More and more companies are seeing the benefits of renting the equipment they need rather than buying it. Obviously, this is great news for the industry, but the rise in popularity also means rental companies are faced with more challenges.
In this blog, we discuss some of the common challenges faced by rental companies, like yours, and how you can overcome them.
- Managing complex reservations and pricing models
- Monitoring equipment availability
- Processing equipment returns
- Keeping up with equipment maintenance history
- Tracking equipment utilisation
- Delivering excellent customer service consistently
1. Managing complex reservations and pricing models
Managing bookings and equipment fall under ‘everyday logistics’ for equipment rental companies. However, staying organised can easily be outpaced by customer demands - especially as the rental industry is booming in popularity and most companies still favour manual methods of organisation, such as Excel spreadsheets.
Let’s talk about those much-favoured manual methods of managing bookings for a moment. You might have a smart spreadsheet set up, complete with fancy templates. You or a member of your team might even be a ‘spreadsheet whiz’.
But no matter how sophisticated your spreadsheets and how Excel-savvy you are, human errors are inescapable. There’s always the risk of incorrectly entering a date or forgetting to update one cell for example, and not realising it. It can be even trickier to manage if it’s an unconventional booking - such as one under a bespoke pricing model or service plan.
Consider using an automated online system that:
- Consolidates information into one easy-to-access dashboard so it’s easier to manage bookings, find pricing information (bespoke or otherwise) and inventory in one place
- Allows cross-team collaboration - e.g. employees from different departments sharing task schedules, notes and updates, which boosts productivity
- Allows you to gain an overview of all your equipment, such as when rental periods start, finish and when maintenance is required, so project planning is easier
- Makes it easy to customise bookings e.g. offering add-ons for customers can build their ideal package
2. Monitoring equipment availability
Part of managing bookings involves being able to correctly track equipment availability. Otherwise how would you know which equipment is available and when? You don’t want to double-book and end up disappointing at least one customer (which impacts your customer service and satisfaction).
Again, manually tracking this aspect isn’t the answer. It’s too easy to accidentally input incorrect data or forget to update something. This can make it difficult to properly monitor equipment availability.
An online system that:
- Consolidates information into an accessible and shareable dashboard
- Keeps track of all your equipment in terms of availability, movements, location and more
- Enables you to easily monitor reservations, current and upcoming
- Makes it easy for your customers to check rentals in and out, and automatically notifies your staff so they’re also kept up to date
3. Processing equipment returns
This is another common challenge that leads on from the task of managing bookings. It’s the ability to efficiently process equipment and material returns while keeping an eye on both the quality and quantity.
When you have visibility of when your equipment has been returned, it improves your ability to monitor availability accurately. If you can’t keep track of what’s going in and out of your business, it’s difficult to know what’s available for rent. It also makes it harder for you to scale your business, as you can’t efficiently monitor utilisation.
You need to invest in technology that can…
- Make it easy for your customers to check rentals in and out
- Automatically notify your staff when equipment has been checked in/out so
- Prompt your staff to take next best actions if equipment has been returned (e.g. maintenance checks)
- Keep track of your equipment in terms of availability and maintenance
4. Keeping up with equipment maintenance history
Whatever the type of equipment your company specialises in, the same rule stands. You need to maintain your equipment, it’s most cost-effective for you as it maximises the life of your assets but will also help with customer experience
Offering ‘state-of-the-art’ gear is great but you also need to consider the condition. Well maintained equipment sets you apart from the competition And helps to keep your customer satisfaction high, which can be helpful in generating more business, from existing customers or new ones who are referred to you. So think about this, would customers be more likely to leave you a positive review and spread good word about your company if you provided them with high quality, well-maintained equipment or shabby equipment? We both know the answer to that question.
- Technology that keeps track of all your equipment, not just in terms of availability and rental status but also service, maintenance and repairs history
- Technology that consolidates all of the above in one location
- Training your staff to take a proactive stance when it comes to equipment maintenance e.g. knowing when equipment should be serviced and when it has reached its end of life
5. Tracking equipment utilisation
Knowing how often certain pieces of equipment are rented out can indicate their popularity. This can help you decide whether to invest in more (or fewer) assets, indicate which equipment will require more maintenance (or less), expand into new markets and more.
Not being able to efficiently track equipment utilisation is often a challenge for the industry, which can make it difficult for you to expand your business.
Technology can help you gain more insight into your business (including equipment utilisation) and the market. Then it’s easier to make more informed decisions. Here are some benefits technology can offer:
- Project planning - so you can easily see when one rental period finishes and another begins
- Inventory management - so you can keep track of your equipment from availability to location
- Information consolidation - customisable dashboards that display the key information you and your teams want to see
6. Delivering an excellent customer service
Customer demands are always evolving, whether it’s based on changes in the market or their personal goals. Either way, you must be able to stay ahead of this if you’re to beat the competition.
This is even more of a pressing issue, now that the rental market is becoming more and more popular. It’s not just your obvious/long-time competitors you need to watch out for either - smaller companies can pop up, offering new ways to rent and lease equipment that might just send your customers their way rather than yours.
Make sure you’re always delivering an excellent, memorable customer service by keeping your customers at the heart of everything your company does.
- A friction-free booking experience - from booking a rental to returning it, your customers want ease and simplicity, so make sure they get it. For example, allow your customers to view your equipment availability in real-time, the chance to customise their bookings and be able to book on any device at any time
- Ask for feedback and act on it - always follow up with your customers, asking them to rate their experience. And when you have this feedback, make sure you implement it as best you can so your customers feel valued
- Stay in touch by continuously providing value - if your customers give permission for you to send them marketing materials, use this chance to only provide them with relevant and valuable content. It’s about always providing them with additional value so that you continue to build a strong relationship and ensures your brand stays at the forefront of your customer’s mind
Technology can transform your equipment rental operations
Throughout this blog, you might have spotted a recurring message. Technology is key to overcoming most of these challenges. But it’s not any old piece of tech. You need to choose the right rental solution to transform your business operations.
Our guide contains useful advice on picking the right solution, from the features you should be looking for and the questions you could ask during your search. Ready to get started? Click the button below and learn how you can pick the right equipment rental solution.