The first iPhone was introduced 10 years ago, which is why it’s so amazing to see how mobile devices (like smartphones) have changed the way much of the population lives and works. Maybe your rental store is not there yet, but it’s almost a guarantee many your customers are. Mobile is a part their daily lives; are you providing them with the mobile tools they want?
The work on the jobsite hasn’t changed for contractors, but the way they manage their time has. Contractors don’t want to spend their time calling around to get pricing information or line up a rental. Rental customers’ expectations have changed dramatically in the few short years since the first mobile apps were first introduced. Apps used to be a simple one to two function services or a more mobile version of a company’s website. Early rental apps were about providing contractors with information. They included things like a rental store’s list of locations and equipment catalog. The user would still have to call to make anything happen. Now, contractors want apps to be more like those found on a desktop computer but with ease of use that was introduced with those simple touchscreen early day apps.
Today, you need to be thinking about mobile first and the traditional website second. It’s where technology is going, and it’s where your rental store needs to be. As you plan and develop a mobile platform for your customers, it’s important to keep their time in mind. Anyway, the more you make your company faster and easier to do business with, the more likely you are to get more business. And since time is money, if you have a mobile app or platform that saves contractors time, you might gain some market share or charge a little more for those conveniences, at least until the competition catches up. Maybe this drives your transaction costs downward?
New rental apps are moving from informative to transactional. In addition to the basic information, contractors need to be able to rent directly from their mobile devices, extend or release equipment from rent, and manage their account with reporting capabilities.
For a mobile app to be able to serve all these functions, it needs to be integrated into the way you manage your equipment fleet, track machine maintenance schedules, monitor employee activities and maintain accounts receivables/payables.
The future is one platform designed and built for mobile to manage your internal needs, as well as to meet your customers' expectations. It may sound overwhelming, but that’s exactly the direction some rental companies are going.
Many bigger rental stores are building their own platforms. However, for smaller rental operations, there several rental software companies developing these types of tools for the industry. So, it may be as easy as finding a right technology partner and subscribing to a service.
No matter how you decide to offer your customers a mobile solution, it’s important to keep your customers’ needs at the center of those decisions and then incorporate it into how your team functions and operates.