4 Ways to Deal with Difficult Rental Customers (and How to Avoid Them)

Author: Nathan Crossley December 22, 2022 · 4 Min read
4 Ways to Deal with Difficult Rental Customers (and How to Avoid Them)

You want to accept all rental customers when starting a new rental business, but you’ll soon run into difficult ones. Of course, as a beginner, you don’t want to turn anyone away, and it can be challenging to know how. However, something you’ll learn as you grow your business is that not all people are worth interacting with just because they’ll bring money in.

Every day you’ll come across difficult people in daily life, but as a rental business owner, you’ll likely see more than your fair share. You’ve probably had customers who want to pay as little as possible, complain about nothing, or demand a refund for the slightest issue. So, how can you deal with difficult customers, and what can you do to avoid them?

Identifying potentially difficult customers

As a beginner to rentals, it can be challenging to know what signs to look out for that someone is likely to be difficult. Oftentimes, they may not rear their ugly head until after you’ve handed over your rental products. Nevertheless, there are certain types of people you can look out for and screen early on, so you don’t have to waste your energy dealing with stressful customers.

Here are a couple of examples.

The ones who always want a discount

There’s certainly nothing wrong with shopping around for the best deal. After all, who doesn’t love a bargain? However, the types of people we’re talking about here are the ones who demand the best price and will say anything to get a discount. Whether before they make a booking or after they return your products because they want to pay as little as possible.

This is a huge red flag; if you can catch it before they make a booking, you can save yourself much stress down the road. The best way to deal with them is to be firm with your pricing and direct them elsewhere if they don’t back down upon your refusal. Of course, offering a discount is not a problem once you’ve built a relationship, but be cautious of those who demand them.

The ones who always find something to complain about

The more dangerous type of people for your business and mental health are those who complain about anything and everything. These people will try to undermine you and micromanage how you run your business. This can come in many forms, like constantly making revisions, asking endless questions, and demanding you do things their way.

Often, the kind of people that display this behavior have no margin for error and can be stressful to deal with. They will find the most minor issue to nitpick and demand a refund or leave an unfavorable review. You need to avoid feeding into this neediness and set clear boundaries. It can also be good to set clear expectations on all forms of communication.

4 ways to deal with difficult rental customers

How you deal with difficult customers will depend on the type of rental business you run and how you offer your services. That being said, there are a few tried and tested ways to deal with them and reduce the amount of stress they can cause you. These are especially important when dealing with customers who may threaten to disparage your business.

1. Always take photos before hand-off

Whether you rent out bikes, cameras, or event decor, it can be wise to take photos beforehand. This not only allows you to take a snapshot of the condition of your products but also gives you peace of mind that you have recourse if a customer does make a complaint. It is important to timestamp these images as a typical retort is that you took the photo on a different date.

2. Get signatures from your customers

It is also essential to get a signature from your customer when you hand over products. This confirms that they received everything in good order and accept the cost of any damages. Not only does this give you proof from the customer, but it can often deter complaints. After all, they themselves signed off on it, so they have to be held up to their own standards.

3. Create an airtight contract

Along with getting signatures from customers upon receipt of rental products, you should also have them sign a contract when confirming a booking. Within the contract, you should make expectations concise and clear, leaving no room for misunderstanding. These contracts are particularly important when dealing with high-value products.

4. Set clear boundaries

One of the most practical ways to deal with difficult customers is to set clear boundaries. These should be a brief list of what the customer can expect and how your interactions will proceed. It may sound uncomfortable, but keep communication to a minimum. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile, and you’ll have to deal with their neediness going forward.

Dealing with demanding customers

Not everyone you come across will be your ideal customer, so it’s important to know how to deal with difficult ones. Whether that be being firm on pricing, setting clear boundaries, or taking precautions. Of course, you can always turn them away if you don’t feel like dealing with them, and you can afford to miss out on their business in exchange for peace of mind.

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