The Editors Page: Planning for success
The Editor's Page: Planning for success
11/01/2012

My wife has owned and operated a small retail gift shop in LeClaire, Iowa, for a little over three years now. When I say small, it’s about 400 sq. ft. of retail space, which can pretty much be handled as a one-person operation. Yet twice a year, she closes down the shop or finds a friend to run it while she goes to Chicago for gift shows held at the Merchandise Mart.

It’s a chance to meet with sales representatives and manufacturers as well as see, touch and feel the variety of products before deciding to buy them and add to the store’s inventory. In a frenzied two days, she can check out hundreds of exhibitors and see what some of the latest trends are, order more of the shop’s best-selling items, find all kinds of new things that help keep the store unique and take advantage of show specials.

Those of you who go to The Rental Show know exactly what I’m talking about. Buying online, through catalogs or sell sheets just doesn’t match the power of in-person meetings and actually seeing the quality of the products before you buy them. Then there’s the opportunity to compare different brands and see thousands of products over the course of a few days.

My wife doesn’t go to this show alone. We plan ahead and I usually join her for the weekend. Another set of eyes and opinions can help keep impulse buying in check and potentially discover something the other person might completely miss. The results have been positive as her revenue and profits have been on the rise each year.

The equipment rental industry’s revenue growth is outpacing the general economy by at least four times. Manufacturers and suppliers recognize the increased importance of the rental channel to their businesses as the exhibit floor at The Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas was virtually sold out by September, much earlier than the last few years, with nearly 600 exhibitors ready to show off what they have.

That means planning ahead is what many of you also need to do for The Rental Show 2013, which is why you will find a new “planning” section related to the show starting on page 28.

In September, many of you should have received the 2013 edition of the Show Planner, a 64-page guide to everything you need to know about The Rental Show, scheduled for Feb. 10-13, 2013. Some of you, no doubt, already have registered for show, booked hotel rooms and flights, and are gearing up for the event.

If you haven’t, this section will serve as a reminder to do so now while there’s still time to take advantage of discount registration, good hotel rates through Travel Planners, the official hotel services provider for The Rental Show, and set up the best available flights or other forms of travel.

By planning now, the savings could make it affordable to bring more of your employees to the show. As part of our package, a story on page 35 focuses on how some rental companies have benefitted by bringing employees, including mechanics.

“The mechanics are a key group to bring,” says Terry Hagy, president and CEO, RentalMax, Wheaton, Ill. “It’s a huge benefit for them to talk to the manufacturers and talk about issues with machines. It helps in planning purposes as you look forward and look at a new category of equipment.”

Hagy goes on to point out that despite the cost of bringing employees to the show, they might ask one key question or see something that can help you make the right decision on which piece of equipment to buy that will end up providing a huge cost savings to your company.

Check The Rental Show planner, call Travel Planners at 800-221-3531 or visit TheRentalShow.com for more information. I’ll look forward to seeing you and your employees in Las Vegas.

Wayne Walley is editor for Rental Management, the official magazine of the American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. He can be reached at 800-334-2177, ext. 253, or 309-277-4253; fax 309-764-2747; wayne.walley@ararental.org.