Canadian Rental Service

Hope is not a plan: Mind YOUR business

By Adam Snook   

Features Business Intelligence canada rental snook

Social media is not a measuring stick for success.

It’s very easy these days to fall into the trap of comparing yourself and your business to the competition.

Social media is full of people and businesses who show nothing but how great things are going. Very rarely do you see the ones who are struggling to get equipment on rent, retain employees or just make it through another day in what seems like an endless grind. 

Just like everyone is a supermodel in their airbrushed pictures, every business is killing it when they post on LinkedIn. 

The typical business post on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram goes something like:  “Another load of gear off to a great new customer. Equipment is flying out of the yard, book now while there’s still some availability!” 

On the other hand, I have yet to see any company post: “Damn, it’s been a hard couple of years. COVID-19 really killed our event business. I’m not sure how we’re going to make it through the next six months.” Or, “It’s unbelievably hard to hire and retain any decent people these days. With rental rates being so depressed and equipment and operating costs skyrocketing, I’m not sure how we can afford to offer more money and still manage to take home enough to cover our bills.” Or, “Man, I wish that the rental industry hadn’t made 45 percent discounts the standard in pricing. Between the 15 percent increase in labour costs, 25 percent increase in insurance costs and 30 percent increase in equipment costs l’m going to be lucky to make five percent net this year.” 

It’s not even just online. How often have we talked to a sales person from one of the big rental companies and we get a story that sounds like, “Oh yeah, we’re flat out! We can barely find enough equipment to satisfy all the jobs we’ve got going on!” Only to drive by their yard and see it packed. 

The reality is that just like the Instagram “influencer” who takes three hours to get ready for a 15 second video, the companies that are positing about how great business is are going through the same struggles you are. 

They’re having to rent equipment out at the same rock bottom rates, they’re having the same struggles attracting quality people and the week-to-week grind is getting to them just as much as it’s getting to you and me. They just do a better job of putting lipstick on that pig than we do.

So, when I say mind YOUR business, I’m talking about worrying about what YOU can control. Don’t try to chase these carefully crafted images people fabricate online. 

You can: 

  • Make sure your equipment is ready to rent and looking good. It’s amazing what degreaser and some touch up paint will do to the look of your fleet. Your equipment will get treated with a much higher level of care if it goes out looking like it’s well maintained to start with. 
  • Make sure that your shop, office and yard are clean and organized. People like to frequent places that don’t look like scrap yards. 
  • Advertise what sets you apart. This has been discussed multiple times here in this column and many other places in the magazine because it is absolutely critical! 

I’m certainly not saying that social media is to be avoided, on the contrary, it can be a great marketing tool. You should be shamelessly promoting your business by whatever means possible.  What I am saying is that comparing yourself and your business to someone else’s online image is a fool’s game.  

Adam Snook owns JustBins, a Regina-based provider of waste disposal solutions.

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