In a city that never stops moving and where owning a car is not the norm, dealing with furniture is often a hassle.
To help New Yorkers who struggle with heavy couches and dressers every time they change apartments, Alpay Koralturk founded Furnishare, a subscription-based furniture rental company, in January 2015.
Provided that the furniture is in excellent condition and from a reputable company, Furnishare will pick up unwanted pieces and store them in its warehouse.
The furniture is then professionally cleaned, photographed and listed on the company’s website, from which others can rent the items for a monthly fee: $50 for one to three pieces, $100 for four to six pieces, $150 for seven to nine pieces and up from there.
Fifty-percent of the rental revenue is given back to the provider for two years, and pickups and deliveries are free of charge.
Koralturk, a 29-year-old midtown east resident, said he got the idea for Furnishare during his fifth New York City move in six years, soon after he got married in 2014.
Already an entrepreneur, having founded the Turkey-based mobile gaming company Gram Games, Koralturk said he was thinking about what to do next with his career while at the same time moving to a new home.
“And while I was moving and we were furnishing our apartment, it dawned on me that I’ve done this so many times and it’s so painful,” he recalled.
Furnishare satisfied a few criteria Koralturk had for his next venture, such as doing something that protects the environment, like keeping discarded furniture off the street and out of landfills, and helping the public.
To get started, Koralturk collected funding from his previously-curated roster of investors, built an operations model, created a website and rented a few dozen storage units in New Jersey, to store furniture and test his business model. To keep costs low, his company rents U-Haul trucks to pick up and deliver furniture.
Today, Furnishare has a warehouse in North Bergen, New Jersey and is headquartered in the Financial District.
While Koralturk said the company hasn’t yet turned much of a profit and declined to disclose how many customers it’s had so far, he said the concept serves what was previously a gap in the moving industry.
“There was a huge need for a service that would help people get rid of furniture,” he said, adding that his company aims to “change furniture from something that’s cumbersome and expensive to a very easy subscription that’s really hassle-free and affordable to anyone.”
Even New Yorkers who aren’t moving need to get rid of furniture sometimes. Chelsea resident Nelson Azoulay, 28, said Furnishare saved him from the hassle of going through Craigslist and figuring out transportation to get rid of a big TV stand he no longer needed in his living room.
“Within a few days, it was out of my house,” Azoulay said of using the service. “They had blankets to protect the furniture, they had a team of three people that came in.”
And on the renter side, Koralturk said a lot of people who move frequently are either in New York temporarily or are young professionals who don’t have a lot of money to spend on furniture.
Victoria Harris, 45, who lives in NoMad, rented six pieces, such as a leather chair and an ottoman/coffee table, in September.
“I didn’t want to invest in an apartments’-worth of furniture because I’m not residing here permanently,” she said.
Harris was struck by the quality of the furniture she rented, which included a solid-wood dresser from Pottery Barn.
“And they put it exactly where I wanted them to put it,” she said. “They were in and out.”