Spies Like Us Learn a Lot

Another reason I enjoy this assignment is that I get to step out of my usual role as someone sort of outside the industry looking in, and instead play a part that is entirely integral to the rental transaction: the customer.

For the past several years, the focus of our June/July issue has been our Renters' Review, where we rent equipment and report on the experience. This happens to be my favorite annual feature for several reasons. For one, it allows me to get out and visit a new rental center, which is always enlightening. I get to write about something that is very personal, which is a welcome change of pace, and the topic is something everyone can relate to.

Another reason I enjoy this assignment is that I get to step out of my usual role as someone sort of outside the industry looking in, and instead play a part that is entirely integral to the rental transaction: the customer. When I'm working on Renters' Review, I never reveal this to the business I'm renting from. Employees have no idea they're being critiqued (sorry!). I'm just a regular customer looking for a solution to a problem. The perspective I gain on the rental transaction is completely different from when I visit rental centers on a reader call, for example. As I said, it's always enlightening.

So here's my suggestion to you: pay your competitors a visit. It's ideal if you can remain incognito. If your competitors know you too well, choose a rental company that doesn't. Then go out and rent something. I'll bet many of you already do this, but if you haven't tried it, I recommend you give it a shot. I promise you'll come away from the experience having learned something new or maybe, if you're fortunate, a new-found appreciation for your employees, management or even your own business practices. On the other hand, you might discover that there are areas of your business that desperately need attention.

I hope you'll enjoy this year's Renters' Review on page 20. I rented a brush cutter and was once again humbled by the struggle to get control over a piece of equipment. With that in mind, I encourage to watch the video at ForConstructionPros.com/12072915. If nothing else, it will make you feel good about your own equipment operating skills.

As always, thanks for reading. I welcome your feedback at jlescohier@acbusinessmedia.com

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