How to start your Dress Rental Business in UK USA (Business plan)

Dress Rental Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start a Dress Rental Business?
  • How much does it cost to start a Dress Rental Business?
  • How to find the best location to open a Dress Rental Business?
  • How can I make my Dress Rental Business profitable?


In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Dress Rental Business?

With a global market value of around USD 1.3 Billion and growing at a CAGR of 9.7% during the forecast period, Dress Rental is a business you need to start.


Starting a dress rental business can be an exciting and rewarding venture. With the growing trend of sustainable fashion and the rising popularity of special occasion events, there has never been a better time to enter this industry. 


However, launching a successful dress rental business requires careful planning, market research, and strategic execution. From identifying your target audience to sourcing inventory and marketing your services, you must take several vital steps to ensure your business is set up for success.


This article will discuss the essential elements you need to know to start your dress rental business and how to position yourself for growth in this competitive market.

Market Insight: In the UK, Dress Rental industry was valued at £615.4 million in 2020. While in the US, this market was valued at over $2.5 billion in 2020.

Dress Rental Business

Types of Dress Rental Business models

Dress rental businesses have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a more sustainable and affordable alternative to buying expensive formalwear.


There are several types of dress rental business models, including:


  • Subscription-based model: 
    Customers pay a monthly or yearly fee to access a certain number of monthly dress rentals. This model is popular among customers who need to attend frequent events or weddings.
  • Event-based model: 
    Customers rent dresses for specific events, such as weddings, proms, or black-tie events. This model is famous for one-time occasions and usually charges a flat fee for the rental.
  • Peer-to-peer model: 
    In this model, individuals can rent out their dresses to others through an online platform. The platform takes a commission on rental and provides insurance to both the owner and renter.
  • Hybrid model: 
    Some dress rental businesses offer both subscription-based and event-based options. This allows customers to choose the best model for their needs.
  • Customized rental model: 
    Some dress rental businesses allow customers to customize their rentals. This can include size, color, and design for a more personalized experience.

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Dress Rental Business

Pros and Cons of a Dress Rental Business 

Pros of a Dress Rental Business include:

  • One-time investment in buying products
  • You can start with less investment 
  • You can choose an option to run this business from home
  • Be your own boss
  • It is easy to get customers from the local community
  • You easily get referrals and repeat customers
  • You generally meet happy customers as they are excited about an upcoming function

Cons of a Dress Rental Business include:

  • Branded clothes cost high
  • More competitors as it is easy to start the business from home
  • A few expensive clothes get out of fashion
  • Clothes life decreases day by day
  • Sometimes it is difficult to remove stains
  • Finding the right supplier is sometimes difficult
  • Sometimes clothes can be torn or lost

Investment required for your Dress Rental Business

The investment required to start a Dress Rental Business can vary depending on many factors, such as the size and location of the company, the type of equipment and supplies needed, and the labor cost.


The average cost to open a small-scale Dress Rental Business in the US can range from $1K – $20K. While in the UK, the average costs ranges from £1K to £10K.


Some Common Expenses in running a Dress Rental Business include:


  • Rent or mortgage payments for the building or space
  • Raw Materials
  • Employee wages and benefits
  • Insurance
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Maintenance and repairs for equipment and the building
  • Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet
  • Point of sale systems and software
  • Professional services such as accounting and legal fees.

TIP: In the fashion world, there are two seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Spring/Summer begins in January and ends in June. Fall/Winter picks up in July and runs through December.

Seasonal clothing is different from fashion’s calendar pattern. You might walk into a store during the Summer and notice that some stores are already set up with scarves, and sweaters. And when it’s mid-season of Spring/Summer you should be finalizing and close to receiving your Fall/Winter collection.

Dress Rental Business

How much will you make as a Dress Rental Business?

Estimating earnings in the Dress Rental Business with more information about the specific company, such as location, target market, and competition, is more accessible. 


Factors such as overhead costs, sales volume, and pricing will all play a role in determining earnings.


The average small-scale Dress Rental Business in the US can generate revenue of around $100K annuallywhile in the UK, it can be around £50K per year, with a profit margin of about 5%- 20% every year.

How much should you charge the customer?

Most customers are willing to spend up to $200-$250 for a rental; buying an expensive dress can be 5-6 times that cost.


If you’re charging less per rental, you could be pushed out of the market quickly. So, you have to focus on building profit through high-volume sales. 


You also need to review your prices if the cost of dry cleaning, repairs, etc, has increased.

Market Insight: In the year 2022, one of the biggest Dress Rental Businesses in the world, Nully, had an annual revenue of around $27 million.

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Dress Rental Business

Pick your Niche!

It’s essential to identify your niche and stick to it. This will help you to create a product line that resonates with your target market and build a solid brand. 


Remember that as appealing as it may be to try to be everything to everyone, the best business have a much-defined niche and stay in that niche.


Here are a few examples of successful dress rental businesses that operate in different niches:

  • Armoire
  • Rent the Runway
  • Nuuly
  • Vince Unfold

Here are some niches to consider when renting your dresses :

  • Bridal and wedding party dresses
  • Formal and cocktail dresses
  • Plus size dresses
  • Designer dresses
  • Maternity dresses
  • Costume dresses
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly dresses

And even within those niches, you can pick a variety of clothing products you can rent out including:

  • Short sleeve shirts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Pants
  • Blazer Suits
  • Lingerie
  • Ties
  • Belts

TIP: Have the right target market for your business. It’s important to figure out your ideal customer. When you’re working towards establishing your business, fashion makes things both easier and harder at the same time.

Dress Rental Business

Strategies to grow your Dress Rental Business!

As a Dress Rental Business, you must set up marketing strategies to grow your business. Some of those ways are: 


1. Expand the dress collection:
Offer a wide range of dresses that cater to different tastes, body types, and occasions. 

This will attract a diverse customer base and keep them coming back for more.


2. Build an online presence:
Create a website and social media profiles to showcase the dress collection and attract customers. 

Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to rank the website high on search engines.


3. Collaborate with influencers:
Partner with fashion bloggers, influencers, and celebrities to promote the dress rental business.

This will help to build brand awareness and attract new customers.


4. Offer discounts and promotions:
Offer discounts, referral programs, and other promotions to incentivize customers to rent more dresses.


5. Provide excellent customer service:
Ensure that customers have a great experience renting dresses from the business. 

Provide helpful advice, answer questions promptly, and provide support throughout the rental process.


6. Attend events:
Attend fashion shows, weddings, and other events to showcase the dress collection and connect with potential customers.


7. Offer customization:
Consider offering customization options for dresses, such as hemming or alterations, to provide a more personalized experience for customers.

Trends and Challenges in a Dress Rental Business

Trends in the Dress Rental Business

1. Eco-friendly and sustainable clothing
2. Offering customization options
3. Niches, such as maternity wear, plus-size clothing, or sustainable fashion
4. Subscription-based dress rental models
5. Wide range of sizes and styles to cater to diverse customers.

Challenges in the Dress Rental Business

1. Inventory management
2. Ensuring that dresses fit properly can be a challenge
3. Highly competitive
4. Dresses should be in good condition and and of high quality
5. Customer service

Dress Rental Business

Licences needed for a Dress Rental Business

While essential licenses such as Business Licence, Health and Safety regulations, and Sales Tax Permits apply to almost all businesses (To read more about the licenses, ‘Click Here to read our Mini Guide’). 


Some specific licenses and permits might be needed to open a Dress Rental Business in the UK and the US. Those licenses are as follows:


1. Premises license:
If the dress rental business operates from a physical location, it may need to obtain a premises license from the local authority.


2. Music license:
If the business plays music, it may need to obtain a license from the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and the Performing Rights Society (PRS).


3. VAT registration:
If the business’s turnover exceeds a certain threshold, it needs to register for Value Added Tax (VAT).


4. Data protection:
If the business collects and processes personal data, it must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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Find a good location for your Dress Rental Business

Tips on finding a good location for your Dress Rental Business:


  • Look for areas with a high concentration of your target market. 
  • Look for places that are easily accessible and have a high volume of people passing by. 
  • Look for areas with few direct competitors or where your brand can differentiate.
  • Look for locations with reasonable rent and other expenses, such as utilities and taxes.
  • Look for places that align with your brand’s image and will help to attract your target market.
  • It’s essential to consider the online presence of the location. 
  • Look for locations that are easily accessible by car, public transportation, and foot. 
  • Look for places that are being developed or are likely to be developed in the future. 


A good location will determine whether your business will succeed in the future. A perfect place with your trendy clothing line will always bring profits to your business in the future. 

Dress Rental Business

Shall I go for a Dress Rental Franchise?

Buying an existing Dress Rental Franchise of a recognized brand is a good idea; however, it is expensive also.

On the other hand, the franchisor will benefit you will all the existing brand image, customer loyalty, advertising, market research & strategies.

In addition, you will get guidance from the franchisor about training the workforce & ambiance of the premises. 

Some of the top Dress Rental Franchises in the UK and USA:


  • One Night Stand
  • Girl Meets Dress
  • Dream Dresser
  • Designer Desirables
  • Wish Want Wear

  • Rent the Runway
  • The Black Tux
  • Vow to be Chic
  • Union Station
  • Brideside


In conclusion, starting a Dress Rental Business in the UK and the US can be rewarding and profitable. However, conducting thorough market research, creating a solid business plan, and securing the necessary funding is crucial. 

It is crucial to find the right location, choose the right equipment and suppliers, and create a unique and inviting atmosphere for customers. 

Following these steps, you can set your Dress Rental Business up for success and build a business that customers will love for years.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Style Theory: Their multimillion-dollar app is saving clothing from the landfill | CNBC Make It – YT Channel ‘CNBC International’

Inside The Booming Business Of Clothing Rental | TODAY – YT Channel ‘TODAY’

A. It’s important to consider your target market and the types of events they attend when selecting dresses for your rental business. Some common options include formal dresses for weddings and proms, cocktail dresses for parties, and costume rentals for themed events.

A. Pricing for dress rentals can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the dresses, the demand for certain styles, and the rental duration. Research your competitors to see what they are charging and adjust your prices accordingly.

A. It’s important to have a cleaning and maintenance plan in place to ensure that dresses are cleaned and ready for the next rental. Consider partnering with a professional dry cleaner or investing in cleaning equipment for in-house cleaning.

A. Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to showcase your dresses and engage with potential customers. You can also attend local events such as bridal shows and networking events to promote your business.

A. Here are a few well-known Dress Rental Businesses in the UK:

  • One Night Stand
  • Girl Meets Dress
  • Dream Dresser
  • Designer Desirables
  • Wish Want Wear

A. Here are a few well-known Dress Rental Businesses in the US:

  • Rent the Runway
  • The Black Tux
  • Vow to be Chic
  • Union Station
  • Brideside
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