How to Run a Rental Business During an Economic Downturn

There are times when all rental business owners must face adversity. However, there is a major difference between running a rental business when everything is generally okay and running one during an...

There are times when all rental business owners must face adversity. However, there is a major difference between running a rental business when everything is generally okay and running one during an economic downturn. It can be a stressful time not only for business owners but also for their employees, who are expected to push nonstop to deliver.

As we are on the brink of economic uncertainty for the second time in just two years, rental business owners are looking for answers. This blog post aims to provide you with some insights that you can start to plan. After seeing how Booqable’s customers weathered the last time of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, there are some key takeaways to gain insight from.

1. Customers are your #1 priority

You should be focussing on adding value for your customers, as they will rely on you more during times of economic stress. Their pockets are just as tight as yours, and purchasing things will be harder. This is where, as a rental business owner, you can step up and support your customers by providing extra value and a more personal experience that meets their needs.

If you’re not sure how you can help your customers, then you should ask them what they need right now. You can send out emails or post on social media to gauge what you can best offer your customers. Staying connected and letting customers guide your strategy during this time ensures you’re providing the products and services people will continue to want.

2. Streamline your processes

As a rental business grows, the processes that used to work in the beginning can become bloated and confusing. You might be sticking to it because it works for you, but it could be holding you back from working more efficiently.

For example, if your pick-up workflow involves a lot of manual tasks, you can only serve a certain number of customers. If you can reduce these tasks, you can serve more customers in the same amount of time.

There are many areas within a rental operation where tasks can be prioritized for effectiveness and impact. It can be hard to break out of habits, but you could do more damage to your business than good. Talk to your team and find out what the friction points in your rental business are and what you can do to improve and streamline these actions.

3. Work with local businesses

During times of economic downturn, it’s critical for you to work with and support partners that you can rely on. Not only does this help your business and their own, but it also helps to stimulate your local economy.

For example, if you own a bike rental business, you could partner with local tour providers.

The result is that they can sell a benefit to their customers, and your audience expands beyond what you’d normally see. These types of partnerships are crucial to keeping local businesses operational during these uncertain times. Plus, the best part is that both your customers get a better deal from the partnership than they would’ve before.

4. Keep your finger on the pulse

This is something you should be doing anyway, but it is especially important as you navigate trying times. You should always be looking at what is happening with other companies in your niche and be able to anticipate what could be next for your own rental business. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and solve problems before they begin to cause issues.

You can do this by reading headlines or speaking to other rental business owners and seeing what’s happening with them. Gaining an insight into the errors they made or how they’re responding to the situation could be what helps you maintain your operation. After all, you’re not going to be the only business in your niche facing similar obstacles to overcome.

5. Always have a contingency

It is important for you to have contingencies in place in case the worst does happen. You can’t rely on just one stream of business or type of customer to keep you going. So, as mentioned earlier, you should brainstorm what else you can be offering customers during this time. This can be organic to your own business or a complete pivot, as some businesses must do.

All businesses in times like these need to be flexible and creative with their business plan. It is also key to remember that you shouldn’t put yourself in a situation where one product, customer, or location is central to your business’s survival. So, start thinking about other products and services you can offer which are in demand, doable, and profitable.

Time for action

It’s hard to know what exactly we’ll have to face over the coming weeks. Prices of gas, groceries, and energy have already seen huge increases, and this will have a lasting effect on businesses and their customers. However, if you can acknowledge this uncertainty and navigate it, then now is the time to act and allow your business to continue thriving.

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