Your confusion stems from the fact that there are two very different types of Furniture Rental — Rent to Own, and Rent-to-Rent.
You are probably thinking of Rent-to-Own which is far larger in terms of the number of locations. There are nearly 10,000 RTO locations throughout the U.S.
Rent-to-Own is primarily a retail lease/purchase operation that targets consumers who do not have good credit or who have no credit history and little cash.
The primary benefit of rent-to-own is that it allows cash-strapped consumers to eventually own furniture that is newer and more expensive than they could otherwise afford or finance. No credit check is required.
The dis-advantage is extremely high interest rates than can run as high as 300%. Rent-to-own franchises try to price their furniture so that they can make back the cost of the furniture in 6-15 months.
After that everything is pure profit, as is anything they can get from selling off the used furniture if it is returned or repossessed.
To maximize profits Rent-to-Own stores typically buy and sell relatively inexpensive furniture that can be paid off in just a few manageable monthly payments.
Rent-to-Rent furniture stores service more affluent customers with a temporary need for furnishings. Rent-to-rent is true rental, not a means to purchase.
Furniture is rented for a specific term and returned to the rental company at the end of that term. Furniture rental agreements are usually for a term of three months to three years.
The furniture pieces offered in rent-to-rent are usually of higher quality than those used in rent-to-own.
Rent-to-rent is used by people who are less likely to be overly concerned with price. They are often higher income individuals on a temporary work assignment.
In the United States the rent-to-rent furniture rental industry is dominated by a small number of national/regional companies. The largest of these are Cort, Brook Rentals and AFR Furniture Rental.
In addition individual metropolitan areas and regions may be served by several much smaller local companies.
A list of some of these is available at Furniture Rental & Leasing in Yellow Pages by SuperPages.
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