The first thing to mention is that I have experienced both sides of the rental ‘counter’ – both as a rental customer and as a someone who helps rental and other companies improve their business performance using mobile technology.
In 1994, I started a company for my wife, specialising in Christmas decorations and lighting services for large malls and airports. My wife ran the company on a daily basis – she was International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) qualified and often drove the access units. As an engineer at heart, my part-time support role was helping her with access at height, structural work and electrical planning.
Now, you can’t run a Christmas decoration company without access equipment. Christmas decorations are overnight operations, with little chance of catching-up during the day. It’s mostly outside working, with exposure to Scottish winter weather and there’s a different job every night or two, so a hold up on one job has an immediate knock-on effect on others. Jobs are strictly time limited, with sites having to be clear by 8am for malls and 4am for airports.
It’s nearing Christmas, late evening and I’m standing at a large mall in Edinburgh. I know the feeling of anxiety when waiting for delivery of an access platform that’s already two hours late and I’m wondering if it’s ever going to appear. Once it arrives, I have that sinking feeling when, after two hours operation, I realize that the battery charge in the scissor lift is far lower than it should be. Then, just as the job’s completed, the unit blocks the main passenger access route, because there isn’t enough charge left to move the damn thing off-site. On another job, in an international Airport, I see hydraulic fluid spilling from a leaking hose and a large stain appearing across the concourse.
On each of those occasions, I remember asking myself, “what on earth am I going to tell my customer” when I couldn’t keep my commitment, because my access equipment wasn’t delivered on time; the battery in the scissor lift hadn’t been fully charged, or a process inspection step to check for leaks had been missed. Of course, things go wrong with equipment, but the ones I remember, are the ones that could and should have been avoided.
Those rental companies I mentioned no longer count on my wife’s contribution to their revenue stream. I’m relying on my rental vendor. The No1 thing I’m looking for is confidence. Confidence that they’ll keep their promise. It all comes down to finding someone to trust - that’s what I care about as a rental customer.
Yes! This was one of my rentals!