I'm looking to connect with someone to learn more about the rental equipment industry. Small business experience not necessary.
Tim: In the construction industry we are all about renting equipment. We have sales guys constantly at the job sites asking what we need and getting it for us. The industry takes a "can do" friendly personality. For experience get a sales position with a rental company. If you want to start your own business begin finding used equipment at good prices, fix it up, paint it, maintain it, and rent it out. Beat the going rates to take business from your competitors. Once you have the business the loyalty kicks in. But you are only as good as your last rental. It's all about customer service. Those doing the renting are only loyal until you unable to fulfill their request or you drop the ball with a missed delivery or pickup.
You'll need to find a good mechanic to repair whatever equipment you rent. Most guys in that industry move around quite a bit until they find a company they like with people they enjoy working with.
Benchmark area prices, and beat them slightly. Slight enough to give you an edge and still make money to eat and pay the bills. This may not be possible due to them renting stuff that's 10 years old, and you having to buy new equipment.
Buy good quality tools / equipment to rent. They will last longer, break less, and thus keep your operating costs lower.
Always require a credit card deposit, and charge it for the replacement cost, then return it less the rental fees when they return the equipment. No checks (boing boing boing).
Trust is earned, not given. Don't accept hard luck stories - they are a pathway for someone to walk away with your equipment and investment.
Take care of your equipment. Make your policy clear - return it in the same condition you rented it, or charge a cleaning fee. The cleaning fee should be based on the time it will take you to get it looking good enough to rent again - if that's an hour, charge $50 for the hour. Be reasonable, but don't be a door mat.
Perform regular maintenance (oil changes, blade sharpening, greasing) on the equipment to keep it in top running condition.
Sell off worn equipment.
Maintain ALL safety devices in good condition.
Offer safety gear (gloves, hearing protection, safety glasses) as point of sale add ons for a slight upcharge to your cost and shipping.
Greet every customer - people are afraid to ask questions. All you have to do is say "Hi, can I help you" and you're more likely to make a sale.
Update your rental gear, selling off the older stuff when it makes business sense.
Good luck. I left a career in retail and went into the utility industry. Some of these tips are from friends who have been in or are still in the business.
In my last position I managed our United Rentals national account. If you would like, connect with me on LI. I can introduce you to some folks at UR if you would like or just have a conversation on rentals.
Thanks, George. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this with me!
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