The Ultimate Guide to Rental Inventory Management in 2020
Great rental management is possible only with successful inventory management. Here's our guide to managing and tracking rental inventory in...
In today’s world with endless options and high expectations, flexibility remains the one competitive advantage for many party rental businesses. But how do you embrace flexibility when you’re carrying an inventory with thousands of party items, ranging from tableware and furniture to wedding decor and tents?
With so many moving pieces, it’s challenging to provide customers with swift estimates and avoid planning conflicts. Not to mention the fact that things become even more complicated when customers start requesting changes. As you’re dealing with one Bridezilla after another, the stakes have never been higher to stay versatile and keep up with changing minds. That’s where party rental software can help.
Successful business owners know their party rental inventory like the back of their hand. Imagine receiving a new request, and you’re not sure what’s in stock, or how many items are available for a particular date. Without this knowledge, it’s nearly impossible to inform your customers and give pricing estimates.
A decade ago, spreadsheets were the status quo for organizing and managing rental inventory. Today, most party rental companies use rental software to classify and track equipment. The reason is pretty straightforward: your inventory list should include data like product images, quantities, SKUs, and other identifiers that help you keep track. The goal is to give employees one source of truth—an overview they can rely on when they’re packing for the next event. As you’re starting a party rental business, spreadsheets get the job done. But as you grow, they don’t scale that well.
Another reason to use party rental software is that you’re partially responsible for bringing your customers’ events to life. And to make the right promises, you need a workspace that helps you understand the whereabouts of your party items. Without this overview, response times increase, and team communication gets tricky. You’ll be surprised by how much the right insights can boost productivity across your team.
It’s no surprise: Tracking orders becomes complex as you take on more customers. That’s why many party rental companies struggle to connect the dots as business starts picking up. With constant adjustments to orders, and employees making changes at the same time, the dangers of overbooking are right around the corner.
Just picture missing one critical item, only to find out you’ve reserved more equipment than you had available. This problem might cause you to look bad in front of customers and could affect your company’s reputation. Also, remember that overbooking disrupts your team’s workflow, which harms workplace culture and overall productivity.
Employees should be able to work on multiple orders simultaneously, without having to worry about double bookings. As events get planned, make sure to have real-time information about your products, so your team knows which party items are available and whether they need to find workarounds for shortages. Reducing guesswork to a minimum is key.
When it comes to keeping your customers in the loop, flexibility is equally important. Your team thrives when they can communicate effectively, and customers can expect an answer the same day (within reason, of course). Email communication should be as streamlined as possible, as estimates sometimes go back and forth over ten times.
For many party rental businesses, integrated messaging and email templates are a requirement in rental software. Most companies switch from spreadsheets to something more fitting as they grow tired of switching between programs and having to compose each message individually. Whether your team is generating quotes, invoices, or agreements, they should be able to send them out quickly.
Most party rental systems let you build custom templates to communicate more efficiently. You’d want to use them to inform customers about changes, confirm orders, and request payments. Even though templates are a time-saver for routine tasks, some party rental solutions take automation one step further by automatically calculating prices and letting you track payments.
It’s 2019. Consumers are shopping online and want to check out your collection at their own pace. They want to evaluate multiple vendors and reach out when everything feels right. That’s where traditional PDF catalogs and generic product images fall short. There are too many obstacles to request a quote.
Whether you’re an established company or starting a party rental business, almost all of them struggle with request forms and substandard experiences on their website. Many teams will look for rental software or inventory management systems to centralize information about inventory, orders, and customers, but forget to consider the experience customers have on the web. It’s a shame because tools like WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, and WooCommerce, make a proper rental website more accessible than ever.
Ideally, customers should be able to browse your collection, learn about pricing, and design a wishlist. There’s no need to display product availability and complicated pricing structures—all you want is for customers to make a selection and request a quote. Displaying high-resolution images, engaging product descriptions, and pricing indications should be sufficient.
Modern party rental businesses are seeing great value in creating simple, straightforward online rental experiences and bringing everything together in one rental management system. Using one platform to process inquiries and manage inventory gives your employees—and your whole organization—the best chance of success, no matter how many requests you get.