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Generation rent

Flex IT launches Rent partner programme and economical product bundles

Circular IT distributor Flex IT is expanding its offering for channel partners with a new Rent partner programme and economical product bundles for organisations preparing for a flexible working future.

Last year, Flex IT devised a three-year plan to increase circular IT’s share of its business to more than 60%. In the event, it reached this target in less than a year.

This had a lot to do with the surge in demand for laptops ahead of coronavirus-induced lockdowns. Even so, Flex IT Chief Executive Leon Timmermans argues that circular IT is more attractive than ever, both for businesses and the reseller community.

“We offer more or less than same benefits that PC vendors offer in terms of rebate programmes and marketing support and on top of that I can honestly say there is more margin in the circular product for the reseller,” he said.

On the demand-side, Timmermans says Flex IT is over-riding potential objections by focusing on high quality refurbishment, accurate product ratings and generous warranties.

With its new Flex IT Home & Office scheme, it is also highlighting the cost benefits of circular IT by offering a refurbished laptop and desktop/screen/keyboard bundle for half the price of a brand-new laptop. Available exclusively through the channel, there is also the option to rent the equipment through the Flex IT Rent program.

In order to meet growing demand for refurbished laptops, PCs, servers and mobile devices, or, as Timmermans puts it, “to feed the hungry beast of circular IT”, Flex IT needs a steady supply of used equipment to sell to resellers through its circular IT distribution arm.

Traditionally, it has collected such machines from a variety of sources, including computer vendors’ overstock of superseded models; its own asset recovery (ITAD) business; its own demo business, which manages the supply of demo machines to enterprises and Government bodies on behalf of vendors; and from its own rental business, which has a supply of 15-20,000 laptops (sometimes as many as 60,000), which it rents out for days, weeks or a few months to cover a temporary need, such as an exhibition or a product appraisal.

Rental machines tend to be high quality, well specified devices that, when decommissioned, make a valuable addition to Flex IT’s pool of used machines.

“For vendors, it is super-interesting to have their latest and greatest products in that rental asset pool, as they act as a sort of demo. A lot of companies ask us to send them 1,000 notebooks, for example, for a period of 2 or 3 months and at the end of the period they sometimes decide to buy that brand or specific model. For us, the rent and demo businesses are very much connected – and they both feed the circular business,” explained Timmermans.

Flex IT, already the biggest rental company in Europe in terms of stock, is planning to capture an even greater share of the rental market (and thereby increase the flow of premium devices to its circular IT distribution arm) by launching a brand-new partner program called Flex IT Rent.

The three-tier programme – Bronze (up to €25,000), Silver (€25,001 to €75,000) and Gold (€75,000 plus) – is designed to help new and existing rental partners break into what for many is an untapped revenue opportunity.

Flex IT is removing traditional barriers to entry, notably the need for capital to invest in large quantities of hardware upfront, by giving partners access to the largest IT rental stock in Europe. It has also offered to buy partners’ unsold stock to give them liquidity to stay afloat during the current crisis. Partners can then lease back a base stock of equipment or rent the exact kit needed for each specific deal.

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TechnologyReseller: 2021