Monday, August 21, 2017

How I stumbled upon the serviced apartment biz

It seems like yesterday that I started my first serviced apartment in Mumbai. It soon grew into a known hospitality brand. Today, a decade later, I marvel at the ease with which I started the business.
So here's the story of how Stay Insta evolved. It was year 2007 and I had just got possession of a 1 BHK flat I had bought. I was toying with the idea of renting the flat out when a friend working for a BPO came with an offer. An employee of his company was coming to Mumbai for three months from Bangalore and needed a furnished place to stay. He did not want a hotel stay as he wouldn't feel comfortable. At the same time, all places to rent came with an 11-month lease and a hefty deposit.
My friend suggested I furnish the place and rent it to his company employee. He promised to pay a little more than the regular rental rate, but insisted that I had to take care of the place -- maintain cleanliness etc.
And Bingo! that's how I started my company.
Soon, I rented out several furnished properties, employed housekeepers, set up a website and I was in business.
And the business was so good that within a year, I quit my lucrative merchant navy job and settled in Mumbai for good. I have not regretted the decision one bit. 
Of course, it wasn't all a cakewalk. But yes, for me, Stay Insta is much more than a job. It's a passion that has not diminished one bit over the years...