Besides the cost and performance issues, there are other reasons to promote the concept of renting a pressure washer over purchasing one. Storage can be a big issue, for example.
“Why store a machine in your garage 361 days when you’re only going to use it for four?” asks Price at Shark. “It takes up space and the hose, if not properly stored, is a nuisance. Moreover, in cold weather states, pressure washers must be properly winterized. Because of this inconvenience, many consumer models end up lasting only one season.”
Flexibility is another factor. Renting allows the user to choose from a full range of gallon/pressure that can be geared to the job at hand. For instance, washing vinyl siding might require the use of a 2,000-psi machine while deep cleaning a parking pad would be best done with a 4,000- or 5,000-psi unit.
“[Users] who rent not only get a dependable machine that has been properly serviced, but they usually have available to them a selection of pressure washers for matching to a variety of applications,” says Price. “Even for those extra-challenging jobs, [users] will often find in a rental center’s fleet pressure washers that deliver up to 5,000 psi.
Conversely, someone who purchases a pressure washer is stuck with that one machine for every job. Simply stated, renting offers more versatility and dependability to the user.”
In addition to your selection of equipment, you can also offer your customers something else: expertise.
“Most consumers are unaware of their needs, and they don’t understand what qualities make a good pressure washer,” says Leiss. “It’s the job of a rental center to offer high-quality products and help customers rent the right equipment for their specific projects.”
Is it worth it?
Clearly, there is a demand among consumers for smaller pressure washers to tackle numerous jobs around the house that don’t require the “big guns.” Some rental businesses, however, have focused their inventory on the bigger machines, however, because they believe consumers are more likely to buy the smaller units vs. renting them. This does a disservice to the consumer and removes a potential revenue stream from the rental business.
“I feel many rental businesses can still do profitable business renting the smaller items, but marketing changes may be necessary,” says Dick Detmer of Detmer Consulting. “It may be necessary to restructure some rental rates. Also, I believe one of the unspoken lures of purchasing some items is the fact that the tool is brand new when the customer is using it, whereas some of the tools and equipment at some rental businesses may look a little rough. So, be sure you are not losing rentals because your pressure washers are visually or mechanically not up to par, for example.”
He continues, “Also, it would be wise to promote the expert advice your staff provides with the rental, which is not likely to happen when a person is purchasing an item in a box on a shelf in a retail store.”
Detmer stresses that despite the fact that what were once high-profit items are possibly no longer your best money-makers, it’s not always in your best interest to do away with these smaller tools in your inventory. “Even though some small items will continue to be losers even with a stonger marketing plan, it may still be wise to avoid dumping all of the smaller items from a profitability standpoint,” he says. “The benefit to having a broad mix of tools and equipment, including small items that may not be renting as well as they used to, may outweigh the benefits of getting out of the smaller items altogether.”
Getting the word out
Whether or not your business enjoys a brisk turnaround of its pressure washer inventory, there’s always room for better promotion. Letting your homeowner customer base know what you have in stock and why it can be their solution to their cleaning needs can serve to boost your bottom line, if done effectively.