Are you thinking about starting a gear rental business? Campeez is here to help!
It doesn’t matter whether you want to rent out RV’s, boats, offroad toys, even tents and other small items, our advice will help you make your rental business a success.
Test the market
For the sake of this article we are going to assume that you already have some outdoor gear that you want to start your business with. Now you need to figure out what the people are looking for. So how do you do this?
The best way to do this is simple, put it out in front of them. If you want to rent out your kayaks or canoes, make some listings. Try a few different approaches. One tent can be listed and presented multiple ways. Some ideas to try :
- Offer your items as a full service package. Try not just listing your tent but listing the whole camping experience. A fully set up campsite with everything the guest needs will get a lot more attention (and money!) than “Rent a Tent”
- Test different images. The pictures are the first impression potential guest have of your listing. Try using images that express the experience of using your gear rather than just a product image.
- Offer multiple items and link them together. We always recommend that you offer multiple listings. This gives more options to potential guests. Then in your listing link them together for package deals.
Professional market research can become expensive. Listing your rentals on Campeez.com can save you time and money. You do not pay to create or modify your listings. Test away!
Know when and how to expand your inventory
Understanding your guest and what they are looking for allows you to make better decisions about the gear that you buy. Don’t make the huge investment on a second boat or a new RZR just because you see a good deal. Know and test your market first. You can even contact other Campeez host in other markets and get a little feedback from them.
Don’t overspend on stuff in the start, use what you already own or buy your minimum viable inventory based on your research. You can even work out deals with local shops to list their equipment and split the profit. Once you get going you will be able to buy more of the equipment that is popular and or lucrative.
Get a deal when you do buy
I personally started and ran my rental business 100% gear I bought used. That is how I decided to rent out some stuff. I would find a great deal on a boat that I had to have, always thinking I would fix and flip, or sell it later. One problem, I really like toys! I still to this day own a $700 boat that I bought years ago. It is the best boat I have ever owned and is worth 10x on what i bought it for. By renting it out all this time it has become an asset rather than expense.
Make money on the buy!
Get your paperwork in order
This is the least fun topic to go over. I am not a lawyer, I am not an accountant. I do not offer financial advice, I am not a lawyer. do not use my opinion for anything. In fact do not read this even.
So here is my two cents.
- Get a good wavier and terms of service. There are tons of online resources that will do this for very little money. I have even heard stories of start up companies copying other businesses and changing the names to fit their business.
- Once you make a couple rentals get your LLC. It is worth it. Again there is a lot of online resources for this. My first two were done on Legal Zoom
- Get better insurance.Besides the needs of a regular business, a rental business has extra insurance liabilities. Your entire business depends on non-employees interacting with your equipment.
Create business pages for your company on all the major social platforms. Campeez.com is designed to make sharing your listing easy. But do not just fill your feed with adds for your shop. Social Media is how your guest will get to know and trust you. Put some personality into it. Some informational post, and about one in three post, promote your shop! Watch your messages and respond to them. I have closed more deals on Instagram DM than all of the other platforms combined. Pinterest can also be a game changer if you know how to work it!
Work with other shops
Ask yourself ‘What other products or services are my customers looking for?’
If you are renting out a tent by the lake, your guest might also want a boat. Reach out to host in that area renting out boats. Ask them to link your tent to their boat as an up sell and do the same for their boat. This will improve traffic for both of you.
Keep your stuff nice
Your business depends on your equipment – no equipment, no rentals!
That is why it is so important that you take good care of your equipment inventory:
- Regular maintenance – spot & fix potential problems before your customers do!
- Prompt and thorough repairs – fix any issues quickly and thoroughly so they don’t cause you more trouble in the future
- Cosmetic fixes – your equipment shouldn’t just work like new, it should look like new as well! Make sure you create a good impression for (potential) customers
Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you!
Be a great host
A five star rating is more than just being good. You need to be great
- Be more than just a rental shop –Your customers are coming to you for more than equipment. Many are first time campers. Or they have not had an adventure in many years. A little extra courtesy and care can take their fun experience and make it into something magical. When they tell their friends you can bet they will give you the credit for making the trip.
- Keep it simple – The easier you make the process the better it will be for everyone.
Treat every customer like you would want people to treat your Grandmother!
Communicate with your guest. Information is king. Do not over promise.
- How should the rental equipment be treated / what is acceptable wear and tear?
- When and where does the rental end and start?
- What should the customer do if something goes wrong?
- What are the penalties for damage, loss, theft, late returns, … ?
Keep these facts very clear.
You can never start a business if you don’t start. Go to Campeez.com create some listings and figure the rest out as you go! We are always here to help if you have any questions.