The culture of renting goods or a service is arguably more popular in Western countries than it is in Malaysia, as shared commerce isn’t as widely accepted by the older generations here yet.
When Huzaifah, Emir, and Hazim were studying abroad in Canada, they found that anyone could rent almost anything there.
“Everything was accessible. And since then, I’d been thinking about starting a rental marketplace in Malaysia,” Huzaifah, the founder of Pinjam.co, shared with Vulcan Post.
Currently, the Pinjam.co team includes the trio as well as 4 other teammates who have previously worked with Dahmakan, Petronas, and Top Glove.
Pivoting From Just A Rental “Yellow Pages”
When Pinjam.co started in late 2019, it was actually known as Pinjamla, which was only a platform for merchants to showcase their products like books, cameras, etc. Their focus at the time was just to increase the number of listings on the marketplace.
A few months into the business, however, their merchants started approaching them on the possibility of doing more with their platform such as managing the merchants’ customers, tracking products, providing rental subscriptions, in-store bookings, and more.
“The rental industry in Malaysia is underserved, as most of the like platforms out there mainly focus on the e-commerce industry,” Huzaifah realised from the feedback he received from Pinjamla’s merchants.
Hence, in October 2020, Pinjamla rebranded to Pinjam.co and added rental software to their existing rental marketplace platform to fill those gaps that their merchants were facing.
Not Quite A POS System
From an outsider’s POV, their software sounds quite similar to a POS system, since some of the main POS system features include inventory, employee, and customer-relationship management, as shared in this article by StoreHub.
The Pinjam.co team shared that apart from these things, some things their software has that a POS system doesn’t include a product tracking system and fraud prevention.
Via their product tracking system, the movement of a product like where and when it’s collected and returned, whether it’s through self-pickup or delivery partners, and which one of the business’ staffs handed over and received the product, can all be tracked.
As for their fraud prevention system, their software includes a customer identity verification and a security deposit which businesses can opt to include in their booking.
Their other features that are similar to that of a POS system’s include a booking management system and an inventory management system.
So far, they haven’t been able to identify their local competitors, and from what I’ve found, most rental management systems in the country are more for property rental.
If you’re a customer interested in booking from one of their merchants, you can choose to either pay your rental fees hourly, daily, or even through a subscription.
Solving The Double-Booking Issue Among Merchants
“Prior to using Pinjam.co, most of our merchants had double-booking issues because everything was handled manually,” Huzaifah shared, which they managed to solve with their booking management system.
On top of preventing future double-bookings from happening, their merchants can also block out the availability of these products for a period of time should they need it for personal use or servicing it.
As of now, they have over 70 merchants using their software and platform. Their merchants currently pay a transaction fee of 2.5% of the booking fee + RM 1.00 per booking.
Since they pivoted in October 2020, their highest monthly revenue was over RM35k, which happened in December 2020.
It Took Some Convincing & Educating
When they first started out, Huzaifah shared that while people were keen on their idea, they couldn’t get many users to stay because they only had a few features like online payment and a daily-based rental system.
This prompted them to add more features to stand out as a rental management system, and they were able to secure more active users since then.
“Rental software is not as mainstream as e-commerce and POS systems in Malaysia, so it took us some time to educate rental businesses on managing their businesses with us,” Huzaifah shared with Vulcan Post.
Fortunately, they managed to partner with the Ministry of Entrepreneurship Development & Cooperative (MEDAC) & Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) as a solution provider to their SME digitalisation programmes, which significantly helped them with acquiring early users and trust.
Since many of their rental businesses are assets, Pinjam.co and the rental industry as a whole felt the impact of the pandemic. However, they managed to pull through thanks to grants secured from MTDC as well as SUPERB TERAJU 2019.
Featured Image Credit: Huzaifah Sulaiman, founder of Pinjam.co