Rental? No thank you

15th of September 2010

Anna Garbagna in Italy reports on how cleaning companies are not opting for rental when it comes to cleaning machines.

According to a recent survey carried out by AfidampCOM, unlike other market sectors, the cleaning supply chain does not generally use rental facilities. In the building trade for example, rental is considered an option, this is not true in the cleaning sector.

In fact in all other markets rental is considered to be the formula which allows expansion, creating loyalty among customers and giving them a tool to increase their business -  especially in difficult times.

Rental in fact allows businesses to take advantage of many  opportunities which otherwise would probably be wasted: for example, a dealer who specialises in rental could become relied upon by an ever increasing number of customers.

There are indeed situations in which the purchase of one or more machines would be too expensive while rental allows the use of a  machine only when it is needed and for the time that's needed: the ideal formula for not missing any opportunity.

Nevertheless, as shown by the results of the survey carried out by AfidampCOM on a relevant sample of building companies, in the cleaning sector rental has not yet penetrated the standard procedures of the cleaning chain except in sporadic cases.

It emerges that only 19.2 per cent of businesses admitted to resorting to rental to complement their business, while 80.8  per cent of the sample declared that they do not use this option because they never needed to (22.2 per cent), because it has never been offered to them or they have never found a reliable solution (5.6 per cent), or they were not interested (52  per cent).

The reasons of those who do not use this service are various: 16.5 per cent believe it is too expensive and there is not sufficient margin of profit; 77.7 per cent prefer to own their machinery, while 5.8 per cent do not have a definite opinion.

Based on this information, AfidampCOM’s conclusions have revealed a poor or incorrect knowledge of what rental is and how it can be used. The consequence is that it is not possible to take advantage of the opportunity for market development which could be offered by rental if it were used in the appropriate way.

Even people who rent machinery do not always have clear ideas:  52.7 per cent declared they only occasionally revert to rental, while just 36.9 per cent have adopted rental as an integral part of their business strategy.

As a result of this, as much as 81.6 per cent of those who rent, use rental for less than 50 per cent of their machine stock and only  7.9 per cent believe it is necessary to have more than 50 per cent of machines rented. Furthermore more than half of the professionals who use rental, only rent for short term contract jobs and prefer to purchase machinery for long term jobs.

The preference towards short term rental, for 65.7 per cent of the sample, is due to the need to meet special customer needs. It is generally not considered viable to seek out special work without the back-up of a stable machine stock.

The survey clearly shows rental in the cleaning sector, at least by the main operators represented by service companies, is not mainstream. Rental is generally experienced in a passive way and is not a common basis for new business opportunities. From this it's clear there is an urgent need for a cultural jump to open up new horizons.


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