Well, I am approaching the six-month mark of leaving behind the day-to-day operations of a rental business. During this time I have had the opportunity to visit many rental operations throughout the U.S., see several manufacturer reps, attend trade shows and catch up on reading industry publications. Being on the other side of the fence has given me a new perspective on issues that I once might have not given enough thought to.
First, we need to talk about big elaborate showrooms. Let’s face it, potential and existing customer habits have changed and evolved. Huge showrooms to display your wares are certainly impressive, but probably not necessary anymore. It’s a great feeling when I walk into elaborate showrooms, but after spending some time in them, you come to the conclusion of what is missing. Namely, customers.
In today’s fast-paced world, clients have less time to visit brick-and-mortar establishments and are more than willing to accomplish task with the point-and-click method or just by picking up the phone. Although there are markets where a showroom is a must, maybe it’s time to think about downsizing or, better yet, investing in an outside sales force that can show your services and products almost anywhere.
Space is money. Are you better off filling that space with product that can be rented to produce revenue or display items that might draw a limited audience? I still agree there are those clients that need to come in and “kick the tires,” but that has to be balanced with the need for space.
More and more rental companies are opting for the "industrial complex" model--moving off major highways and high-priced real estate locations to more cost-effective properties that are still accessible but priced right. Usually these locations have better loading facilities and are much easier to lay out efficiently. Showrooms are still present, but at a much reduced size.
Second, let’s review delivery vehicles. As I drive around, I have been paying special attention to the unique vehicles you all use …
See all of Steve's blog on his site—and read his interview in the Special Events January-February 2015 issue.
Steve Kohn served as president of Millers Rentals for many years; for his Act 2, he has an exciting new life as president of CAD My Event, which helps event planners create 3D renderings of their events.