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How Rentals Can Complement Your Equipment Sales

Author: Nathan Crossley September 8, 2023 · 4 Min read
How Rentals Can Complement Your Equipment Sales

Diversifying your revenue streams is a savvy strategy for long-term success in entrepreneurship. If you own a business, you will understand the importance of finding new ways to grow and enhance your existing venture. One valuable approach is to start a rental operation that complements your existing company, whether renting out bikes at your bike store or event equipment to those who book your venue for special occasions.

Running a rental operation can be complex, but there is much transferrable knowledge if you already have experience running a company. However, you will need to familiarize yourself with the day-to-day workflow of rentals and how to manage them alongside a more traditional business. In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can identify opportunities to complement your existing business, what research you need to do, and the benefits for your business and customers.

Identifying opportunities

The first step in starting a rental operation alongside your existing one is to identify if there are opportunities to complement your core operations. You should consider how you can rent out your assets or services to enhance your customers’ experience or fulfill a need in your local market. Let’s take a look at some examples of how business owners in several industries can add rentals to their operations to grow their revenue.

  • Bike shops - If you operate a bike shop, renting out bikes alongside selling them can be a game-changer. Tourists or occasional cyclists may prefer renting to explore the area before committing to a purchase. Additionally, this can create opportunities for upselling accessories and maintenance services.

  • Hardware stores - For a hardware store, renting out tools and equipment can attract both DIY enthusiasts and professionals. Customers might find tools out of their budget, but could be able to afford to rent them, boosting your revenue.

  • Furniture stores - Furniture stores can venture into event furniture rentals, catering to individuals and businesses hosting special events. Think chairs, tables, and decor. This approach can help you tap into the lucrative event planning market.

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Research and market analysis

After identifying the complementary opportunity, you should conduct thorough market research. Understanding your target audience, assessing the demand for rental services in your niche, and analyzing your competitors is essential. Gathering insights will help you tailor your rental operation to meet the specific needs of your customers. This is the best way to see if rentals are viable before investing any significant time.

  • Competitor analysis - Study your competitors’ rental offerings. What sets you apart? Can you offer better pricing, more extensive inventory, or superior customer service?

  • Demand trends - Look beyond the current demand. Are there seasonal fluctuations in demand for rental services in your niche? Anticipating these trends will help you optimize your offerings.

  • Customer personas - Create detailed customer personas to understand your target audience better. Tailor your rental services to their specific needs and preferences.

  • Pricing strategy - Determine a competitive yet profitable pricing strategy. Consider factors like rental duration, maintenance costs, and market pricing standards.

Streamlining operations

One of the key advantages of starting a complementary rental operation is the opportunity to streamline operations. Since your rental offerings align with your existing business, you can leverage existing infrastructure and staff expertise. This can reduce overall costs for starting up rental operations while minimizing the investment required to add this additional arm of your business. You will probably only require some software and organization to get started.

  • Staff expertise - Existing staff can receive minimal training to handle rental transactions and customer inquiries.

  • Infrastructure - Utilize your current infrastructure, such as storage facilities or storefronts, to store and display rental items.

  • Assets - Your existing stock can be used to start your rental operation at minimal cost to your business, especially if you can grow quickly.

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Cross promotion and customer loyalty

One of the most significant benefits of a complementary rental operation is the ability to cross-promote your services. Cross-promotion is a potent tool for running both a primary and complementary business. These opportunities can significantly boost your overall business revenue and customer retention. For instance:

  • A bike rental customer may discover a passion for cycling and purchase a bike from your shop. Your rental operation would essentially act as a try before you buy service for your customers.

  • A tool rental customer might realize the convenience of renting tools from your store and become a loyal customer for their future projects. This is especially fruitful when working with local contractors needing affordable equipment access.

  • Event planners who rent your furniture for an event venue may choose you for future events and recommend you to colleagues. The event business is all about networking, and by offering rentals, the contact will come to you with minimal effort on your part.

Enhance customer experience

Adding a rental component can enhance the overall customer experience. It provides flexibility to customers who may want to wait to commit to ownership. This can create goodwill and positive word-of-mouth referrals, promoting your business while providing revenue. Some examples of these benefits include:

  • Try-before-you-buy - Rental services allow customers to try products or services before making a substantial commitment. This builds trust and can lead to more confident purchases.

  • Flexible options - Offer flexible rental terms, such as daily, weekly, or monthly rentals. This accommodates a broader range of customer needs.

  • Maintenance and support - Provide excellent maintenance and support for your rental items. This ensures customers have a positive experience and are more likely to return.

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Will you start offering equipment rentals?

Starting a rental operation that harmonizes with your existing venture can be a strategic masterpiece. By identifying synergies, conducting meticulous market research, streamlining operations, and capitalizing on cross-promotional opportunities, you can diversify your revenue streams and amplify the value you offer your customers. Like many before you, you should seize this opportunity before your competitors clock on.

Whether you’re dealing in bikes, tools, event equipment, or even camera gear, a complementary rental operation can elevate your profits and solidify your position in the market. Remember, success lies in finding the perfect balance where both businesses thrive, paving the way for sustainable growth and long-term prosperity. Separating concerns may be a good idea once your rental side hustle has grown enough to require full-time management.

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