Different strokes: independents must focus on core values

07 May 2008

Independent rentals companies must remember to focus on the core values that separate them from their competitors in the marketplace, says Tom Beraldo, president with Canada's Venetor, an aerials specialist in Stoney Creek, ON.

Independent rental companies typically face different challenges than do the public companies in the industry. Many have difficulty attracting and retaining quality employees.

Small independents simply cannot compete in today's tight labor market, nor can they provide the same opportunities for advancement that their public counterparts can. They also cannot compete with the buying power of a large public company. However, the greatest challenge they face is finding ways to continually add value for their customers so that they will be life-long customers.

Hands-on people

Independent rental companies have the unique opportunity to get to know their customers because, in many cases, they are “hands on” operators. Owners may take calls at the rental counter, work in the service department or make sales calls. In doing so they become familiar with their customers and their needs, providing personalized value added service in a way that public companies cannot. However, in today's market, independent operators are forced to justify their prices and quantify their added value in the face of increasing demands for cost savings.

Increasingly public rental companies are adopting aggressive pricing initiatives which result in substantial cost savings for their customers. These initiatives include free freight policies for specific projects, free sea container rentals and most significantly, rebate initiatives which provide customers with an annual cash refund based on spending levels. Locally we have seen some of our public competitors providing rebates of up to 5%.

Stay on track

In spite of this increasing focus on price reductions, independent rental companies should stay the course, differentiating themselves with our customer service and selling based on value instead of price. Today customers are outsourcing more than ever, seeking partnerships with dependable suppliers who provide exceptional service at a fair market price. With their more personalized approach, independent operators are perfectly positioned to leverage these partnerships and enhance their respective market opportunities. They have the opportunity to become trendsetters rather than price followers.

In the face of large corporations with aggressive pricing strategies, independent rentals companies must remember to focus on the core values that separate them from their competitors in the marketplace.

Build long term relationships with your customers by focusing all available resources on providing them with the best possible service each and every time they call. This will allow you to transform your relationship with your customer into a mutually rewarding partnership where both parties achieve their goals.

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