Independent rental centers are an important part of the equipment industry. Not only do these small and mighty outfits give contractors a fast, easy option to rent niche machines and popular compact construction equipment, but they also often serve homeowners and do-it-yourselfers with landscaping/lawn and garden options.
Happy customers are the livelihood of any rental center’s operation. And that's about more than just the machines being rented. It boils down to the full partnership, including parts, service, and support.
To offer the best options and service to customers, rental center operators need to be cautious about what companies they choose to turn to for machines. As a partner to several rental centers across the country, RDO Equipment receives a lot of questions from companies interested in working together. These 10 frequently asked questions will help all independent rental companies, who are looking to grow their equipment fleet and offer the best service to customers.
1. What is your parts availability?
Parts and service are among the most important pieces of a fleet management program. Rental centers have an extra vested interest in parts availability, as they have customers to support with reliable equipment. Find an equipment partner that has a healthy stock of parts, as well as the ability to quickly source and deliver parts.
2. What are my options for parts pickup and delivery?
After the pandemic of 2020, contact-free shopping, product pickup, and delivery became a must-offer service for every business. It is important to partner with an equipment provider that offers multiple options for buying and receiving parts including contact-free options like buying online or over the phone, minimal contact pickup or no-contact curbside pickup, or direct shipping.
3. What are my options for equipment service?
Hand-in-hand with fast response time on parts, service is a crucial component of every rental center’s business. Ensure the equipment supplier also offers service from certified, trained technicians who are experts on the machines and can get them back up and running fast.
4. How many technicians and field service trucks are in operation?
Digging deeper into equipment service, many rental center operators wonder about the size and full capabilities of the service team. Do not hesitate to ask this question to feel confident that the equipment partner can handle service requests, both in the shop and when a machine unexpectedly goes down on a jobsite.
5. What is the response time in the field?
Service availability means nothing without adequate response times to service requests. Companies with field service offerings can dispatch the highest trained, top technicians to provide service wherever it is needed. Ask about average service response times and gauge whether they meet desired turnaround expectations from customers needing repairs.
6. What are my options if a machine is down for a significant time?
Equipment is going to break down at some point, and there are times when a service job is going to take longer than a customer can wait. Find out if the equipment supplier offers any programs or opportunities for loaner equipment during repairs. RDO, for example, offers The RDO Promise on certain machines, providing this exact benefit.
7. What does equipment availability look like?
Whether ordering machines early in the season or adding to a rental fleet throughout the year, it is important to work with an equipment partner that has access to a steady supply of machines.
Find out what the options are to order new machines. Supply chain issues from the pandemic have made it more challenging to get new machines and wait times may be longer than usual. Used machines and dealer rental fleets are another option for getting equipment, and that access is another factor to consider when choosing an equipment partner.
8. What attachments are available?
Whether compact construction equipment, or lawn and garden machines, most customers will not rent a machine without at least one attachment. Work with an equipment partner that can deliver a wide variety of attachments to meet any renters’ need. Just like with equipment, seeking out a company that can offer both used and new attachments adds more options.
9. Are there special discounts for rental centers?
While discount details vary by manufacturer, there are often discounts specifically geared at rental centers for new equipment purchases. Used machines typically do not have these same discounts attached, but it's still a question to ask and creates a discussion point around matching needs to budget. A good equipment company is always looking to create a partnership and will provide the best solution to match a budget.
10. What are financing options?
Similar to discounts, financing is most often driven by the manufacturer. However, the equipment supplier can help make the process easier. Seek out an equipment partner that can help navigate financing options and the process.