Message from the President: Make the most of your membership
05/03/2013

One of my favorite benefits of being an American Rental Association (ARA) volunteer is the opportunity to meet so many of you. I always enjoy the conversations as they relate to our industry, best practices and the ARA.

I learn a great deal from these discussions, but I am always surprised by the number of ARA products and services that seem to be what I collectively like to call the “best kept secrets” in our industry. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “I didn’t know ARA provided that.”

ARA supports rental store members and the industry in a variety of ways, but many of the products, services and programs provided can go unnoticed by our members. These valuable business resources were developed for members with input and direction from members. The feedback from members who participate in the different programs and services always is excellent. Unfortunately, many of us only go looking for a product or service when we have an immediate need. There are times that I am guilty of that as well.

Recently I had the privilege of attending ARA’s Party and Event Shared Interest Group (SIG) meeting at ARA headquarters in Moline, Ill. ARA SIGs serve the membership by advising the association on issues, programs, services and events. One activity of the committees is to review the different products, services and programs offered to members.

As I listened, I asked myself, “How can I better use these great resources in my business?” I have challenged myself and would like to challenge you as well to become aware of the many ARA products and services, and think about how we can implement and use them as a resource for our businesses.

The purpose of our association is promoting the success of our members. These products and services were developed to help you improve your business operations and increase your bottom lines. So, how do we use or implement these products and services in our businesses? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Rental U. These online videos can supplement your training program for new employees as well as competency training for existing employees. This is a great member resource that provides free streaming videos that are available 24/7 and suitable for both managers and employees. A wide range of topics are available with nearly 50 video choices.
  • Marketing Minutes. This free online series for ARA members available via ARArental.org can be used as a guide for developing a marketing program or, at the very least, an information resource to keep you informed of the best business practices when it comes to developing or enhancing your marketing program or strategies. The “Rent vs. Buy” module also can be downloaded to your website.
  • Winter Webinar Series. Archives of these winter webinars are available online at ARArental.org and can be used as part of your ongoing training for topics such as telephone skills and techniques or as a way to improve your knowledge of theft prevention and rental contracts.
  • Risk management and safety products. These can be incorporated into your business and used to meet the changing risk management requirements that affect your business, including regular safety meetings. Every rental business will find this information useful.

I have covered just a few of the many products and services that are available to every member, so now that you are “in” on the best secrets in our industry, make the most of your membership investment and utilize the tremendous resources provided by ARA. I guarantee their use will make your business better for you, your employees and your customers.

To learn about ARA products and services and see them in action, click one of the many links at ARArental.org, download or request the ARA Products and Services catalog, or call ARA Member Services at 800-334-2177.

Mike Blaisdell, vice president, Bunce Rental, Tacoma, Wash., is the 2013 president of the American Rental Association. He can be reached at 253-472-3347 or mikeb@buncerental.com.