While power tool rentals have been around for years, a world of peer-to-peer power tool rentals opens up new opportunities and new risks, both to the tool owner and the tool renter. For the tool owner, it may create untapped revenue streams, particularly during periods of low activity, or when a business has an underutilized power tool inventory. By comparison, the tool renter may be able to take advantage of the sharing economy to rent highly specialized power tools at lower rates than ever before. For smaller operations, this may mean access to tools they would have otherwise had to subcontract to another vendor.
For example, at Bosch Power Tools, the BH2760VC, BH2760VCB, or BH2770VCD Brute™ breaker hammers are often available as rentals. These are big specialty tools that not every contractor wants to or needs to own outright. Depending on the nature of the tool, it may make good business sense to rent it only when needed rather than making an investment in a specialized piece of equipment. Owners of such a tool may find that they don’t use a tool they’ve purchased as much as they originally thought, creating a business opportunity to rent their unused tool inventory.
LOOK FOR THE RIGHT FEATURES
Whether using a traditional power tool-rental provider or a peer-to-peer service, it’s important to select tools that are well made and functional—to the point of being intuitive. Look for tools that are easy to use, well-made, and ergonomic. Tools with those attributes keep people working longer and are repeatedly rentable, which makes it more valuable over the long haul to the owner.
Look for table saws and miter saws equipped with an easy-to-use and transport stand. For example, the Bosch Gravity-Rise™ stand. It comes with integrated expansion rails and supports, adjustable telescoping leveling legs for greater stability on uneven surfaces, a universal mounting system, and integrated rubber wheels for easy transport around the jobsite. For rental companies, table saws and miter saws equipped with these features are more portable and make loading or unloading a saw from a pickup truck easier—which makes these products great rentals.
Consider a tool’s various features and be sure to pass along the basics to users. Here are some things to consider:
Read the instruction manual. Every tool comes with operating and safety instructions, so provide them to your customer with every tool rental. Reading and understanding these instructions can make the difference between satisfaction and frustration when your customer operates a power tool. If any of your fleet is missing manuals, they can be replaced free of charge by calling the manufacturer or downloading the information from the manufacturer’s website.
Wear proper attire to do the work. Loose or baggy clothing and jewelry should never be worn while operating a power tool. Also, long hair should always be tied up. Any of these items might catch in a power tool’s moving parts and possibly drag the user toward the tool’s cutting element or edge. Wearing approved safety goggles and ear protection is mandatory.
Work in the right environment. Operators should work only in an environment that is free of hazards. It should be dry, well lit, and free of clutter and distractions.
Inspect power cords before operation. Prior to operating any corded tool, users should check that electrical cords are free of kinks, frays, or exposed wires. When renting a tool to a customer make this inspection part of the checkout procedure.
Examine the tool. Before powering the tool, make sure guards operate smoothly and quickly, switches function properly, and accessories are tightened in place. This is also something that should be inspected before the tool goes out as a rental.
Choose the right accessory. Like the tires on a car, the blade or bit on a tool is the only thing that stands between the operator and their work. If a blade is dull or not the right width, or a bit is stripped or worn, it can create an issue for the customer, not to mention ruin their work. Always select the right accessory for the job. Start by asking the customer about their anticipated application.
Position your body for best operation. Instruct customers to properly balance their footing and body position during tool operation, and to avoid overreaching. As with all power tools, the work being done with the tool should be at a comfortable level. Working above the head or below the waist can cause a tool operator to lose some strength and leverage over the tool. Working in an awkward position can result in slower reaction time in the event of kickback or a bind situation.
Use side-assist handles. Power tools are powerful machines. Manufacturers supply side-assist handles and secondary-grip handles on tools to give users optimal control because bits sometimes bind and blades can kickback. By using extra handles as outlined in the tool’s instruction manual, your customers can reduce potential exposure to injury.
Pay attention. When operating any tool it’s important to give it 100 percent of your attention. Being able to react is only possible if you know something is happening.
BUCK THE TRENDS. MAKE A BUCK.
The best financial minds advise to buy when others are selling. Power tool rentals often follow retail trends. As a result, tools may cost more in the spring, as demand returns, than they would in the winter. On the other side of the coin, most tools may go on sale in the spring as tool companies anticipate a surge in buying. While many contractors have adapted to this by spacing out their work or identifying inside jobs for cold-weather months, both tool renters and tool-rental providers may be able to take advantage of seasonality when it comes to pricing by choosing power tools that may be in low seasonal demand.
When renting tools, consider longer-term rentals that may offer a lower price. While many tools are available by the hour, they may come with better rates on daily, 3-day, or even a weekly basis.
Like any business, both tool renters and tool renter providers need to do their homework about the tools they’re offering, the tools they’re using, and how trends in tool rentals can potentially benefit their business. ■
About the Author: Tim Truesdale is a product manager, cordless, with Robert Bosch Tool Corporation. For more information, visit www.boschtools.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions – October 2016
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