Did you know that normal, 120-volt electrical power can kill you? Do your customers know this? According to information provided by Sotcher Measurement, 120-volt power kills about 1,000 people a year.
As a rental business, you no doubt have your share of electrically powered equipment. When renting it to customers, it's your job to ensure the equipment itself is safe. One way to do this is to start with high-quality equipment and then inspect and test the equipment with reliable electronic testing supplies.
Dick Detmer, Detmer Consulting Inc., has been in the rental industry for over 35 years and is one of the biggest believers in electrical safety testing.
"As a consultant, I have visited thousands of rental stores throughout the United States, and I've seen it all," says Detmer. "I find there isn't enough emphasis on this subject, and it really shocks me that in some rental businesses, electrical safety is not an important subject. It should be one of the most important subjects for a rental business."
Marc Sotcher, president of Sotcher Measurement agrees. "Every rental business should be testing with something," he says. "Electrical testing equipment is not a ‘profit producing' type of tool, but it's very important for the safety of your customers."
Taking safety seriously
Joe Rupe runs a Grand Rental Station outlet in Crystal Lake, IL, with his wife, Pat. Open since 1992, their rental business supplies a complete line of party and general equipment to homeowners, industrial customers and small contractors.
Later, the family opened a second and third store in northern Illinois and in 1999, their son, Eric, joined the business and is now the president and general manager.
The Rupe recipe for business success has been a commitment to providing superior service linked to the supply of high-quality equipment - and ensuring the safe operation of all rental products is high among their top priorities.
As part of the TruServ rental co-operative, Joe Rupe is part of a small group of rental store owners who regularly review best practices and strive to raise the standards of the industry. Recently, he has undertaken an evaluation of new electrical safety testing instrumentation introduced by Clare Instruments US Inc.
"When we were asked to evaluate the Clare safety test equipment we welcomed the idea, as we were in the middle of improving our safety program," Rupe says. "We feel that anything we can do to enhance safety for our customers and employees adds to our professional image. We also find that good safety programs make it easier for us to get better rates of insurance - an important factor for a small business."
John Villarosa, owner of Oakland Rentals in Oakland, CA, has been using Sotcher units to test his electrical equipment for the last 11 years. The single-location Oakland Rentals caters to a 50/50 mix of homeowners and contractors. Villarosa is also very serious about safety.
"The number one reason we use a tester to check our electrical equipment is for the safety of the customer," says Villarosa, who has been in the rental industry for 25 years. But he notes, safe equipment is more productive and more reliable equipment, and that's an added benefit of testing before sending units back out on rent. "Having safe, reliable equipment is great for the image of my rental business. Word gets around that you have safe, reliable equipment, and people will come to you."
Another added benefit is using the electrical tester as a diagnostic tool. "These testers will catch problems that can't be caught with a visual inspection," says Villarosa. "We've had instances when a piece of equipment looks okay to the eye, but when we tested it, we found that there was an insulation problem or a leakage occurring. Testers help us diagnosis any problems before the equipment leaves the store and is in the customer's hands."