Warm weather brings fun events
By David MintenkoCanadian Rental Association
Happy spring to all! It certainly looks like spring has sprung in good ol’ Winnipeg. Weather has been pretty darn fine – just praying we haven’t peaked early. As I contemplated what to write for this column (valiantly fighting off writer’s block), I settled for a bit of a potpourri of topics to touch on.
With the warmer weather and signs of spring we start thinking about spring cleanup. Keeping our place of business neat is an everyday battle, but particularly through the winter months. Winter weather restricts a lot of outdoor renovations, cleaning and overall general upkeep. Spring is a great time to analyze a multitude of items. It’s time to see if your outside parking and storage areas are level. Uneven surfaces need resurfacing and refilling. Maybe your parking lines require repainting. Are all signs clean and legible? Does your building need repainting or re-siding? Take a look to see how your electrical outlets and fixtures weathered the cold. Building roofs, loading ramps, over-height signs, perimeter fencing and security systems should all get an inspection, not to mention the equipment that is usually stored outdoors. These are just a few of the items that need to be on your checklist.
With all the students about to finalize their school year after exams, this is a great time to hire that part-time summer employment and have those individuals help you with your spring cleanup. Not only will it keep your more experienced people focused on their revenue-driving tasks (repairing, renting and driving), but you will be providing employment to individuals who require jobs. Who knows? Perhaps these individuals will become future long-term employees. I highly recommend student employment. Through the years I have taken on many students who have turned rentals into a career. Many of them are still with our organization today.
The warmer weather produces more outdoor activity both in the workplace and of a personal nature. One of the major items that tends to get overlooked is safety. Let’s call it summer safety. Procedures, policies and tasks that are carefully adhered to in winter months can fall prey to shortcuts with better weather. Spring is a great time to re-emphasize outdoor safety. Make sure that proper footwear, headgear, eyewear and clothing are all being used. Above all, with the hot weather approaching, make sure your employees wear proper sun guards, sunscreen and keep hydrated throughout the day.
Also ensure that outdoor housekeeping is as finally tuned as the indoor conditions are.
Along with springtime comes time to re-focus on your locals and set up the schedule for the upcoming year. It makes it much easier for everyone – directors and members – if you are able to have set dates for spring flings, barbecues, golf tournaments and ball games; fall dates for Annual General Meetings; and winter dates for Christmas parties. Attendance from members will be much stronger if they are able to mark specific dates on their calendars. Follow-up reminders such as phone calls or face-to-face drop-ins serve as a real personal touch and greatly enhance participation at these functions.
One other point to touch on is the elections that have taken place, or will soon, at a few of the locals. Membership drives tend to be a major task within our locals. Bringing in new blood to fulfill a succession plan is always a challenge. I urge you to look not only within your place of business but to your competitors as well. How many times have you met an individual at one of your local board functions from a supplier or competitor who would be a great fit for your local, but are overlooked within their organization. Sometimes it takes an outside eye and a poke in the ribs to that person’s superior for them to realize and agree that this individual would be a welcome addition. I can attest to this personally. I also encourage you to use CRA head office as a valuable resource for recruiting new and old members. Our staff, Nathalie and Jenna, are tireless workers with great ideas, suggestions, planning and initiatives.
Dave Mintenko is senior branch manager of Hertz Equipment Rentals in Winnipeg and national president of the Canadian Rental Association. He has been in the rental business for 35 years.
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