Canadian Rental Service


By Ed Dwyer CRA president   

Canadian Rental Association

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” – Lawrence J. Peter

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” – Lawrence J. Peter

Whether you are a one-store rental operation or have multiple stores, marketing and advertising your rental store and our rental industry is a necessity these days, not a luxury. Sitting around and waiting for customers to walk in to your store is no way to run a successful rental operation.

Signage and curb appeal is critical. About ten years ago at my Scurfield Boulevard store – which is located on a busy street with a high traffic count – we made a large investment of $30,000 for a digital sign. This sign runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and flashes messages such as ‘‘Go Jets Go.” We also tailor the message as often as we want to show such messages as “We rent pumps!” when it is raining. We get lots of positive comments from customers coming in, so I know that we have received a great return on our investment over the years. We have even used this sign to advertise when we needed staff.

Sponsorship and community involvement is also very important. A good example would be what James Morden does. James is the owner and operator of Rentshop in Alliston, Ont., and supplies gas and welding equipment as part of his operation. For the past 20 years Rentshop has sponsored an award for the student at the local high school who graduates with the highest marks in welding. The Gas Shop Welding Award gives the winning student a welding starter kit. What a great idea. Are you involved in making a difference in your community?


The American Rental Association, of which you are a member if you are a member of the Canadian Rental Association, has a great calendar and promotion program. You can order the calendars customized with your company name and logo to hand out to your customers. These calendars are a great promotional tool that will be hanging in their offices for a full year. This program now has lower prices, more products and fast delivery. Please visit it online at for more information.    

Having an up-to-date website is also a necessity today. If you do not have a website, new customers simply will not find you. When was the last time you used the Yellow Pages? Serving on the CRA website committee has taught me a lot about websites. I find that posting our rental rates online is very helpful for our customers. People visit your website because they want to rent equipment, find specifications on equipment and discover what it costs to rent the equipment. We track how well our website works by offering an online discount coupon that they have to print and bring to our store. You can see my website at .

I am in the process of adding something called a QR code (QR stands for Quick Response) to our business cards. This code takes only a small amount of space and can, once scanned by a smartphone, allow users to download all your contact information, name, phone number, email address and website and save it on their devices for future reference. No longer does your customer have to keep those business cards, as they can be stored electronically forever.

Networking is one of the oldest and most established ways to grow your business. Do you belong to local networking groups or associations? Simply review your customer list and group them by industry. Construction and other industry trade association meetings are a great way to meet potential customers and maintain relationships with existing customers. I personally really enjoy networking on the golf course.  

Social media is one of the newest forms of marketing. We are currently exploring reaching out to customers through emailed newsletters. Our e-newsletters will contain links to our site to increase the number of visits. Another form of social media participation is by setting up a Facebook site and Twitter account for your company. It is important to have someone knowledgeable in these to help set up and maintain them. If you any ideas on how your CRA can help with marketing please call our executive director, Mandy Wellnitz, at 1-888-270-4440. 

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