I recently bought some rural property, something my wife and I had always wanted. During the process I needed to rent an open U-Haul Trailer for about $35 per day. I had to get some furniture and things moved over and I thought I would probably only need it for about a day or 2. But as things go, that stretched out to about 4 or 5 days. Then, a few weeks later, I found myself in need again, tis time to haul away some trash, and remove and relocate some other items from the property. I went back to the same place, got the same trailer for the same 35 bucks a day. This time, I had the trailer for about 7 days. Two weeks after that, I needed the trailer, yet again (This was a BIG project!) This time I was sure I’d only need it for about 5 days… but that ended up being an 11 day rental!
So in about 6 weeks’ time, I racked up about $800 in rental fees for this trailer. And of course, people I knew started to tell me, “Dude, you could BUY one just like it for about $2,000!”
But each time I heard that, I thought to myself, “But I don’t want to buy one.” They said, “Yeah, but for another $1200, you could — — “and I said “Do you know how many OTHER places I can put that $1200, because I’m NOT gonna use it to buy that trailer? Before I knows it, I’d be buying tires and doing trailer maintenance and needing a place to store it, and frankly, I DIDN’T WANT TO SPEND ANOTHER $1200 to buy a trailer even though- for sure – I’m going to need it again in the near future. I’d rather rent it!”
So, there were several factors involved in my decision NOT to purchase. And here’s my main point:
SOMETIMES, RENTING IS A VERY GOOD OPTION from the customer’s standpoint.
Now, that being said, let me flip it around. I’ve been involved in a rental business in the past. In this business, we manufactured sold and RENTED giant advertising inflatables (gigantic balloons) for sales promotions and grand openings. Here’s a quick simplified breakdown of how it worked:
RENTING can be a REALLY GOOD THING from the standpoint of the company that’s making rental items available.
Recap: Good for the Customer. Good for the Business.
So, the challenge for today’s discussion (especially within the sign and print industry) is to look at rentals as an overlooked sales opportunity within companies that normally offer only goods and services. Before you dismiss the idea, let’s take a moment to list some other companies that have made a fortune in rentals.
- RedBox – stemming from the obsolete Blockbuster Video model, now going by the wayside due to new content delivery methods, but still had a huge run.
- Uber – Essentially “Renting a Ride”
- Parking Spaces – BIG rental $!
- Solar Panels to replace your electric bill
- Bicycles and Scooters in tourist areas
- GOAT HERDS for weed abatement!
Relative to our own industry, to quote David Schiller with DVC in Orange County, CA, “Our rental department revenues are going through the roof! People are renting our frames, our graphics and almost all of our visual displays for special events and trade shows.”
The reasoning is that some companies are constantly changing either their messaging, or the location of that messaging, or perhaps they’re implementing time-sensitive promotions, or seasonal endeavors. Purchasing and keeping visual displays later means transportation expenses and storage costs, and then inventory management, etc., often times for messaging that will never again be able to be used.
In these cases RENTING MAKES SENSE.
Renting lowers the barrier of entry, by giving potential purchasers a chance to “see if they like it”, in essence giving vendors a chance to “put their money where their mouths are”. (You can now sleep on a mattress for 100 DAYS to see if you really like it!)
Here’s another example from the sign industry: A friend of ours Cary Doll w/Shade Graphix, Inc., is putting together a plan for restaurant chains whereby the restaurant (without ever purchasing any printing, frames, or installations) can “rent” any number of matching changeable displays in each of their restaurants, to include a certain number of change-outs over a year’s time, for a low monthly rental rate, which works out to a ridiculously low daily/hourly rate.
If you’re reading this – challenge yourself. Ask the question “IS there something that I do, or own, or sell — or that I could get my hands on– that people would use on a temporary basis, and be would be glad to pay a rental fee in the process?”
For a more in-depth discussion and other examples, check out the Signs of Success Podcast, Episode: 5