Define Your Equipment Rental Business & Its Niche To Stand Out From The Rest
As a construction equipment dealer, you know how important it is to maintain a rental fleet in addition to the sales side of your business. Equipment rental enables you to attract new customers. It enables existing customers to fill in gaps for shorter-term projects, and they can try out new machines, “interviewing” them for potential purchase. Your rental business is a profit center. But are you making the most of it?
Your construction equipment rental operation is different than the “catch-all” shop down the road, where customers can rent anything from a mower to party supplies. That difference is obvious to you. And it may be obvious to your potential customers. But then again, it may not.
The more clearly you define your equipment rental business, the more business you will do.
It’s called branding. It’s dangerous to assume your prospective customers know what you have to offer. Or why they should rent from you rather than some other construction equipment rental yard.
Your dealership is a specialist when it comes to rentals, just as you are in sales. You only stock construction machinery – and perhaps related items such as attachments, DEF trailers, etc. Within that range, however, you probably specialize further. You don’t offer every possible option. You don’t have the space, so you have to invest carefully in your rental fleet.
Your “rental identify” depends on two things:
- How you want to be perceived – this dictates which equipment you offer
- What your customers want – this informs your decisions about what to offer
Ultimately, the customer is key. You can’t make money if you don’t have the machines they need most. A rental fleet that isn’t working is costing you money instead of earning it. The only way to make cost-effective decisions is to know your customers. What work are they doing? What new work could they take on with your rental assistance?
Aside from personal conversations, it is essential to track your rental inventory and usage. There’s nothing like facts to tell an accurate story. Tracking shows you the total cost of ownership for each piece of equipment, and you can easily compare that with the machine’s earning record. Equipment that isn’t earning its keep should be sold. (This is another opportunity to connect with customers who are looking for a more affordable machine for their own fleet.)
Occasionally, you may have to make a tough decision. For example, you may be hanging on to a machine one of your most loyal customers likes to have available. But they really don’t use it often. So it’s convenient for them, but a money-loser for you. You’ll have to weigh the cost of maintaining the equipment against the potential cost of annoying your customer, should you get rid of it.
The more you promote your equipment rental business, the more business you will do.
Just because you have rentals available doesn’t mean everyone knows about it. You have to treat this as a separate – but companion – business. Rentals deserve (and require) the same attention to marketing detail as your sales and service departments. You have to communicate with existing customers and prospects about rental options and the benefits of renting. That keeps you top-of-mind when they need a machine temporarily. And it reinforces your dealership’s reputation as a full-service resource.
Emphasize the opportunity to test-drive new machines, too. It costs more than ever to purchase new construction equipment, and renting can help your customers decide whether or not to upgrade. All those new bells and whistles may sound extravagant, but once operators get to experience them first-hand, their value can become more apparent.