Shifting your inventory focus

I hear from more and more rental business owners that once huge rental inventory offerings are not "big movers" anymore. Perhaps it is time to take a look at the option of making an inventory segment shift? This is often a matter of moving away from one inventory segment toward a new one that you haven't attempted.

It is likely, for example, that certain hand-held power tools are not renting as well as in the past. It could be that cheap, low-quality power tools are being purchased instead of customers renting the quality power tools from you. It's also possible that your area is saturated with new small tool rental businesses.

This topic is not an easy one to address because it's natural to keep doing what has worked in the past. So, even though rentals might have decreased dramatically, it's difficult for some rental businesses to confront the possibility that it could be wise to decrease or eliminate a previously winning category.

It's also natural to resist getting into new ventures because of the fear of the unknown.My customers routinely tell me that they wish they would have had their inventory offerings analyzed earlier, so they could have enjoyed the results sooner.

It's very important to have a high degree of confidence that a major shift in what you are offering your customers is the right thing for you to do. On the other hand, I have found that some rental businesses can revive seemingly dying segments of their rental business with fresh marketing and training initiatives. Don't rely upon relatives and friends for meaningful, change-in-direction business advice. There is so much well-meaning misinformation out there. Just because a gamble paid off for someone else somewhere else doesn't mean it will work well in your market. Get an industry expert's opinion as to the advisability of making a shift in your inventory as well as the what, where, when and how it should be done, if it is the correct course of action.

Some of you might have been considering some major shifts in your inventory for far too long. So, find out once and for all and be prepared to make a big change if it is determined that it does make sense.

One of the keys to shifting your rental equipment focus is not to dabble. Either be in the new business or stay out of it. Just adding a little of this and a little of that can be a recipe for disaster. You'll need guidance to determine the best starting mix if you are adding a new segment to your business.

So, even though it is hard to "move on," it might be the right time to make this big decision.