With the growth in demand for rental properties and the ever increasing migrants moving to cities and metros for jobs and higher education, one basic requirement that becomes the necessity of the population is an affordable property that one can rent.
Rentprop4u, a Bengaluru-based realty startup, comes out of the brains of Nagaraju M, AshaM and RaviM, who are the founders. Rentprop4u is a start-up offering end-to-end property management and rental solutions. It’s a one-stop solution for both owners as well as tenants.
They have been friends for more than five years. They claim to provide the customer with a vast choice of properties and have succeeded in doing the same ever since the beginning.
So here is an amazing and detailed interview with one of the founders, Nagarju M where he shares the details on how he developed the idea, bootstrapped his company and is doing well with more than 400 happy customers.
How the idea come to your mind?
During the time that I was pursuing my MBA, I came across a common but a major stress among some friends — getting an accommodation in and around the city in a limited time. It came to my knowledge that landlords too faced difficulties to rent out their properties around the city due to several tenant issues.
One of my friends from Bihar came to Bengaluru to pursue his Master’s degree. He hunted for weeks together to find an accommodation but had no luck. The fact that he was a student added to his woes.
Meanwhile, my uncle was a landlord of a dozen moderate 1 BHK homes which he had built just then. I got an idea – why not help my friend by convincing my uncle to rent out one of his houses to my bachelor friend. My uncle was convinced. He offered him the accommodation under my assurance about the property, its security and maintenance.
My friend had a peaceful stay throughout his Masters days and my uncle too was a happy landlord.
That’s when it struck me that a landlord needs a trustee and a tenant needs a hassle-free accommodation provider, which was ‘I’ in this case.
As I saw many of my other friends undergo this pain, I thought I could help a lot more people if I took it up as a business. This encouraged me to start a property management service to bridge the gap between owners and tenants.
This is how I came up with Rentprop4u home rental solutions.
What problems are you solving?
Between haggling with brokers and house owners, people often feel frustrated while renting a home. Rentprop4u’s aim is to make it an easy ride for both owners and tenants.
The online rental market has seen a significant growth over the years. Yet, the industry requires a holistic answer to take care of the tenants’ and owners’ requirements.
Rentprop4u is bridging this gap by providing a comprehensive solution by automating the process of rental management, thereby ensuring peace of mind for both owner and tenant.
Rentprop4u ensures a broker-free experience and eases the process of finding an ideal tenant/owner. It also significantly reduces the time spent by an owner in managing the property.
The company solves five basic problems in the realty industry which have been the biggest pain points for owners and tenants. Rentprop4u simplifies the entire process of residential property management.
The startup helps to do away with property visits for owners and tenants. Tenants can view the property online without making a visit and make the bookings too. For owners, we do a quarterly inspection and send images so they do not have to visit the properties.
Rentprop4u takes on the onus of tenant screening. We do background checks and share police verification reports with the owners before allowing the tenants to occupy the property.
Rentprop4u drafts the rental agreement between the owner and tenant. Be it electrical, plumbing or carpentry, Rentprop4u takes care of maintenance and repair. Rentprop4u collects the monthly rent from the tenant and hands it over to the owner.
What’s your USP?
Home seekers can search and book online from Rentprop4u’s verified listing of their properties. In addition to zero brokerage, tenants have the option to pay the security deposit (five-month rent) in three equated monthly instalments (EMIs).
The company takes care of all the documentation work and offers assistance with moving and utility connections too. An added advantage is the facility to make rental payments online.
From finding the right tenant and performing a complete background check to offering assured rentals and managing the property, Rentprop4u provides full-service rental and property management for owners.
Be it a single property or a large portfolio, the company is so confident of its tenant placement services that it guarantees to let out the property in less than 30 days or start paying the rent to the owner within a month.
What was your source of market research?
Online and offline market analysts, data obtained from field work/research, references and latest market updates are our sources.
Do you have any investors? Who are they? What amount have you raised?
We are a bootstrapped company. The founders invested the initial capital. Started with just Rs 10 lakhs, we have achieved a turnover of Rs 1 crore within the first year of our operations.
Where is the company located? Why is the location chosen?
The company is located in Bengaluru. With almost 25,000 units lying vacant in Bengaluru alone, there is a huge market potential to be tapped in the city. That is our reason for choosing the city as our first step.
How did you manage to gain initial traction?
As we had identified the major pain points of our customers and clients, we were sure that it would appeal to them.
All it required was a good marketing strategy to reach out to them. Our marketing and sales team have managed to do a great job.Within a year f our operations, we have 200+ registered properties and 400 happy customers.
What are your favourite growth hacking techniques and current metrics?
Digital marketing, offline and online marketing, blogs and social media. Online- social media and website, articles, success stories; Offline- banners, brochures, posters.
400+ customers, more than 1 crore turnover in the first year, 200 plus registered properties.
Tell us about the education of the founders.
Nagaraju has completed his MBA in finance and marketing.Asha has a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design, while Ravi holds an MSc in Multimedia and is passionate about photography, cinematography and design.
Tell us about the family background of the founders.
Asha and Ravi are siblings. They are from Bengaluru. Their father is employed with KSRTC while their mother is a home maker. They are a big happy family living with their grandparents who are into agriculture and poultry farming.
Nagaraju has a younger sister who is married. His father is self-employed and mother is a home maker.
Tell us about the previous experience of the founders.
Nagaraju has hands-on experience of five years in the highly competitive and niche property management business. After completing his MBA, he worked with leading real estate players as a business development executive.
What are your thoughts on GST as a startup?
Overall, we view GST in a positive light for the real estate industry. Though there has been a slump over the past few month because customers had adopted a ‘wait and watch approach’, we think it will streamline the processes in the real estate sector in the long run.
How do you manage human resources? What challenges do you face?
Initially, we faced some challenges in finding the right people. We then started defining the key criteria for each role and we have a fantastic team now. We try to offer them value-addition by offering regular training in relevant areas and also help them in managing their soft skills.
What was your life before starting up? Provide a comparison.
When I worked for other companies, I had limited roles and responsibilities, whereas I manage the company now and hence look at everything from a larger perspective.
What are your future plans?
We intend to replicate the model in other cities such as Hyderabad and Chennai soon, and then take it across the country. We have plans for overseas expansion too.
What will you advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Any startup will take time to take off. I would request upcoming entrepreneur to focus on long-term goals rather than short-term objectives if you want your business to succeed. The first two years are crucial for any start-up.
If you can survive these, you can taste the success of your hard eventually. Also, continuous learning is a must since the world is changing at a rapid pace.
Name any three:
a) Entrepreneurs who inspire you – Bill Gates, Lakshmi Mittal, Steve Jobs
b) Books that you love – Self-help and motivational books
c) Blogs that you read – Business Era, Rise of the Innerpreneur
d) Places that you want to visit – Goa, Singapore
e) Cars that you want to buy – Audi, Lamborghini
f) Communication tools that you use – Whatsapp, Messenger, Instagram, Hike, Skype,
g) Advertising platforms that you use – Online blogs, offline posters, banners, newspapers, social media