CityFurnish vs Guarented.com vs Rentomojo vs Furlenco — A first hand experience — Updated x 2
So, I just moved to Bangalore, figured PGs are a waste of time, hired a few brokers (Yea, NoBroker didn’t work, a story for an another time) and got a place for myself and tried to rent furniture for it, and ended up renting it from all 3 major players in the space (something from everyone). Below is the documentation of my experience, that should help you take a decision.
What to expect while renting furniture?
First, this is not a 30 minutes delivery ‘nai to free’. They are going to take their own sweet time and the delivery process starts only after their formalities are complete. So, do NOT even waste your time till you have most of these documents ready (see the list below).
Only when you are ready, go ahead, place an order, most of them ask you to pay a security deposit and one month rent for whatever you choose. Don’t even expect ANY OF THEM to even have the curtsy to call you to confirm your order. (Guys! I just spent like Rs 5000+ with you, and if I stay for a year as 5k rental, that is like 12 months x 5k / mo = Rs 60k worth of business to you, how about a call to just confirm the same?).
Maybe, I am asking for too much here… cause none of them even got to my order till 48 hours were past. I felt anxious, gave up my ego of ‘being a buyer’ and contacted them via LIVE chat.
The due diligence which is compulsory (sort of)
All the players are going to ask for appropriate documents from you in order to be able to provide you anything. These documents can be like:
- Any permanent address (some of them ask for multiple of these)
- Proof of temporary address (Rent agreement, where you are tenant)
- Bank statements (as proof of financial stability)
- Salary slips (as proof of income)
Name of your dog, and if it has a passport, how much you weigh, medical document of the color of your eyes, how long are your nails…. sigh!
Okay, not all of them are like that. Read on to know (listed in alphabetical order)
Think of techno-savvy team of carpenters, furniture experts and a team passionate about furniture delivering you furniture on rent like Faasos does their food — All online.
The inventory — The website has the best bang for the buck, simply because they manufacture most of it themselves (as compared to others, who are sourcing it from somewhere else). And the ones that they don’t source, are costlier. So, any furniture you see on the website, is most likely cheaper than others.
Another perspective to that is, since they are the manufacturers, they are limited by the skills to produce some high end furniture that look more fashionable (yea, you will get eye candies at Furlenco.com and Rentomojo).
But if you are looking for a space saving options (and if you are living at the heart of Bangalore, you sure are living in a small room and understand the pain), they have more practical options for it, like the bed with an underbed and a coffee table that can also be used as a dining or a place to work (like shown in the pic).
The support — They were the first to respond, with marginally good support, everything being handled by ticket systems and phone calls. Cordial people to talk to and efficient.
The technology — By that, I mean how easy it is to order and how well built their website is. The ordering process is smooth for a power user (like me), but people may easily get confused with some screen where its not clear they are talking about deposit or the rental amount.
Their invoicing can get easily confused though. So, double check when you are signing off their agreements that their agents may carry while delivering furniture (or the ones you get online by their team).
Due diligence — They were moderate when it comes to asking for documents. They asked the docs over a simple email, and I just responded back with all of them. They then asked for more and I provided those too. Here is the list they asked for.
The experience- They were the first ones to furnish my home, so ofcourse, I am happy with these guys. I didn’t like they had to ask for my bank statement (which I think is too personal, they can literally see how I spend my money) and why they asked for two permanent address proofs is beyond me. But amazing, sturdy and practical furniture that they delivered.
Update: The finance department corrected everything and now I have an updated invoice sitting in my inbox, with a link of online payment, which is great. I think it was support guys, trying to cover up for the finance department over the weekend, and created a confusion instead.
I am not sure if Kalaari invested in these guys just because they were out of options to ride the bandwagon of ‘shared economy’ or they were actually just interested in their numbers.
The inventory — That didn’t impress me and the beds they started with looked cheap and uninteresting. Maybe they are targeting a different audience that I don’t cut into. The basics of Ecommerce photography is missing which should have taken a toll on their conversions. I was not able to choose anything but appliances package is really cheap, so I picked that up.
The support — So, no calls from them either after I placed and order through COD (really? They support COD? That’s amazing… if they deliver). As soon as dropped a message on their LIVE Chat, they promised a call by the evening (and they did). So far, so good. They confirmed the order (over email) and promised to deliver by 6 days (asked if I am okay with it, to which I said — yes, Thank God, I didn’t order other furniture from them).
Due diligence — They didn’t ask for any documents either, and that immediately turned out to be a ‘too good to be true’ for me. I mean, You don’t have my payment, you have no documents to support the order, how can you possibly deliver? Well, if they really do, I will update it in the blog. But so far, I don’t trust them to deliver their order.
The experience — I just had one interaction with them, no money paid, but only one commitment to deliver, a date defined by them. Will update how the experience goes.
Update: GuaRented delivered! And that too without any payment, or any documentation done (I wonder how sustainable is that for an operator in this space), but the appliances delivered were well maintained, well packed and arrived precisely on their committed date.
I also got a followup call from GuaRented guys, following up on the experience of the delivered products. I myself said (rather complained) that I haven’t paid anything and send me the payment links so that I can complete this transaction. I am expecting to face their accounting department now.
Update 2: The washing machine they delivered didn’t work from day 1. I just dropped an email to their support and next day, the mechanic came and everything is nice and working since then. Kudos to the support. The invoicing was pretty straightforward with no hassles whatsoever. They, by far are the easiest to rent from. Period.
This is what you get when local furniture dealers, Digital Marketing experts, Data scientists and a strong technical team get on the same bus, and UX guy missed it.
The inventory — The inventory is attractive and beautifully presented. They rent everything from furniture to bikes and more. These guys know how ecommerce marketing works and how to design beautiful websites, but maybe overdone (will come to that in a while).
The support — One of the quickest Live chat representatives that get the job done. But hey! the support guys are not related to their verification department and there is no way to reach out to them either (callbacks will just lead you to a central IVR number). So, in a way, there is no way to expedite the process of delivery due to the hierarchy of this company.
Due diligence — This company is scary when it comes to the amount of details they need from you to provide. They need all the documents you can think of (almost like what a bank would ask before giving you a car loan) and need it to be delivered in an amazingly simple to use dashboard they have, where they want access to their Facebook, Linkedin, Salary slips, Rent agreement, Permanent addresses and I provided all of them promptly (now I am thinking why did I do that).
Here comes the scary part, they are not a renting company. They are a technology company, advanced enough to hire data scientists to do a background check on thousands of people and find more viable products to rent / sell to.
With the kindof data they are collecting, any responsibly paranoid would be scared.
The experience — While their backend is shiny and impressive, they are like those faceless companies where scale kills the speed of the company. I mean, CityFurnish delivered while these guys are still pondering upon whether I am legit to rent or not.
Update: Rentomojo was last to deliver and here is what I figured why they deliveries are slow. They only tender to one area at a time. Simply cause there are too many orders, it makes sense to cater to all orders in a particular area at a time. So, if you are lucky, you got your place to live where Rentomojo would probably deliver, after frustrating delay in their documentation process.
Update 2: Rentomojo’s social media team responded back on this very post. Check that out for yourself. Kudos to their social media team :)
Other interesting companies I prospected but didn’t go for:
This company has become default goto when someone thinks of renting furniture in Bangalore (amazing brand penetration). Amazing furniture, too costly but easy on terms. I can squeeze in much more furniture for myself by going with other vendors than with furlenco.
These guys are funny with their ads, where actually trying to sell furniture on EMI to a community that is there to rent. Thats like Ford saying — “Why Uber / Ola , when you can get your own car”. Dude! Bangalore moves with Uber / Ola. (and I apologize to Ford for comparing it with UrbanLadder, Ford is an amazing company).
Your choice of furniture would depend upon your requirements, so feel free to do some price shopping if you wish. I did feature shopping (without caring about price, who can get me the most space management friendly furniture) and I got some amazing things on all of these websites. If privacy and price is not a concern for you… all of them are good. For my requirements, I would anytime go with CityFurnish (for now), fighting with their ill financial department and beating them into straight line.
From Business perspective:
If you closely look at these guys, you will find what drives them, and that is what they reflect in their culture and how they deal with the customers. If you compare Twitter accounts of CityFurnish to GuaRented and RentoMojo, you will find CityFurnish is all passionate about furniture, that is what they talk about, while GuaRented and RentoMojo talk about anything and everything.
This is just the dawn of ‘shared economy’ that is bubbling up in Bangalore (and other metros in India). The industry is fighting a feature war right now, and we need someone to push this to next step of evolution where feature is no more a concern, but convenience is.