Businesses can be hard to establish but startups are particularly challenging! There is so much for you to address, such as finding your target audience, deciding on the right location, raising capital – the list keeps going on!
Camera rental startups are no different. What exactly do camera rental businesses do? While the name suggests that they solely deal with renting out cameras, that isn’t the case. They don’t just offer cameras, but in fact, cover a variety of accessories as well – from lights to lenses, all of which are quite costly. That is exactly why this type of business demands significant capital because camera gear is pricey and you need sufficient stock to cater to potential clients.
The upside of the business is that there’s substantial demand for it, so you’ll be on the road to success in no time. In fact, the camera gear rental industry has consistently been experiencing an annual growth of 1.6%.
No matter what the event is, birthdays, parties, weddings and graduations, everyone needs to rent a camera to capture their best moments. This is why your camera rental business will always have customers drawn to it. Moreover, since AV gear is so expensive, that serves as a major reason why people often choose to rent such equipment.
If you’re worried about how to make your camera rental business a success, worry not because we’re here. Let’s dive in and look at ten ways you can make your camera rental business a success.
How to make your camera rental business a success
1. Keep the best inventory in stock
When you start off with your camera rental business, you have to focus more on quality than on quantity. It is important that you stock “in demand” cameras and accessories. This helps you better target potential customers that live in nearby areas.
But how are you going to gauge what is in most sought-after? A sure way is to carry out your own market research. Don’t trust what the internet tells you about what the most wanted camera gear is.
There’s no need to spend money on equipment that nobody will rent. This is why, instead, you should talk to your potential customers to understand what they’re looking for. Here are some questions to help you get started on your research:
- Are customers looking for basic or high-end items?
- Which brands do they prefer to rent out or think are better?
- What accessories are they most interested in (lenses, bags, flashes, filters, etc.)?
- How much are they willing to pay?
- What are their expectations from your camera rental business?
Based on your research, you must purchase the minimum viable inventory. Don’t spend all your money stocking up all at once. You can buy larger quantities later on once you know customers are reacting positively to the items available to them.
Keep in mind that whenever you purchase new inventory, you must make sure to get the best deals. Good cameras, lenses and other AV gear, such as light stands, flash triggers, tripods, and night vision equipment, are quite expensive. Therefore, it is a good idea to purchase used cameras instead as it can save you lots of money.
2. Showcase your products with an online store
Online storefronts are super important! Giving your business an online presence is guaranteed to take it to the next level. Not to mention, if you don’t have an online store then you’re missing out on a substantial amount of online orders.
The internet strongly impacts how people consume products and services. With a smartphone, it is easier and more effective to look for information online rather than going through the hassle of asking an individual or roaming around the market.
As an example, say you have a camera rental business in New York. Now, is your business going to show up in the online search results when a person types ‘camera rental business in New York’? Not if you aren’t focusing on an online presence!
With an online store, you can offer customers the option of renting gear online. They would be able to see your entire catalog from the comfort of their couch.
You can even go the extra mile and make online transactions possible for your customers. This offers ease and convenience to the customers. They won’t have to drive all the way to your store (especially when it’s cold!) just to try out your gear. They can book an order, pay the amount and schedule a pickup – all on your website. It really can be that easy.
3. Offer discounts and deals to attract customers
Seasonal discounts and deals are a sure way to loop in more customers! People usually look at discounts and deals as a chance to save money. They want to enjoy the service for a whole lot less. Customers simply love to make use of such an opportunity since they might not get the same service for a lesser amount the next time around.
For instance, you can offer different rental packages to professionals who require camera gear for bigger events. You can even bundle cameras with basic accessories for a lesser price and offer that bundle for wedding photography. Such a bundle is sure to do amazing during the wedding season.
Providing add-ons to your camera equipment is also a great idea. You can rent out video guides and sell films on the side. Also, build a better relationship with your returning customers through discounts. You can offer your loyal customers special discounts to keep them coming back. On the whole, this helps to increase your customer base and loyalty.
Apart from the discount types above, you can also offer free shipping on important occasions. Free shipping is the number one reason why customers prefer online shopping. The important occasions can be anything from national holidays to the annual sale season around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
4. Create watertight agreements
Nobody likes to get into an argument with their customers. This is why it’s important that you and the customers are always on the same page. Create a watertight rental agreement that clearly answers all the important questions that could create any confusion.
Here are all the frequently asked questions that your customers should know the answers to:
In addition to these questions, you must keep a copy of these terms and get it signed by your customers when renting out equipment to them. A key best practice is to not write anything in a small font. Do not make it hard to read for your customers. Your goal shouldn’t be to confuse your customers, but instead to accommodate them by clearly defining everything.
It is important that these written conditions are thorough, well-defined and easy to understand. Drafting these contracts before starting off your camera rental business is going to protect your company from unwanted liabilities.
5. Use the power of social media
Social media has changed the way companies market their brands and how they interact with customers. Promoting the business on social media is now a key component of every company’s marketing plan. It’s hard to exist in today’s world without having an online presence.
Social media also gives you a vast variety of options on how you want to market your business. You can make use of exciting videos and great visuals to promote your services.
Furthermore, you can easily add links to redirect viewers from your social media accounts to your online store. Many businesses now engage with their customers through social media, conducting games and polls through their posts. These are simple yet engaging ways to get your customers talking about you and interacting with you.
The same method can be used to showcase the deals you offer. There are various social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, that you can highlight your offers on. But Facebook takes the lead in this regard since it is after all the largest social community.
An important thing to keep in mind is that not every social media channel works for everyone. Where and how you market yourself depends entirely on your business model. Another aspect to consider is which online platforms your target audience use the most. For example, if you’re aiming to market to direct customers, then social media posts on LinkedIn doesn’t exactly make sense!
Social media platforms are the best place to find potential customers. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook allow both current and future customers to talk about your business. They can retweet and share your services.
You can enable customers to engage with you by leaving their queries. Additionally, you can draft and publish targeted ads on these platforms as well.
6. Apply for insurance
Your customers are your biggest liability – they put your rental camera gear at a huge risk. Customers oftentimes misplace, damage or lose the rental equipment and if you don’t have the right sort of insurance, you’ll have to bear the financial loss. This is undoubtedly problematic for every business. But it is especially horrifying for a camera rental business because camera gear is extremely expensive.
To protect your business against financial losses and any liability here’s a few options for insurance available:
a) General liability insurance
It protects you from legal and financial coverage in case of any lawsuits that may arise due to injury or damage to a person or property incurred through using your rental item. This insurance covers the claim up to a certain extent only, on the basis of a pre-determined agreement.
b) Property insurance
This is a highly customizable type of insurance. It can cover everything from commercial property to all the contents inside it in case of any natural disasters, theft, and even weather damage in some cases.
c) Workers’ compensation insurance
It protects your business in case an employee incurs an injury on the job or falls sick due to work-related exposures. The insurance covers the employee’s salary as well as the money going towards settling expenses associated with the injury, such as lawsuits.
d) Conversion insurance
This type of insurance covers businesses in cases of theft by the customer. Note here that “theft” also means instances where customers neglect to return the rental equipment back to the company, whether willingly or otherwise.
7. Adopt rental inventory tracking software
Running a camera rental business without adequate rental management is a true struggle. You have to track your inventory manually, take orders and send your gear for maintenance yourself, and so much more.
Some businesses still greatly rely on spreadsheets and have bundles and bundles of paper files to track all their orders. Clearly, this is an inefficient system that is time-consuming, to say the least. So, what is the solution to all these inefficiencies?
To streamline your rental processes and reduce item mismanagement, you should look into finding appropriate rental tracking software. That will help in a myriad of ways, such as automatically restocking inventory such as batteries. In short, you will save time and energy by automating tasks with rental software.
Apart from these major benefits, there are several others as well too. You can set up alerts to send to your customers when their rental return date is approaching. Similarly, maintenance alerts can help remind you of when an item is going out for maintenance so you can’t rent it out during that time.
EZRentOut: The perfect fit for your camera rental business
Without a doubt, a camera rental business comes with unique challenges and needs. Equipment rental software that simplifies those challenges is not just useful – it’s essential for your rental business. EZRentOut is an online rental software, used extensively by organizations and small businesses globally.