Hardware Retailing

DEC 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | December 2017 56 Keep It Clean Just as your staff represents you every time they head out the door for a delivery, so do the products you rent. It's important to establish a routine for cleaning each item as it comes back from a rental customer so no item leaves the store dirty or in poor operating condition. Remember that each time your rental items show up at a party, they will be surrounded by a large group of people. For example, if the chairs or tents you rent are dirty and not well-maintained, they will reflect poorly on your entire business. Only buy the highest quality products for special events rental. Subpar products will only damage your reputation. Those items generally do not hold up to the rigors of repeated use, will wear out quickly, and customers will not be satisfied with the way they perform. In addition to buying quality products, also look for products that will appeal to a wide range of styles and tastes. For example, if you're renting dance flooring, choose a style that could be used for a variety of occasions. Stay classic and simple. Universally appealing styles and colors are the best choices for an assortment that will appeal to a wide audience. Be a Party Planner Customers who come to you for special event rental items may never have planned an event before, but they want their occasion to be perfect. And they want your help. "When a contractor wants to rent a tool, they usually want it that day," says Kempker. "When I get a phone call about someone wanting rental for a party, it's usually not about renting this week. They want to rent in three months. That first call just starts the conversation. They're likely to call several more times before the party with questions as they plan their event." Essentially, he's helping them plan the party. Customers tell him how many partygoers they will have at the event, and they ask for advice on how large of a tent they should get and how many tables they need. He says it's important to ask them plenty of questions to help them think through everything they might need. Kempker has a lot of different design options to offer his customers, so it helps to have someone running the department who has a designer's eye and a flair for style. "The customer wants their event to have the wow factor," he says. "They have their ideas about what

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