi, Pranita Roy and Shashank Kelkar

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