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1800Wheelchair enters shared economy space

1800Wheelchair enters shared economy space

NEW YORK - 1800Wheelchair has answered the calls of customers—literally—and launched, a new service that allows customers to rent Featherchair lightweight wheelchairs, power chairs and scooters. 

"We get around 500 phone calls a day and one of the top requests people have is, ‘I’m in rehab or I’m traveling, I need something for a short period of time,’” said Joseph Piekarski, CEO. 

Loopt, a Toronto-based, e-commerce platform that provides companies with the technology and logistics necessary to run their own, fully branded, rental subscription services, approached Piekarski with the idea. 

Initially, Piekarski was skeptical of how the concept could apply to the mobility business. 

“I said, ‘Yeah, but who’s going to clean it?’ It’s not like renting a dress that's very easy to ship. It's a wheelchair,” said Piekarski. “And basically (Loopt) says, ‘Don't worry, we’ll clean the wheelchairs for you, we’re going to create a box for it, and we're going to do all the back-end stuff for you. All you have to do is put a button on your site that says, ‘Rental.’” 

The nationwide program allows customers to rent and return Featherweight wheelchairs from anywhere in the continental U.S. for one, two or three months. Once they’re finished, they simply pack the chair in the wheelchair bag it was delivered in, attach a prepaid shipping label that’s included in the box, and drop it off at the closest FedEx location. They can also extend their rental or buy their Featherchair. 

“The shared economy space is a very new industry, and we can bring this shared economy into the retail aspect of DME,” said Piekarski. “If people say, ‘I want to rent a patient lift or a hospital bed,’ we’ll reach out to Loopt and see if they're willing to do the same thing for other products. If it's a successful program then we’ll do more, but right now, we're just testing it with our superstar products that are built for travel.”


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