David Lee has been issued a stay-home notice (SHN) twice now.
He served his very first SHN at InterContinental Robertson Quay Hotel when he came back from a business trip in Korea. The second time was served at Village Hotel Albert Court after another business trip to the United Kingdom.
After his second SHN, the 35-year-old decided to start up Happy SHN, a short-term product rental service that targets SHN individuals.
“From the two (SHN) experiences, I realised that no matter how good the hotel was, I found myself wanting something at some point. I wish I had some dumbbells, I wish I had a bigger monitor, I wish I had a vacuum cleaner et cetera,” said David.
“It didn’t make sense for me to buy them as by the time they were delivered, I would have been halfway through SHN or I didn’t want to lug it all the way home after SHN.”
A short-term rental service would help solve such pain points — it lets you get an item that you want or need without having to commit to a full purchase.
On the very same day that he set up the website, Happy SHN received its very first sale: a vacuum cleaner.
“I (had) yearned for a vacuum cleaner during my stay, so that was the first item I put up and this shows that I’m not the only one looking for it,” he said.
You can rent anything “as long as it’s legal”
Happy SHN offers a slew of products available for rent. From offering only eight items in the first month, its inventory has grown to over 50 products and counting.
“(We offer) everything from microwaves to spin bikes and monitors and printers, basically things to make your life better during SHN,” said David.
They have even added a mini freezer into the product catalogue to cater to mothers who needed to freeze their breast milk following a particular request. While they didn’t see the demand for it, they bought one for her anyway.
Essentially, SHN individuals can request for anything that is not included in the product catalogue “as long as it legal in Singapore and within certain weight and size limits,” stated Happy SHN on its website.
There are three main product categories that the platform currently offers: living appliances, exercise equipments, as well as work and play.
According to David, the exercise series is the most in demand, followed by microwaves and vacuum cleaners.
Although SHN is served mostly in four- or five-star hotels, we believe the SHN experience can be better. The first two days usually go past pretty fast but from the third day onwards, you usually run out of things to do or you find yourself lacking some things no matter how luxurious the hotel is.
Having exercise equipment would definitely help people be more productive and it’s also a good time to start exercising, especially for those who give excuses like ‘I don’t have too much time’. Now you have too much of it!
– David Lee, founder of Happy SHN
For those who are not keen on exercising, Happy SHN also provides gaming entertainment like PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and bigger monitors.
David shared that they are looking to introduce musical instruments next as part of their entertainment product offerings.
When asked where they source for their products, David shared that they have a collaboration with Hiap Seng Electric Co.
“Hiap Seng Electric is my dad’s company and it is a traditional brick-and-mortar store retailing electrical appliances (for more than 30 years). Business isn’t good, especially during the pandemic, so it’s also part of the reason why I started this business since I have a ready supplier for living appliances,” explained David.
Moreover, since the store is located at Beach Road, it is in close proximity to many SHN hotels, making deliveries accessible.
How to rent?
Rental prices differ according to the rental duration, which is a minimum of seven days. The longer the duration, the lower the average daily price will be lower.
For instance, a spin bike costs S$125 for up to seven days (S$17.85 per day), and S$230 for 15 to 21 days (S$10.95 per day).
Additionally, a Sony PlayStation 5 costs S$260 for up to seven days ($37.14 per day), and S$530 for 15 to 21 days (S$25.23 per day).
We (have) abolished the deposit system for most products except high-value items as it was too tedious to keep track and we wanted to provide a hassle-free experience for our customers. Now they (can) simply just select the number of days, place the order and receive them on the same day or next.
– David Lee, founder of Happy SHN
For items that do not require deposits, the listed prices are already inclusive of delivery fees. The delivery is usually made on the same day if payment is done before 3pm.
The items must be returned upon check-out — renters can simply leave the items outside their door before check out as a way of returning the items.
However, if you like the item and would like keep it, Happy SHN said that they can sell the product at a discounted rate depending on its age and condition.
On the other hand, if a user loses or damages the item(s), they will be required to replace the product as a form of compensation.
If you are not serving SHN but wish to rent from Happy SHN, you would be glad to know that they also deliver to residential addresses. Delivery fees differ depending on the location — S$10 for islandwide delivery and S$20 for Sentosa area.
Safety is the utmost priority
Although he’s helping to scratch the itch for some individuals, David faced some initial struggles, which mainly involved convincing hotels to accept them as they started delivering spin bikes and treadmills.
Now, they have partnered directly with hotels like Fairmont Singapore, Swissotel Merchant Court, and Shangri-La Singapore to provide these to their guests.
Ultimately, the most important factor in this business is ensuring that all returned items are thoroughly sanitised and disinfected for the safety of subsequent users.
“While we can outsource all deliveries and collections to solve our logistical problems, we insist on doing (this) in-house so we can be sure that the cleaning process is not compromised,” said David.
With the recent spike in local community cases, the government has extended the SHN period from 14 to 21 days as part of measures to curb the virus outbreak.
When asked if he sees it as a business opportunity, he said that in contrast, many expats entering Singapore have had their entry approvals rejected, which means that lesser people are serving SHN.
Although David has businesses in Korea and the UK, he is choosing to focus on Happy SHN for now.
“As of now, no one has the answer to when the pandemic will end. We’re looking to donate some exercise equipment to hospitals and other community facilities to help with their physiological rehabilitation and to keep people who are confined in a place active,” he said.
“While profits are essential to keep a company afloat, the occasional handwritten notes from customers after retrieving a returned products keeps us going.”
Featured Image Credit: Happy SHN