Our Advice for Starting Your Own Rental Business in 2023

Starting your own rental business can seem daunting at first. You have to think about what you’re going to rent out, how much it will cost, and how you’re going to market...

Last updated: April 26, 2022

Starting your own rental business can seem daunting at first. You have to think about what you’re going to rent out, how much it will cost, and how you’re going to market your new venture, among other things. But, coming from a rental background ourselves, we know how to set up a successful rental business and grow it from the ground up. So, we’ve put together a little guide to help you to start your very own rental business.

1. Study your niche and local area

The first thing you should do is research the niche you want to get started in and the location you’re planning to cater to. Different niches and places have different needs, so it’s crucial to have all the correct information before getting started.

One way to do this is by talking to people in the industries and locations you have in mind. For example, if you’re thinking of starting a tool rental business, speak to local builders, or if you’re thinking of starting a bike rental business, talk to tourists in the area. You need find out things like what they use, how much they are willing to spend and what is missing from rental businesses in the local area.

Another way is by looking at similar types of business in areas that match your own. Find out what is successful and why they are doing well in the niche and location. You can also look for what gaps their are in the rental market and see if you can fill them.

2. Buy smart

Another major decision when starting a rental business is working out how much equipment you need to begin with. You don’t want products sitting around not making any money, but you also don’t want to underestimate the number of products you need.

Doing market research into the supply and demand in your area will allow you to work out the minimum viable inventory for your niche. Then, once you start your business, you will be able to tell which products are worth investing more in and which ones you should avoid.

Remember: It’s much cheaper and easier to buy more equipment when it’s in demand than it is to resell extra equipment that is going unused. So, think wisely when making purchasing decisions, or you may regret them.

3. Find good deals

One of the most significant investments you’ll make in your rental business is the products you’re renting out. So, you’ll want to make the most of every last dollar, euro, or pound sterling you spend.

You may be tempted to blow your money on the latest and greatest equipment, but that’s not always a wise investment. This is especially true when you’re just starting up and don’t know precisely what the demand will be for your rental products.

It would be best to consider how much your potential customers will be willing to spend when renting your products. If you pay twice as much, will they be willing to spend twice as much? Not likely - except for certain niches like cameras and AV equipment. It can often be best to buy second-hand equipment when you’re just starting.

4. Maintain equipment

Your entire rental business depends on your equipment, so you don’t have a business if you don’t maintain and repair your products. That’s why it is imperative to take care of your products correctly.

You should perform regular maintenance on your products so you can spot and fix any problems they may have before a customer sees them. You should make sure you are quick in your response and thorough with your repairs. Don’t forget cosmetic fixes too!

Your customers will expect products that look and feel like they are brand new. If just one customer complains, it could spread like wildfire and potentially ruin your business. Though trying to solve the issue first would be extremely helpful and change their perspective.

5. Create an online presence

In today’s world, your rental business needs to have an online presence. That means a website, social media pages, and a Google My Business profile. This may sound like a lot of work, but they will only account for a small part of your week once they are set up and running.

Having an online presence makes your business easy to find, provides customers with the information they need, and gives them a place to make bookings online. It also allows them to check your company out before making any decisions.

Don’t worry about time and money. The only element that could cost you is your website, and there are website builders out there. They will allow you to quickly put together a fantastic website, even if you have no experience.

6. Build partnerships

If you’re starting a rental business that caters to tourists, it can be good to think about what other products or services they may be looking for. This could include somewhere to stay, places to visit and things to do while they’re on holiday.

Connecting with local businesses that offer these things and setting up a referral program will benefit you both. Each of you gets more customers, and you will build up a better reputation with customers.

This creates better word of mouth for your rental business. It also makes you a go-to person for advice, so customers are more likely to return to your business in the future. This can be great if they take yearly family trips to your area.

7. Find the right rental software

Every rental business owner needs the right tools to manage their inventory, accounting, bookings, and communication. This means you need to research and explore which tools are best for you.

Some tools may be able to group many of these tasks into one application which can save you time and effort for admin work. Of course, you could do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or spreadsheets, but nothing is as effective as dedicated tools.

So, do your research and find the best one that works for you. You can use review platforms like Capterra to compare software based on price and reviews to help you to decide which one is best for you.

8. Clear your paperwork

Something vital that you mustn’t forget is paperwork. You need to file the appropriate formal documents with your local authorities. To find out what these are, you can visit your Government’s website, and they will have all the information you need.

You should also get liability insurance since many customers will be interacting with your equipment, and you don’t want to be responsible for any costs should the worst happen. After all, your entire business model depends on them being safe.

Finally, it would be best if you found good insurance for your equipment. Your liability insurance may pay any necessary expenses for your customers, but it won’t cover your equipment. So make sure you protect yourself.

9. Treat customers with care

Repeat business should be your biggest goal as a rental business owner. When someone rents something from you, they only have it for a limited amount of time, so if they need it again, you want them to come back to you and not your competitor.

This is why you need to treat customers with care. You should not only be a place to rent items but also somewhere they can get related advice, have a hassle-free experience, and rent products for an affordable price. These are what will help you build repeat customers.

This point also circles back to taking care of your equipment. If customers can get the best and most cared for equipment from you, they are more likely to come back again and again when they need things in the future.

10. Set expectations early

To avoid arguments and disappointment, you should set expectations early on in your relationship with customers. This means setting clear rules for how you expect the products to be treated and what level of wear and tear is acceptable when they return the products to you.

You should also specify the period they will be renting products from you and set clear expectations for late returns. You should also let them know what they should do if they run into an issue during their rental period and how they can contact you if something does happen.

Clear communication and setting out terms in writing means facing fewer issues and arguments with your customers. If everything is clear, your customers will know your expectations for them when they rent out products from your business.

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