Billy&Sam is a newly formed IT university COOP that was launched by Yonsei University COOP in conjunction with Korea Rental Corporation in March of 2013. While ordinary university COOPs are often regarded as a place where students can easily drop by for food and stationary between classes, Billy&Sam is stocked with IT devices that can be rented. It has been established for the sake of students’ welfare and to offer long-term rentals at a reasonable price.
“With the ongoing economic recession and inflation, Yonsei University COOP contemplated student welfare in an effort to lessen students’ financial burden,” said Lim Jin-kuk, who is the team leader of Biily&Sam. “In collaboration with the Korea Rental Corporation, we opened Billy&Sam that specializes in long-term rentals of over four weeks. Currently, the long-term rental proportion accounts for 55 percent of our total sale.”
Billy&Sam maintains a wide variety of IT devices which include laptop computers, iPads, speakers, beam projects, televisions and so on. While students can rent laptops from the IT service center in their own university, they can only borrow them for a few hours or a few days at most. However, with regard to the laptop computers at Billy&Sam, students can check out the devices for a maximum period of one semester at a low rental fee, ranging from 143,000 won to 183,000 won per semester.
Since its first opening in Yonsei University on March 11, Billy&Sam has gradually been gaining popularity and students’ interest. As of now, over 1,500 rentals have taken place only at Yonsei University Billy&Sam. It is estimated that about 11 students on average visit the rental store in one day.
“Students seem very satisfied with the Billy&Sam service as it offers a variety of devices, not just laptop computers but also many others such as iPads and camcorders, at a reasonably set price,” Ahn So-hee (Yonsei University, 3) said. “Camcorders were already out of stock when I went to borrow one during the festival period.”
Currently, there are 1,119 friends on Billy&Sam’s Facebook page, by which it communicates actively with students and receives various inquiries and opinions.
“The name ‘Billy&Sam’ was actually also decided through public inquiries on Facebook for suggestions on the name of the store,” Lim said. “With the help of Facebook, we are able to interact with students on a real-time basis. From the active communication process with students, we found out that students also wished to rent out some new items such as camcorders and MacBooks. So we accepted the request and reflected them by adding these items to our stock.”
From the second semester of this year, Billy&Sam has expanded its rental service to Korea University, Kyunghee Univeristy and Sejong University. Except for the Billy&Sam in Korea University that is run in cooperation with the Korea University Student Union, the Billy&Sam at the remaining three universities all collaborate with each university’s COOP.
So far, there has been no noticeable profit that Billy&Sam could gain from providing the service as the size of the business still remains small to make enough profit.
“As Billy&Sam was initially launched as a part of an effort to promote student welfare, we set an affordable rental fee for the benefit of the students,” Lim said. “University COOPs are providing help in managing the store by lending the space to Billy&Sam for free and hardly receiving any commissions.”
Billy&Sam is constantly seeking ways to provide more aid for students by branching out to other major universities in Seoul. Students attending universities where Billy&Sam has yet to be launched are also eligible to utilize the service by visiting the Billy&Sam in the four aforementioned universities.
“We are currently contacting several other universities to discuss opening a branch of Billy&Sam,” Lim said. “We expect to open a few more stores in other universities by the beginning of next year.”
Students who wish to rent IT equipment from Billy&Sam may find further information on the Billy&Sam Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/billysaem/).