Canadian Rental Association
CRA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: October 2013
By Jeff Campbell
Your relationships with your suppliers are some of the most important your business has.
By Jeff Campbell
Your relationships with your suppliers are some of the most important your business has. In this business, it is not just a case of a salesman selling you a piece of equipment for the most money he can get and walking away from the result. You actually have a vested interest in promoting your suppliers’ equipment to the wider public, which makes you quite different from contractor and homeowner customers. You may very well have an even closer relationship as an official parts and repair outlet for the supplier. All this means the relationship between rental operators and their suppliers is more like a business partnership than a vendor/client situation.
So loyalty is critical. You reward your customers for loyalty, and your suppliers are just the same (or should be). The reward might come as a price discount, but more often is in the form of special attention to your account. Maybe your phone call gets returned a little faster. Perhaps the supplier makes an extra effort to make you aware of coming trends or new products in the market. By creating a personal relationship with your supplier you gain an inside line on product information as well. Some extra attention and care when providing parts and service is always welcome. All this increases your status as a rental professional.
You would never want to enter into such an important relationship lightly. So there are a few things to take into account when choosing a supplier. Price and quality of products and services are the obvious ones. But the supplier’s profile in the industry is also important, as are its ethical standards and reputation. Price is pretty obvious, and quality can be quickly assessed with an experienced eye. But characteristics like integrity and industry knowledge are harder to evaluate. How can you find suppliers you can trust?
The answer is: work with a Canadian Rental Association associate member. These are companies and individuals who have gone the extra mile to give back to our industry. They support the association with their money and time with no guarantee of any return at all. Many of them are among the most dedicated and energetic members we have. Please keep an eye out for them and reward them for their loyalty. Your customers notice and reward you when you go the extra mile for them – please extend your suppliers the same courtesy. You can tell who is supporting the CRA when you see them at your local trade show or find the CRA logo on their advertising in this magazine. Loyalty still exists in this industry. All you have to do is earn it.
In other association business, keep your eyes peeled for announcements about CRA events at next March’s Canadian Rental Mart. Your association is working on some educational and training opportunities that could deliver benefits to your business that would cost you thousands to buy anywhere else. Also, plans for the CRA Ontario banquet are coming together quickly. You won’t want to miss this fun event and rare chance to spend an evening with all your friends in the rental industry.
Jeff Campbell is co-owner of St. Thomas Rent-All in St. Thomas, Ont., and has been a member of the Canadian Rental Association for 34 years.