CRA President's Message: Grow your garden
The CRA and ARA can help your business bloom
We made it through another Canadian winter. Mother Nature was very kind to us here in Nova Scotia. The same cannot be said for neighbours in New Brunswick. An ice storm the end of January left many people without power for two weeks. But now that spring is here I am looking at my gardens thinking they need some work and, like in business, first you need a plan. There are people and resources in the CRA/ARA that can help you with this plan. Once you have a plan it is time to plant your seeds.
We never know what flowers will pop up in the spring so all we can do is prepare the ground and hope for the best. The rental business is the same – you can only control what is in your grasp. You need to start with a good seed that you can get from one of the many associate members listed on the CRA website. They can also introduce you to crops that are new or ones you did not know would grow in the soil of your market. Keeping in mind that preparation and knowledge are the keys to make your business or garden grow, contact the CRA/ARA for items that may help you achieve this. Think of them as the fertilizer. You start off with the perfect mix which the ARA Rental U has. Being trained and knowledgeable is great soil preparation. From there you add as needed. All the individual plants of your business require different care. Start with your customer contact. If you do not have the right mix of front-end counter staff there is an ARA webinar on recruiting and hiring for the rental industry. There are webinars on customer service and phone skills. Think of these people and all your team as the water for your plants. Without them nothing grows, so encourage and praise them. You will soon realize that, in the right conditions, people do actually learn, grow and change.
Next comes the yard or service staff. These are the people who do the weeding and make sure everything is perfect. When all the weeding is done you can place a ready-to-go tag from the Canadian Rental Association on the equipment. These tags can be personalized with your rental house name.
Now it is time to go to market. This can be done with Rental HQ, the worlds largest, most comprehensive rental store locator. All the customer needs to do is search their location and product and the nearest rental stores pop up. Be sure to keep your information up-to-date. If you add a new tool, you need to tell people.
If you do not have that special item that someone is looking for then you may need to do some cross-pollination, or as it is known in the rental business, a re-rent. This is where those friends I spoke about in the last issue can help. If you have not yet met that person, then you need to go where they hang out: CRA/ARA events and shows.
Now is the time to deliver your harvest. This works better with happy, properly trained people. To achieve this the ARA has the Safe Driver Education Program. Topics include loading and unloading, operational best practices and customer service.
Now that the harvest is done it is time to reap the benefits of your team’s hard work. This can be made easier and less expensive by taking advantage of First Data’s credit card acceptance preferred rate program. That has been negotiated by the CRA. Call the office or go the website for details.
Picture now that your season has ended and your crop is sold. Winter is coming and it is time to celebrate the great past season. Take in a local trade show banquet or go for the big celebration: the ARA Rental Show. This year it is in New Orleans. I cannot think of a better place to celebrate.
As you can see as your business is like a garden and CRA /ARA is your garden centre. There is always something you need and some very knowledgeable person available to help you.
Hank McInnis is assistant manager at Atlantic – The CAT Rental Store in Dartmouth, N.S. He has been working in the rental industry for 13 years.