For the new entrepreneur looking to start up his or her first rental business it can be a crippling mistake to think that one must have a physical storefront for customers to visit.
My father and I ran our party rental business, Picnic Table Rental, out of our garage for years by delivering products directly to the customers. I am convinced that this is the best possible way to start a rental business, for four reasons.
1. Low Costs
The clear advantage to storing rental products in your garage is the cost savings. No rent payments, so you can keep more of your profits while you grow the business. Also, you remove the burden of missed rent payments for the storage space during any slow seasons.
With our business we decided to keep growing beyond what our garage could hold, so we eventually rented out a large storage facility and the business moved into its own building. For the first several years, though, the business did not have to bring in money each month to cover the rent for storage.
2. No Posted Hours
Not having a store that needs to be open at specific hours each week saves a lot of time and allows you to run the business on the side if you are already working another full-time job.
Customers can simply call to set up delivery for a rental and their calls can be returned during lunch break or in the evening. In my experience customers were fine with this setup, and it is much more efficient than keeping a building staffed all day.
3. Time Flexibility
Running a business from home not only removes the commitment of staffing a physical location each day, it also allows for a flexible working schedule.
At Picnic Table Rental If we wanted to take a vacation for a weekend it was easy to let inquiring customers know that we did not have any inventory available on those particular dates. With no store to staff and no deliveries planned, we were free to go on vacation.
Occasionally we would still deliver some rentals for that weekend when we went on a short vacation. Instead of delivering the items one day and picking them up the next, we would arrange with the customer to have the product delivered on Thursday evening and picked up on Monday evening while only charging them for one day. This allowed us to still bring in money for the business while also getting a weekend away.
4. No Commute
In the years when the business was run from our garage it was glorious to walk out of the house to the garage, load up the truck, and leave for a delivery.
When we rolled in late at night after a busy day we could park the truck and go to bed without having to stop at a storage facility first.
If we needed to do some cleaning or maintenance on our products we could fit that in between other tasks around the house.
These are small conveniences that I did not fully appreciate until we had a paid storage facility that was a fifteen minute drive from the house.
Keeping a Side Business a Side Business
In the end, running a rental business from your house offers conveniences that keep your side business manageable and prevent it from overwhelming you and your schedule.