Rental Challenges in the Audio Visual Industry And How To Solve Them

Key Rental Challenges in the Audio Visual Industry

The global Audio Visual (AV) industry is set to grow from $247 billion in 2019 to a staggering $325 billion in 2024. AV rentals constitute a significant chunk of this industry and play an important role in its growth as well. Audio Visual equipment is typically found across several sectors, from media and production houses to educational institutes renting out items to students.

With constantly advancing technology and increasing equipment prices in the Audio Visual industry, many people are now opting to rent out cameras and tripods, etc. This is why AV rental stores have also become more prevalent.

They cater directly to customers wishing to rent out different sorts of Audio Visual equipment. Photography gear rentals are the most prominent example of such rental stores.

Despite quickly rising to popularity, rental businesses in the Audio Visual industry face many challenges. Dealing with high-ticket AV equipment isn’t easy and even the slightest mismanagement can hurt your bottom line.

Drawing from the experiences of our customers in this sector, here are some of the overarching challenges that most AV companies face with their rental operations.

  • Unexpected equipment breakdowns
  • Inefficient management of sub-rented items
  • Lack of an online store
  • Time-consuming manual processes

All these challenges can easily be dealt with. The trick is to search for appropriate ways to remove any inefficiencies with the current system.

Let’s dive deeper to get a better understanding of the prevalent AV rental challenges and how some companies overcome them.

1. Inability to fulfill orders due to equipment shortage

It’s wedding season and almost all of your Nikon d5300 cameras have been rented out by now, and that too at a fairly decent rental rate. Then comes along another client at the very last-minute, in need of that particular camera. You say “Sure, no problem!” because why would you, an AV rental store, not have that camera. You run back to your storage to check your inventory in hopes of miraculously finding one lying around.

But no luck! What can you do but let the customer go?

And that’s exactly what most rental companies in the Audio Visual industry do. They end up letting go of huge profits simply because they don’t have those particular items in stock at that moment. Ultimately, this leads to customer dissatisfaction because the company isn’t fulfilling their orders. It all starts going downhill from there.

Types of Audio Visual equipment

To cater to such unexpected demand, companies opt to make comprehensive spreadsheets of all their available equipment. This way, they will always know how many items are currently rented out and how many they can still promise to last-minute customers. It sounds like the problem has been solved!

Here’s the punchline: It hasn’t.

Manually logging in and keeping track of rental orders leads to inefficiencies of its own. For starters, the system takes up an unnecessary amount of time. Spreadsheets, or even keeping tabs of equipment movement with pen and paper results in equipment mismanagement and loss.

In addition to this, a manual system means greater chances of human errors while entering and updating data. The spreadsheets might show you that you still have a single Nikon d5300 lying around when you really don’t. Also, spreadsheets offer limited functionality so eventually you will have to upgrade to a more advanced solution, like rental management software.

The solution: Sub-renting

One way to deal with equipment shortage is sub-renting. It enables AV rental businesses to rent/sell ad-hoc items and fulfill impromptu customer requests. However, since you’re dealing with high-ticketed rental items that don’t even belong to you, it’s imperative that you manage them well.

To do that, you can make use of EZRentOut’s Sub Renting feature. With this feature, you can add items to orders on a temporary basis. For example, let’s say a customer requests an item from your company. You rent the item from a third party for that specific order. You can add the item in as a sub-rental, temporarily on EZRentOut.

Once you return the sub-rental items back, they are not active in the system anymore. This automates the sub-renting process because you don’t manually have to change the state of each sub-rental item yourself. It also saves you from any potential orders you might have lost otherwise.

2. Lack of an online store

Everything these days is online, from shopping to booking services and anything in between. In fact, the United States is set to become one of the leading e-commerce markets by 2021. This is why it’s imperative for any company, big or small, to have an online store.

Webstore functionality

Sadly, this is something that most AV rental companies do not offer. There are many reasons why a company might not have an online presence. It could be because it doesn’t think it’s necessary. However,  most often than not, the reason is that companies simply don’t find a single platform that offers all the solutions they need.

If a company continues without an online store, it naturally misses out on huge amounts of potential orders. Whenever customers nowadays require anything, they go online and search for it. If your company doesn’t show up in the search results, you just lost yourself a sale.

Instead of letting go of the online market completely, most companies have this common workaround. They make do with paying software developers huge amounts of money to develop an online store for them. Then comes the hassle of maintaining their rental data both on the spreadsheets and the store since the two aren’t synced.

All this makes for a rather complex process. It sort of defeats the purpose of technology – to simplify processes instead of complicating them.

The solution: Webstore for online rentals

AV rental companies struggling to maintain an online rental store or still functioning without one need to invest in consolidated rental software.

The ‘consolidated’ part in consolidated rental software means it offers you a single platform to run your entire AV rental business. To translate that even further, it means having an online store that syncs with your rental data automatically, thereby greatly simplifying your tasks and saving you time.

Our customers in the Audio Visual industry find EZRentOut’s Webstore feature an ideal fit for this problem.

It enables you to rent out and sell rental items to customers, making the rental process more convenient. You can choose whether you want customers to sign up to use the store or simply place rental orders as guests. Customers can also pay online via Credit Card or PayPal for all their previous, ongoing or requested transactions.

AV rental companies can display their online catalog for customers to pick and choose from based on their needs. Schools renting out AV tools to students can also benefit from this user-friendly portal. Students can easily sign in using their campus IDs and place orders and request for AV items.

Read More: Webstore for Rentals: Setting up the Online Storefront in EZRentOut

3. Lengthy rental processes

Let’s say, you have a customer who’s renting out the following items for a beach photoshoot:

  • 2 DSLR cameras
  • 4 lenses
  • 3 light reflectors
  • 2 tripods
  • 6 SD cards
  • 2 rechargeable batteries

Now that’s a pretty long list of items. Adding all of them one by one to the cart will take a while. Customers are looking for easy and quick solutions. If they have to contend with lengthy rental processes, they’ll get easily frustrated. This trickles down to customer dissatisfaction and is never good for your business.

Furthermore, once the order is placed, you’ll have to go through your entire fleet in search of the above items. That alone is a time-consuming process. Don’t forget that beach photoshoots are fairly common. So you might have to do the same thing over and over again every time customers place such orders.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a common alternative to this problem so far. However, some companies in the Audio Visual industry choose to create bundles. These bundles are based on the information they have about customer orders in spreadsheets. This too comes with its own challenge though.

With spreadsheets, companies first have to sift through rows and rows of data to figure out what a bundle should include. They then need to find the location of all items in the said bundle. So, creating bundles isn’t enough as a stand-alone solution.

Bundles for Audio Visual items

The solution: Bundles in EZRentOut

EZRentOut facilitates the process of making bundles for its AV customers with its Bundles module. 

With Bundles, you can simply clump the items that you know are most commonly rented out together. For instance, you can create a ‘Beach Photoshoot Bundle’ and include the above items in it.

You can also use bundles as a promotional tool. So if you offer a discount during graduation season, you can create a bundle of relevant AV equipment and price them lower than normal. This not only simplifies the rental process but also works to attract more customers.

You can also edit bundles to keep them updated with the current demands of the market. If the Nikon d5300 goes out of demand and instead customers now prefer the Nikon d5500, you can even edit the bundle to include the latter.

4. Complex rental rates

You own an AV rental company and focus on renting out the following types of cameras:

  • Compact cameras
  • DSLRs
  • Adventure cameras
  • Camcorders

What’s your pricing structure like? Most likely, just like other rental companies, you adopt a single pricing per item structure. This means renting out DSLRs at $7 per hour and video cameras at $5 per hour. You might even create a mix of different time periods. For example:

  • DSLRs at:
    • $7 per hour
    • $65 per day
    • $320 per month
  • Video cameras at:
    • $5 per hour
    • $55 per day
    • $280 per month

Unfortunately, that is as far as the pricing structure goes if you continue doing it all manually. Sooner or later, errors are bound to arise in your bookkeeping. Tracking all the financials on paper or spreadsheets can only last you so long.

Furthermore, what happens when your customer base needs to rent out items for 3 days instead of a month? You’ll need to figure a way out to cater to these demands.

Rental rates

The solution: Advanced Rental Rates

To simplify your financials while providing the pricing structure your customers desire, you can make use of EZRentOut’s Advanced Rental Rate feature. This allows you to price by brackets, either at a flat rate or a variable rate. Each bracket represents a particular duration.

Here’s how you can price DSLRs using brackets:

  • $65 per day for 1 day
  • $55 per day for 1 to 3 days
  • $45 per day for any days more than 3

This feature comes in handy when you need to rent items out to students who need it for 2-3 days for a project and not an entire week.

Offering promotional deals is very common within the Audio Visual industry. You too can offer such promotions with the help of the Advanced Rental Pricing feature.

Let’s say you want to encourage customers to rent out your equipment for longer periods. You can do so by offering them promotional deals. So the more days they rent out the equipment, the less the rental rate becomes. Such a promotional deal can easily be set up in your system and automated with the help of advanced rental pricing.

Read More: Enabling Advanced Pricing in EZRentOut

Time to face these challenges head-on

Dealing with these Audio Visual rental challenges on your own can be a grueling task, especially when your current system is manual and takes up a lot of time. To help your customers get the perfect shot every time, you need to look for an AV rental solution solves all your challenges 

EZRentOut helps you save time by automating your rental processes. It also helps rake in more profits with its Webstore feature. You can finally tap into the online market and cater to a much larger audience.

With Advanced Rental Rates, your customers can rent out items for durations that are more suited to them. To top it all, you can keep track of all your vendors and easily manage sub-rented items until you return them back. So you don’t have to worry about losing potential orders anymore.

About EZRentOut

We are an Audio Visual rental solution that offers businesses seamless rental management. It also comes with a host of other features like asset tracking, maintenance management, a customized webstore, and much more. Try us out today!

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