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Ron Lanzo – Why it still makes sense to rent office furniture: The multitude of options still means you’ll save!

Posted: 6.15.11
Category: AFR Residential
Ron Lanzo, AFR Furniture Rental, Inc.

In my last column, I thought I had exhausted the many types of products that were available for rent. Apparently, I had just uncovered the proverbial "tip of the iceberg" which has become so obvious as I've since found so many new things one may rent. Let's look at just a few of these examples:

Recently while I was supervising a large rental installation for one of our clients who had to move to new space due to a fire, I literally pulled up behind a truck whose signage said, ComRent International After checking into this company, I discovered they can rent you a complete IT storage system. This amazing company has expanded to cover the entire U.S. and many international locations. From their website, you discover that they provide a host of IT services all available quickly and on a rental basis. Their client base runs the full spectrum of vertical markets including many federal government agencies. Let's look at some of the other interesting rental possibilities I uncovered since our last article.

* Goats for rent: Recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article, anyone who has a back yard, country place or overgrown upstate farm, this service will bring a herd of hungry goats to trim your shrubs and other over grown bushes naturally. From the company's website, you learn that they offer, "A cost effective environmentally friendly weed removal" service.

* Albright Fashion Library 62 Cooper Square, the light filled archives 20,000 designer dresses and 7,000 pairs of shoes from designers ranging from Alaia to Zanotti. You make an appointment about a week or two in advance to meet with one of their stylists who fit you with the best from head to toe. About $1,000 and you're ready for any Red Carpet or high styled formal event.

* Rent the Runway, which we mentioned in our last article was featured in May 2001 issue of The New York Enterprise magazine in its article entitled Ambassadors of Fashions. These two young entrepreneurs, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, both have one of the fastest growing businesses in New York. Their rentals from Herve Leger, Proenza Schouler and Tibi are all available to rent for about 10% of their sales price! The company now has more than 950,000 members with 45 full time employees and is well known within the business community as "The Netflix for dresses."

So, as indeed, renting anything including office furniture, gives you the chance to acquire high quality products quickly for a fraction of their total cost. It gives you the ability to try a business model by using creative financing as a vehicle. I'm not talking about traditional bank or venture capital financing here, but more of a factoring arrangement whereby the rental company becomes the bank. When you rent from my company, AFR Furniture Rental, Inc., we make the financial assessments of your company's strength and we decide if you're capable of investing our furniture "on loan." As a new start up, you maintain your cash for other investments in personnel, advertising or marketing. This helps place working capital to work producing income!

Over the past year, I've personally been involved with companies who have rented furnishings for a special event that lasted one night, to many companies expanding to new markets, or looking for interim or "swing space" for just a few months. We've done major corporate relocations that were necessitated because of natural disasters, including fires. We've successfully been able to help companies in distress get operational in less than one month. We also helped a regional hospital open on time, and enabled them to hold their grand opening party, despite the fact that their new furniture was going to be at least six weeks late. We helped a new executive office suite operator open a new business center in less than one month from the day they started construction. This enabled them to start a new business, recruit prospective new tenants and most importantly generate revenues immediately. It gave them a chance to take a breather, and access their success against the business plan. Looks like they'll reach nearly a 90% occupancy rate and they've yet to make the investment in buying new furnishings. It's going to be a lot easier to open the next center because they now know that their business model and pro forma financial projects are realistic. That would be the time to make the permanent investment in buying furniture, but it was the flexibility of renting that helped contribute to the venture's success.

And just recently, I'd completed a new office rental for a young lawyer who was breaking away from a large firm to start his own criminal law practice. He secured a small office with a prestigious Fifth Ave. address. He chose to rent from AFR rather than tie up his working capital. He was able to secure a fully furnished opening just after Memorial Day, for a monthly rate that's less than the cost of renting a car for a long weekend!

So as I've mentioned many times in previous articles, rental furniture can be an expeditious way of getting a company back in business quickly regardless of the reasons. It is also an excellent way of doing so on much less than the total cost associated with furniture acquisition.

Ron Lanzo is the commercial account executive for AFR Furniture Rental, New York, N.Y.