The entire rental industry is huge as it comprises numerous rental niches all joined together by one concept: customers pay to borrow equipment, then give it back, allowing the business to make a much higher return on investment than if they had simply sold the equipment. That’s partly why rental businesses can make so much money, but there is a lot more to it. Here at Rentrax, we regularly post rental business advice on our blog, so please check it out if you’re looking for more specific information. This time, we decided to write something a little more substantial; this is a list of 15 fantastic rental business ideas to inspire the budding entrepreneurs out there. If you’re considering starting a business, this guide might just convince you to make it an equipment rental business!
Note: If anything here does inspire you and you’re looking for the right software to empower your business, you can book a free Rentrax demo to talk to one of our experts.
1) Start a Wedding Rental Business
At the time of writing, most countries are still in COVID-19 lockdowns, which means that there is a huge backlog of couples waiting to get married. The good news is that wedding rental businesses were on the rise even before the pandemic, so business is due to increase exponentially in the near future. Wedding rental businesses can offer any number of inventory for weddings, with everything from marquis tents and outdoor heaters to tables, chairs, and any wedding furniture you can imagine. A good wedding rental business will slot itself easily into the wider wedding plan, offering essential wedding equipment as the main products and fancy little extra flourishes to offer as upsells. The wedding industry arguably relies more on reviews and word-of-mouth than anything else, meaning that going the extra mile with your wedding rental business could make all the difference between struggling to get by and skyrocketing to success.
2) Start an Event Rental Business
Wedding rental businesses could be seen as a very lucrative offshoot of the wider event rental business. It might be a good idea to broaden the scope of your rental products to include a wide range of events. You could focus on business events and conferences, supplying everything from chairs, tables, whiteboards, and AV equipment. Or you could lean more towards party events, renting out photo booths, ball pits, inflatables, and anything else guaranteed to draw a smile from any party goer, both young and old. Check out our party rental software page.
3) Start a Bike Rental Business
Rentrax actually started out as a bike rental business (a business that continues to prosper). We tried so many different kinds of rental management software, only to discover that none of them could do everything we needed them to. So we created our own and realized we had made something more rental focussed and helpful than anything else out there. But back to bike rentals… This niche can be very lucrative if you learn the right number of bikes to keep and the right balance of types of bikes and bike equipment. Cycling is becoming more and more popular — with the global bike rental market expected to reach USD 4.00 billion by 2025 — and there are several smaller niches within the industry, so there’s plenty of room for small specialist businesses. Check out our bike rental software page; you might also like to read our guide on how to start a bike rental business.
4) Start an E-bike and Segway Rental Business
We’ve grouped these two together because they are all motorized vehicles, but each of these could be their own rental business idea — or grouped in with a bike rental business. That’s the same with many rental niches: if you think of a clever or helpful way to group one or two product ranges together, then do it. Just make sure that the combination makes sense, otherwise you’ll have to split your marketing and messaging to sell radically different products. E-bikes and Segways are the perfect way for tourists to explore a new city, making them ideal for tour operators both making tours and renting out tourism products on the side. If this interests you, take a look at our fully customizable tour operator software.
5) Start a Car Rental Business
It’s no secret that the car rental industry is huge, but many people assume that the few huge multinational companies have a monopoly on the car rental industry. But this simply isn’t the case. Lots of smaller car rental businesses do very well; you just need to find something that distinguishes you from the largest companies who spend millions on advertising and marketing. Whether you offer specialist or otherwise niche cars, an additional personalized service, or some other unique selling point, the car rental industry offers so much potential for those willing to compete for their fair share of the market.
6) Start a Furniture Rental Business
The furniture rental industry is probably much bigger and more lucrative than you first imagine. For people who move home regularly, it makes much more sense to rent furniture rather than buying and transporting it to each new place. It also allows users to always have the best sofas, swapping them out whenever they want a new look. Furniture rentals are also ideal for event management, such as weddings and corporate conferences, so some companies end up overlapping in these areas. If this is how you develop your furniture rental business, look for software and a premises that complement both niches. Find out more on our furniture rental software page.
7) Start a Medical Equipment Rental Business
The medical equipment rental industry is flourishing (due to reach USD 68 billion by 2024), but there is plenty of room for more businesses to get involved. Choosing between different kinds of medical practice is perhaps the biggest decision to make, such as dentistry, veterinary medicine, hospital equipment, etc. Talk to local practices in your area and find out their pain points; consider that many medical practices will consider monthly payments for rental properties a lot more appealing than paying in full for equipment — so it’s often an easy sell! If you’re interested, read our guide to starting up a medical equipment rental business or just go straight to our medical equipment rental software.
8) Start a Ski and Snowboard Rental Business
Skiing and Snowboarding will always be popular, but even enthusiasts who go on several ski holidays each year, understand that they are seasonal activities, and this means that there are huge stretches of the year when people simply can’t use their skiing or snowboarding equipment. This is part of the reason why the winter sport equipment rental industry is so lucrative as the seasonality discourages many people from buying their equipment. However many people also opt for renting ski and snowboarding equipment because they want to use the very best equipment, and renting the best gear is much more feasible than buying it. It can also be a good idea for a more summer-focused rental company (such as bike rentals) to diversify their offering, using ski rentals in winter to maintain their revenue stream in their low season. If you’d like to learn more, check out our ski and snowboard rental software page.
9) Start a Dumpster/Skip Rental Business
There perhaps isn’t anything surprising we can tell you about a dumpster or skip rental business, except to say that this is a service people will always need, with everyone from builders, gardeners, home renovators, and people moving to a new house all needing access to a convenient dumpster hire service. If you get your marketing just right, you can easily jump ahead of the competition in your area as dumpster and skip hire services often rely on word of mouth and referrals as opposed to well-managed SEO and social media campaigns.
10) Start a Tool Rental Business
Tool rental businesses can be very successful if you’re willing to build up your inventory slowly and carefully, working out exactly which items you need 30 copies of and which items are unique enough that you only need to stock one. Keeping your stock lean at the beginning, adding in new items as and when you need them, is a great way to grow at a sustainable rate, without needing too much initial investment. Most tools are built to last, but your customers will still put your merchandise through the wringer on a weekly basis, so it’s important to make sure your inventory management software allows you to schedule maintenance checks. Rentrax’s tool rental software does this. It also offers the ability to monitor how much money each item has generated over time, allowing you to set upper thresholds where you can sell tools once they’ve earned a certain level above their initial investment cost but before they’re so well used that they won’t sell for a decent price.
11) Start a Camera Rental Business
Starting a small camera rental business could be an excellent option for any professional photographer with more than enough photography equipment for their own use. Be careful, though, your camera rental business could offer so much value that you forget about photography altogether, becoming a full-time rental business… Many businesses and projects require high-quality photography and/or videography equipment, but only for brief windows of time, making renting the best possible option. If you’d like to know a little more about how software can really improve your camera rental business, making it easier and more profitable, check out our AV rental software page (this page also includes the next rental niche on our list).
12) Start an Audio Equipment Rental Business
While audio equipment is grouped in with photography equipment on our website, they can be radically different industries depending on your inventory’s main focus. For example, you can specialize in audio equipment for events, connecting more to wedding rentals than to anything else. Or you can specialize in local music events, receiving commissions for large public music and festival events. The scale and scope of your audio equipment rental business is completely up to you; this is a vibrant industry with many viable niches that allow small and medium-sized businesses to flourish!
13) Start a Stroller/Pram Rental Business
A stroller or pram rental business can be an excellent investment if you think a little carefully about how you’re reaching customers. One angle is to offer strollers in places that offer maximum convenience. For example, there are often stroller rental businesses in theme parks that can generate a considerable amount of revenue as parents are perhaps on holiday and don’t have a larger stroller or, indeed, a car to transport it. Another option is to rent strollers at a lower price as a genuine option for parents who would rather rent high-quality baby equipment rather than buying it outright. The way you pitch and market these two possible stroller/pram businesses is very different, but both can be very profitable. You can also take this idea further by adding in various other kinds of baby equipment!
14) Start a Costume Rental Business
When marketing well, costume rental can be incredibly profitable — especially around key times of the year. Santa costumes around Christmas will always be popular, as will Easter Bunny costumes in Easter. And if you’re in a country where Christmas and Easter aren’t celebrated, we’re sure there will be several key times of year where some kind of costume will be particularly possible. In North America and Ireland, England, and many other countries around the world, Halloween is the ultimate peak time for costume-rental businesses. As long as you have plenty of stock ready and have marketed your brand well enough, then you may even be able to make enough money over this period to make up for slower seasons. The main issue with costume rentals is that there are often several parts to the costumes, making it hard to track whether all your items are returned. This is where a truly powerful inventory management system comes in as Rentrax allows you to edit and personalize your SKU-based system, allowing you to easily keep track of different kinds of costume rental items.
15) Start a Trailer Rental Business
A trailer rental business is actually surprisingly secure, as long as you’re close enough to a large customer base to generate plenty of revenue. This is because most ordinary people would never require the use of a trailer often enough to actually buy one themselves — instead, simply renting one is almost always the better option. Most people also don’t have enough space on their driveway to even accommodate a trailer. But landscaping, moving house, DIY work, and various other events will all require the use of a trailer. Come up with a snappy name and spend a little time working on your brand — do this and you’re onto a really great business idea!
How to Make the Most of your Equipment Rental Business
So, we’ve covered fifteen different kinds of equipment rental businesses, and we may come back to add more later. No doubt one or two businesses on this list stood out to you more than the others, and now you’re trying to figure out how to make them work for you. Well, we’d like to offer a few pointers to help you make the most of your equipment rental business.
Your Website is VERY Important
This advice will hold for most businesses, but it’s still worth noting here. Even if you aren’t relying on online sales, potential customers will still want to check you out online. If you’ve put a little time and care into making a good-looking site that is clear and easy to navigate, then everyone who wants to check online to make sure you’re a decent company will be convinced. In this way, your website is your ultimate sales tool. And it can be made even better with some basic SEO. However, we don’t have time to go into how to do this now as the topic deserves a blog (or two) all to itself. Suffice it to say that people Google nearly everything they want to buy — even if they don’t intend to buy it online. So ranking high on Google’s results pages is hugely advantageous.
Your Rental Software Can Add Lots of Value
Good rental software can be one of your greatest assets. There are some free rental software options, but most people who have tried both the free options and the higher-performing paid software options seem to agree that good software saves so much time and empowers your business so much that the paid option is significantly more worthwhile. There are too many intelligent features to list everything here, so check out our Rentrax rental software features page for all of the details. Otherwise, here’s a list of some features that may interest you:
- Native waiver: Rentrax has a native waiver function that protects the customer and the business. There are many third-party waivers that can be integrated into rental software, but it’s much simpler just to have a native waiver.
- SKU-based inventory: We have created a detailed SKU-based inventory management system enabling you to give your customers a wide range of features to choose between. Of course, the complexity of this depends on your rental niche and your inventory.
- Sales features: Sales and booking features are also built into our equipment rental software. Rentrax allows you to have sales and rental software as part of the same system. It saves money and time when you have both of these features in one place.
- Marketing features: Rentrax also allows you to offer special deals to previous customers, both by email and SMS. This could be achieved on separate software, but it would cost more money and more time.
- ROI Tracking: Our inventory management tracks when your rental assets have earned over the initial cost of investment, allowing you to sell stock after it has more than paid for itself. This refreshes stock in the most efficient (and profitable) way possible!
Reviews and Marketing are Key
There’s no point in having the best equipment rental business idea in the world if no one knows how good your service is. Just as SEO is important, so too are local sales, paid advertising, and any other activity that helps you get the word out about your brand. With only a few exceptions (depending on your rental niche), a good collection of customer reviews is the most important factor for any rental business’s success. This is because people are naturally wary of online businesses, so they use Google to find reviews left by previous customers. Reviews work better than testimonials as reviews are usually on third-party websites, making it much harder for companies to manipulate what people are saying about them. Whichever equipment rental niche you operate in — or plan to operate in — make sure you ask happy customers to leave reviews.
That’s all we have time for today. We hope we’ve given you plenty to consider, whether you’re simply dreaming about starting an equipment rental business or trying to develop one that already exists. We’ve included a lot of information in this resource — including a lot of information about our rental software features. If you’d like to ask some follow-up questions, please feel free to get in touch. Please also feel free to schedule Rentrax a demo with one of our experts!