Businesses survive tough market conditions by adapting and pivoting and the rental industry is no different. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted rental businesses across a broad spectrum of industries. Customer needs, behaviors, and priorities have changed as people have made unprecedented changes to their lives.
People are renting items for a whole range of new purposes which can facilitate their socially distanced lives. Take the example of renting work-out equipment instead of physically going to the gym. This trend is not just limited to individuals but also impacting entire industries.
Rental companies can benefit from this new/evolving set of market requirements by stocking up on items that they usually wouldn’t consider but are now seeing a surge in demand. If business has been slow because of the pandemic, consider pivoting or implementing a new rental business idea that can help get you over the slump.
Here are 4 rental business ideas you can implement during the pandemic.
1. Bicycles and fitness equipment
As people are forced to spend more time indoors, health and fitness have become a rising concern. Fitness routines are impacted and designated meal times at work and school are disrupted. It is harder to maintain eating discipline at home leading to unhealthy snacking. Not to mention the trend of sitting in the same spot the entire day.
With such a lifestyle people are worrying more about their health and this has spiked the demand for fitness equipment. In fact, the interest in fitness items has jumped up a staggering 943 percent compared to life pre-lockdown. Among such equipment, there is a particularly great demand for certain items such as treadmills, rowing machines, and standing bikes.
So why people aren’t just buying the equipment instead? Due to a supply chain constraint, currently, it is not easy to buy fitness equipment, such as pull-up bars and free weights, online. That is why renting is not only an easier option but also a cost-effective one.
Apart from in-door fitness equipment, people are also renting bicycles. People want to stay fit, they want to get out of the house, and they’re afraid of using public transport for their commutes. All this has led to a massive boom in bicycle demand over the last 2 months. However, the supply is not always able to keep up with this demand, which is why we see bicycle aisles at Walmart and Target swept clean.
Cashing in on this demand and the void in the supply chain, several rental stores are now renting out bicycles as well.
2. Do-it-yourself (DIY) technology
As people are forced to spend more time at home, they are taking this opportunity to complete pending tasks around the house. This provides a productive outlet for their pent up energy, Also, most folks feel good while doing something useful with their hands. The more time people spend indoors, the more time they have to finally start and finish the jobs they’ve been putting on hold for so long.
As a result of all these home improvement projects, there is a rise in the demand for DIY technology, such as pressure washers, nail guns, drills, saws, and other power tools. All these tools help with heavy-duty DIY projects, like building a treehouse or re-flooring your deck, etc.
Under normal circumstances, people might simply hire a professional to get the job done, but in the current circumstances, it’s preferable to simply rent the equipment and do it yourself.
Tip: If you’re a construction tools rental company, this simple rental business idea works especially well for you. Since you likely stock similar items such as chainsaws and hand drills, you can diversify to serve the DIY segment as well.
3. Laptops and computer accessories
Not everyone has access to a computer, which makes work from home and attending online classes difficult for them. Some people depend on their work computers or the computer lab at school to get things done. However, since that isn’t an option for a lot of people right now, they are renting laptops instead.
The IT equipment rental market is not just limited to laptops. People are also renting large monitors similar to the ones they might have at their workstation. This makes it easier to view things at an eye-level and on a larger screen, thereby reducing the strain on their eyes.
Apart from computers, there is also an increase in the demand for related accessories, such as a mouse and keyboard. Swiping across the laptop touchpad all day is restricting and having a mouse available just makes everything much easier. Similarly, a wireless keyboard is optimal since you can easily sit wherever you want and still get some work done.
Expanding your inventory to stock up laptops and accessories particularly makes sense for AV rental stores. They can benefit greatly from this rental business idea in the short and maybe even the long term.
4. Office furniture
While some rental companies are struggling in the pandemic, one segment that is still faring well is furniture-rental stores. There is a simple reason for it. Now that everyone is forced to spend more time at home, set up home offices, and also homeschool their children, there is a rise in demand for accompanying furniture well.
The CEO of a New York-based furniture rental company says “We are seeing a significant uptick in demand for work-from-home furniture as people continue to work from home”.
People are looking for office chairs and desks to make this period a little bit more comfortable, but since this is only temporary, they would much rather rent the items than buy them. There has been an increase in the demand for standing desks rentals in particular because this helps get work done while also taking care of health and fitness.
Which rental business idea are you going to implement?
Some of the ideas above may work well with your current rental business, for example stocking on DIY technology if you’re a construction company, while others might not fit in so seamlessly. Depending on how the pandemic has hit your operations, you can choose a rental business idea that you think works the best for you.
Another thing to consider is whether this shift is going to be permanent or temporary. If the new products end up doing really well, you might want to consider keeping them around on a permanent basis.
However, that means greater inventory to keep track of, which gets tough if you’re doing it manually. EZRentOut, a cloud-based equipment rental software, can help. EZRentOut offers companies in numerous industries seamless rental management along with a host of other features. These include asset tracking, maintenance management, customized webstore, and much more. Try us out today!