Student enterprise Swapcouch decorates your room for you
Swapcouch decorates your room for you
Students who only live somewhere for a short time don’t want to deal with too much crap. Buying furniture, renting a trailer, getting someone to help you carry everything, all for just a few months: can’t someone else do it? That’s the idea behind Swapcouch, the furniture rental company set up by Bendix Zijlstra and Maurice Panman.
The two met each other when studying international business and management at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and have since both switched to the finance pre-master at the RUG. ‘But we’d rather be entrepreneurs than students’, says Maurice.
They decided to start their own company. They came up with Swapcouch as they were taking a walk through the Noorderplantsoen. ‘We took a notebook, had a beer, and just started brainstorming ideas.’ This was before the summer; by August, they had a watertight concept.
So how does it work? ‘It’s really simple. You rent the furniture for at least three months, after which you can extend the rental period for as long as you want’, says Bendix. ‘Students themselves don’t have to carry anything up stairs or anything’, Maurice adds. ‘We show up and put everything together. It’s the total package. We want to make it easy for everyone.’
The pair bought the furniture at IKEA, among other places. Their standard package is 59.99 and consists of a couch, a wardrobe, a table with two chairs, and a bed with a mattress. Students can also put together their own package.
Swapcouch is mainly aimed at international students, since they often only stay in Groningen for a little while. Maurice and Bendix both studied abroad for a while and hated having to get furniture for a six-month stay.
Student furniture should be sturdy. ‘We picked out robust furniture to ensure it can stand the test of time’, says Bendix. A few scratches are fine, ‘but if a pillow comes back all messed up, something happened to it. Pillows don’t tear on their own.’ To prevent stuff like this, Swapcouch charges a deposit.
The students celebrated when they got their first customer. ‘We were so happy when we got the e-mail. It was a normal weekday, but we did have a beer at the house where we delivered the furniture’, says Benix.
Right now, it’s just Maurice and Bendix who deliver the furniture, but they hope to be able to hire others in the future. ‘We currently deliver to Groningen, Zwolle, and Leeuwarden, but it’d be amazing if Swapcouch went national.’