Furniture for rent

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

FRANKLIN—Whether it is rent-to-own or rent-to-rent, BestWay Rent to Own and American Furniture Rentals advertise their companies as places where people of any financial circumstance can find furniture and rental terms that suit their needs — even during times of financial instability.

“Anybody can rent, and lots of people of all different circumstances rent,” said BestWay Rent to Own Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Rose from his Norfolk office.

Rose said that with BestWay there is no security deposit, no delivery fee, no long-term time commitment and that at any time the company will pick up the rental furniture at no charge. Prices also do not change based on the length of time an individual wishes to rent the furniture, computer or television.

The 19 BestWay Rent to Own locations, including the store in Franklin in the Southampton Shopping Center on Armory Drive, advises customers of the cash value for the furniture, what the cost is to rent per week or month is and whether the piece has been previously rented as required by Virginia statute, Rose said.

“It leaves people with flexibility,” he said.

People looking for that type of flexibility are often those who have a “very little up front amount of cash” or those who cannot get financed, Rose said. Those who do not want a financial commitment also benefit from rental companies.

And without obligations, it is no wonder that Rose said business has remained steady, and spikes during Christmas and the Super Bowl, or “TV-selling season,” even with the difference in the economy.

“As long as we do what we’re supposed to do and treat our customers the way they should be treated, I don’t think that will change,” Rose said.

It is not the same everywhere, though, and American Furniture Rentals, which operates up and down the East Coast, and has a showroom in Richmond, has seen a different side of how the economy has influenced consumers.

General Manager of American Furniture Rentals Mike Martucci said that consumers are “looking for bargains” and that he has seen more consumers buying than renting since the economy has been down.

American Furniture Rentals, a rent-to-rent agency, opens its warehouses a few times a year and sells its furnishings at clearance prices in order to update its rental stock. Otherwise, customers order rental pieces through its online service.

The company, like BestWay, offers consumers with options for renting for various lengths of time, ranging from only one day to a longer term—“whatever the customer needs,” Martucci said.

American Furniture rentals, too, offers free delivery and pick up. The prices do, however, fluctuate based on the length of the rental period.

Recently, Martucci said the company has worked a lot with insurance companies to provide rental furniture to victims of tornadoes. It also provides office furniture to growing companies or to military individuals.