When starting an event rental business, it can be easy to be naive and expect every customer to pay. However, the truth is that some people will try to take advantage of you and use any excuse not to pay. As a business owner, it’s frustrating as it affects your bottom line, and it can be challenging to do anything about it, especially when they’re ignoring calls and emails.
So, what can you do to ensure that your customers always pay? Well, there are a few ways to protect yourself before you even get to the point where not paying becomes an option. These are also sound party rental business practices that you should be doing anyway to create a better rental experience for both your customers and your business.
How to make sure customers pay for party rentals
There are many things you can do to protect your event rental business when customers make a booking. This starts with the information you share on your website and continues with providing payment options, having customers sign contracts, and ending with doing a good job and providing excellent customer service. So, let’s break it down.
1. Make your details of payment very clear
First, you should do is make your details of payment clear at every touch point during your customers’ rental experience. The most obvious place this should be is on your website. Ideally, these details will be included on every product page, as well as a dedicated page for terms of service. It’s important not to make the details too complicated as you want them to be read.
Some other touch points where it is essential to include your details of payment could be on quotes, invoices, and any other documents you send to customers, as well as any emails you send them. This will ensure that customers are fully aware of your terms and leaves no room for excuses about misunderstanding and not noticing since you’ve put them everywhere.
2. Create a solid rental agreement
It may seem daunting, but creating a solid rental agreement should be a priority for any party rental business. Contracts allow you to clarify what customers can expect from your business and what you expect from your customers. Without a solid rental agreement, you leave room for people to take advantage of you regarding payments, cancellations, and returns.
Your rental agreement should include a brief overview of the parties involved, including specific details like an address. Next, you should describe your payment terms, including consequences for late returns, repairs, etc. If you offer delivery, pickups, or returns, you should clearly define who is responsible. Finally, you need to clarify what happens in the case of loss, damages, cancellations, and other changes.
Note: You should always have a lawyer check over agreements like this to ensure they are legally enforceable.
3. Take payments in advance
It may seem obvious, but the easiest way to ensure customers pay for their rentals is by taking payments in advance. However, this can take many forms, and you need to decide which way is best for your business. Typically, if your rentals are high-value, you should take a security deposit when customers make a booking to cover expenses when damages or losses occur.
For lower-cost rentals, though, you can choose to take full payment in advance. This allows you to get paid and avoid troubles when the products are returned. In addition, if you take a security deposit, you should also ask customers pay the remaining amount at the start of the rental period.
4. Make it easy for customers to pay
Making it easy for your customers to pay for their rentals depends on how you choose to accept payments. If you take bank transfers, you should give clear instructions with your payment details, amount, and when you expect a payment to be made. Although, this can be difficult and leaves room for errors to be made on the customer’s part, leaving you to chase payment.
The best way to make it easy for customers to pay is by providing them with an online payment portal. This can come in many forms, like a payment form at the checkout when customers make a booking online. If you require a longer process, you can choose to send payment links that can be generated in your rental software or by your payment provider.
5. Provide excellent customer service
Finally, this should always be the case away but providing excellent customer service is a must for making sure you get paid. Unscrupulous customers will use any excuse not to pay, so any small concession on your part may put you at risk. This is why it is essential to deliver a flawless experience that gives customers nothing to complain about.
For party rentals, this could mean being prepared for customers to pick up their items, delivering them on time, giving customers clear instructions for setting up, and being generally helpful. This will help to ensure no excuses can be made and also give your business an excellent reputation for customer service. This is especially important for growing your rental business.
What to do if customers refuse to pay
If you take the above steps, there should be no reason for customers not to pay. You’ve clarified your payment terms, given them plenty of payment options, and provided excellent customer service. Of course, there will be some people who are determined not to pay by any means possible, even with these measures, but they should be few and far between.
If a customer refuses to pay and is unresponsive, you should send them reminders by phone and email. Try not to threat too much, especially if it’s not a massive amount. You did everything possible by providing exemplary service and reaching out to them. It’s not worth wasting your time and energy when you could use it to get more customers.
If you do find it happening too often, you can tighten up your payment terms and make sure everyone pays in advance to avoid non-payment. You can also choose to cancel a booking if a customer refuses to pay.