Canadian Rental Service

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The Funny Page: Bathroom reading

As Canada’s foremost expert on all things rental and all-around nice guy, I feel it is incumbent upon me to share my deep knowledge with those that will benefit by it most. Since the majority of you don’t accept my calls, I will occasionally use this space to spread my wisdom to the masses, whether you like it or not.


October 30, 2008
By Steve Milcik

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steve-milcikAs Canada’s foremost expert on all things rental and all-around nice guy, I feel it is incumbent upon me to share my deep knowledge with those that will benefit by it most. Since the majority of you don’t accept my calls, I will occasionally use this space to spread my wisdom to the masses, whether you like it or not. Fear not, brave reader, for this column will not contain any references to gun-toting reindeer, dysfunctional barbecues or Mandy Maeren…no, this will be an informative 800 words you can use, clip and tape to your fridge. Please save your applause for the end.

My current (real) job allows me to speak with rental professionals from around North America, and what bodes well for our industry is that many of them are new to the scene, with little or no experience in our market. The rental world can sometimes be a confusing and intimidating place, but there are many sources of information that can help a new rental operator get more comfortable in the career they’ve chosen. While associations such as the Canadian Rental Association (CRA) and the American Rental Association (ARA) are very helpful, some of the best information comes from the many publications that deal specifically with the subject.

A fine example of this is the magazine you are currently clasping in your sweaty hands (I’m assuming this since I had the opportunity of shaking hands with Eric Gerlof of Roger’s Rentals once). Canadian Rental Service magazine is published nine times a year, and is free to all rental stores. Each issue features a profile on a rental store owner from Canada, information on different products and of course, yours truly in all his glory. Chris Skalkos, editor of CRS, does an admirable job of getting a uniquely Canadian viewpoint onto the printed page, with a minimum of spelling errors.

For the tool and equipment industry, other publications include Rental Management (RM) magazine, Rental Product News (RPN) and Rental Equipment Register (RER). RM is the official publication of the ARA and usually features informative articles on the state of the industry. While it is mostly focused on the equipment side, more and more party-specific stories are being added. RPN and RER are light on articles, but heavy on equipment reviews, which is a must for all the grease-monkeys out there. Of course, there are also publications for those of you who specialize in certain aspects of equipment rental, like scaffolding or aerials. The Scaffold Access Industry (SIA) publishes the Scaffold Industry magazine which goes in-depth into that market, while Lift and Access magazine brings you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about boom trucks but are afraid to ask.

On the party rental side, there are a few publications that are must-haves, two of which are published by folks who also have a trade show by the same name. Special Events magazine is chock full of features on key players in the industry as well as noteworthy events. Event Solutions magazine goes a little heavier on the production side of the industry. Finally, InTents magazine presents a focus on trends for the tent specialist. For those of you who are more on the corporate and entertainment staging side of the board, Rental & Staging magazine is filled with great products and beautiful photographs, as well as some pretty technical information on different types of equipment.

Very often, the event world collides with the audio visual world and when that happens, magazines like Lighting & Sound America (LSA) and Projection, Lights and Staging News (PLSN) are there to illuminate you on all your audio and visual needs. Closer to home, a Canadian publication that is a bright light on the magazine scene is Professional Lighting & Production (PLP), a great resource of technical and practical information. I’d also like to point out the clever way I used the word “illuminate” as well as the punny “a bright light on the magazine scene.” Yes, you are witnessing literary genius in action. Lucky you.

As you can see, there is a wealth of valuable information floating around on the printed page, and many of these publications are free, though some charge a small subscription fee. The rental industry, no matter which part you find yourself in, is a very competitive one, and resources such as these magazines will help you to improve your business, increase your knowledge and aid you in getting a leg up on the competition. I always have a copy or two of Canadian Rental Service magazine in my bathroom…it works well to hide the Playboy magazine from my wife.


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