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How to Automate Padding Time in Rental Business Scheduling

Author: Nathan Crossley August 10, 2023 · 3 Min read
How to Automate Padding Time in Rental Business Scheduling

Rentals are fast-paced, and every moment counts, whether you’re renting out bikes, cameras, or event decor. Padding time is an essential strategy you should be using in your rental business. It has many benefits to help you run your rental business more effectively and efficiently. This strategy is often overlooked but can significantly enhance your customer experience. This blog post will explore the benefits of working with padding time.

Before exploring the benefits, let’s answer the question, “What is padding time?” Also known as buffer or lead/lag time, padding time is the period you reserve before and/or after a booking. Typically, this will be 15-30 minutes and could be more, depending on the products you rent out. It has many benefits that will contribute to your customers’ rental experience.

What are the benefits of padding time?

There are three main benefits to adding buffer time to your scheduling, including reduced wait times, better preparation, and time to inspect your products. In addition, if you run a rental business where products require batteries to be charged, they can give you the time to do this effectively. Let’s dive into the benefits of padding time in more detail.


1. Reduce customer wait times

The last thing you want to do as a rental business owner is to keep your customers waiting. It can be frustrating for them and stressful for your team while reflecting poorly on your company. However, if you integrate padding time into your rental schedule, you can reduce wait times and provide a smoother experience for your customers.

For example, if people arrive early for their rentals, you can have a lead time to be ready for them. On the other hand, if a customer is running late when returning their rentals, lag time allows you to accommodate them without causing an inconvenience for other customers who have booked the equipment next. The result is very satisfied customers.

2. Time to prepare everything

Proper preparation is the foundation of every successful rental business. Padding time gives you the breathing room to ensure your equipment is ready before your customers arrive. It gives you time to gather everything you need for an upcoming order, rather than doing it all when the customer arrives to pick up their rental products.

Not only does this lead time ensure you have everything prepared for an upcoming order, but it also allows you to do any necessary cleaning before handing products out again. This is essential if you’re renting out products like bikes prone to getting dirty from the environment and people sweating as they cycle around.

3. Conduct thorough inspections

Inspecting your rentals is not just about ensuring they’re clean; it’s also an opportunity to identify any defects or potential issues. With padding time, you can conduct meticulous inspections, addressing any problems arising from the previous rental. This proactive approach allows you to rectify any issues and maintain the high quality of your offerings.

Furthermore, if you discover a problem that cannot be immediately fixed, you can use the buffer time to find an alternative product for the next customer, so you don’t have to say no to them. This level of customer service demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction and increases the likelihood of repeat business.

4. Efficient battery charging

For businesses that rent out equipment with batteries, like e-bikes and cameras, time for charging is essential. Padding time allows you to ensure that all batteries are fully charged between rentals, reducing the risk of equipment running out of power during use. This attention to detail improves the customer experience and contributes to your equipment’s longevity.

You can manage charging cycles effectively by incorporating padding time into your rental process. This allows you to minimize downtime while allowing customers to complete their tasks without worrying about the product not being charged. It also allows you to maximize availability for your customers, as you don’t need to remove stock with dead batteries from rotation.

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How do you set up padding time in Booqable?

In Booqable, setting up padding time for your products is easy. You simply need to go to the availability settings for a product and set padding time before and/or after a booking. This will make the product unavailable during this period which will be reflected on your calendar. You can set up different padding times for each product. In the example below, we have set 15 minutes of padding time before and after each rental.


Improve customer satisfaction with padding time

Working with padding time in your rental business offers a range of benefits that ultimately enhance your customer experience and operational efficiency. By reducing wait times, allowing for thorough preparation and inspections, and optimizing charging cycles, you can create a seamless and stress-free rental experience for you and your clients.

Remember, the success of your rental business hinges on customer satisfaction and the reliability of your offerings. Buffer time is a valuable tool that empowers you to exceed customer expectations and stand out in a competitive market. So, take the initiative to implement padding time into your rental process and witness its positive impact on your business.

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