Jasper and Marcus were working in the police force when they decided to dip their toes into the rental world and make use of the drones that they had in their apartments. ‘At the beginning, it was just something we did on our off days,’ says Marcus. The business – and their stockpile of drones – grew quickly. In February 2018, they left their jobs (something Marcus describes as ‘a leap of faith’) to pursue it full-time. They now operate from an office space in Singapore and rent out cameras, video equipment, drones and accessories. We spoke to them to find out more.
‘In the beginning, we were acquiring new equipment along the way,’ says Marcus. ‘At one point, we had 25 drones, buying directly from the retailers when they launched new ones.’ Then, in late 2018, the law around using drones in Singapore changed, and renting them out was no longer possible. The pair pivoted the business, selling the big drones and investing in a set of Canon cameras and lenses. Those cameras have since become the mainstay of their income.
‘We mainly carry Canon and Sony cameras and we're slowly getting into production,’ says Marcus, meaning lighting, audio and production cameras. They have around 60 cameras in their portfolio, along with two smaller (and legal!) drones.
The office space is split into three areas: the front-desk reception area, where the staff meet, greet and teach customers and let them test the equipment; the equipment room, where everything is stored; and the studio space, where shoots take place.
Jasper and Marcus currently have two part-time members of staff and an intern to help run the operation. ‘They help clean and maintain the equipment and package it for customers,’ says Marcus.
Division of labor
The co-founders share the load when it comes to running the business, and they're both pretty hands-on with everything. ‘It's definitely a partnership. I do more of the procuring of the equipment, and Jasper is more on the financial side,’ says Marcus.
In the early days, JustRentLah used Google Sheets and Microsoft Word to manage bookings. As the business scaled, so did the tech. It now uses rental software Booqable to manage bookings and lists the equipment on retail marketplace Carousell.
The business has a range of customers – from events and wedding hire to content creators. It provides tutorials on how to best use the cameras.
As well as specialist rental websites, JustRentLah uses Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Marcus adds that word of mouth has been a big driver.