Improving Time Management

Isn't it frustrating to have so many good ideas but no time to plan or implement them? It's ironic that we are all selling time — but we don't have enough of this precious commodity ourselves.

Recently, while on a construction jobsite with one of my clients, I witnessed him receiving a lengthy cell phone call from one of his rental store managers. He repeatedly tried to shorten the call but his expression indicated anguish, as the caller wouldn't stop talking. The call lasted 20 minutes, and when it finally ended, he told me that the call was an excellent example of one of his company's greatest needs — more concise communications. He said that the caller could have communicated his needs in three sentences, but continued to ramble. So, how much time could you save at your rental business? This is a huge topic but for the sake of time, here are just a few ideas:

  • Be a believer. Better communication and time management are possible. Change is difficult and old habits are hard to break, however it's amazing how much can be accomplished if you have a positive attitude.
  • Have a written plan to reach your communication and time management objectives. Be sure to include all the key ingredients of good goal setting to maximize your likelihood of success.
  • Get employees involved in the search for ways to become more efficient. If employees "buy into" the importance of the effort, and if they receive some coaching, they make an important contribution to the search and the implementation of the plan.
  • Do more delegating. Break out of the habit of doing routine tasks that could be delegated to others.
  • Promote the idea of time management with your entire staff during training sessions as well as throughout the day. For example, encourage your employees to give customers the appropriate amount of instruction for the use of your rental equipment. Details about inner workings of the engine or other unnecessary technical information can waste the customer's (and your) time.
  • Try making a list of everything you do. Analyze each item to determine if it makes sense for you to continue doing it. Can you streamline the process? Can the task be delegated or outsourced?
  • Help others to manage their time. Along with helping your employees, better communication can help your customers to use their time more effectively. Improved communications in your advertising messages can also help your prospects manage their valuable time. Clear and more concise messages can help them see the benefits of renting from your company. This increases the likelihood of receiving a decent return on your advertising investment.
  • Work on improving written, verbal, and various forms of nonverbal communications including "body language." It's amazing how slight facial expressions and posture changes can improve the chances that your message will be received as you intended.
    In the rental business, if you invest in improving communication, you will certainly receive a healthy return on your investment in the area of more productive use of time.

You would think that companies in the business of selling time would be among the best at time management. But, the need for improved time management skills in the equipment rental industry is just as strong as other types of businesses. All of us need to make better use of our time.

Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized consultant, lecturer and writer and has 35 years of experience in the equipment rental industry. He is the author of "The Guide to Great Customer Service" as well as "A Practical Guide to Working in an Equipment Business." For consulting, on-site employee training or to order books, visit Dick can be contacted at or (309) 781-3451.