State of the Industry: Resilient Rental Industry Ready for 2022

2022 is an exciting year to be in the rental business. In this article, ForConstructionPros talks about industry trends, growth trends, and upcoming challenges to the rental industry.

Quipli’s CEO Kyle Clements talks gives his perspective on the top movements in the industry for the year:

●     The power of the internet

●     Empowering local entrepreneurs

●     Focus on utilization

Read more on the full article:


Kyle Clements is the founder of quipli, a business that helps take equipment rental businesses online. Kyle is relatively new to the industry, however to fast track his knowledge interviewed over 100 equipment rental businesses to find out whether or not they wanted an online store front, and what the business requirements would be. We dive into the results, while talking about general advice around the topic of e-commerce and the equipment rental industry.


Right now, approximately 20 percent of your existing and prospective customers would prefer to do business with you online as opposed to by phone or in person. Ten years ago, that number was closer to zero percent. Ten years from now, that number could conceivably reach 80 percent.

Driving this upsurge will be consumers who belong to the Millennial and Generation Z age groups. You have been serving more and more of them in recent times and that trend is only going to continue.

Inasmuch as these younger generations are destined to become the dominant demographic making up your customer base, it will pay to start pleasing them now — and what will please them most is the ability to make reservations entirely online, whether by computer or with a smartphone.

Younger customers — whether they are interested in renting for commercial work or for home DIY projects — want the same things from you. What they want is convenience and a satisfying experience. Accordingly, the equipment and event rental industry needs to embrace the “one-click” generation.

Add an online renting capability. In order to successfully serve the one-click generation, you’ll need to acquire the online renting capability your younger customers are eager to utilize.

You don’t need to go full, but you do need to mimic Amazon’s convenience. Your online customers should be able to easily log into your system, quickly find desired equipment and accessories, place them into a virtual cart, sail over to checkout, and then breeze through the remainder of the transaction.

Chances are that you already operate a website to promote your business. If so, then you have the necessary foundation for adding a backend system that permits you to offer online renting.

Any such backend system you acquire will need to provide these features:

  • Optimized SEO capability.
  • Access to the cloud.
  • Virtual shopping cart.
  • Plenty of checkout functionality.
  • Robust payment gateway.
  • Electronic signature collection.
  • The ability to upload proof of insurance.
  • Customer access to orders via a password-protected portal.
  • Automated email confirmations, reminders and other notifications.
  • Integration with your existing system to permit management and approval of incoming online orders.

Those system features will provide your customers a powerful option to the old-fashioned way of obtaining needed equipment — namely calling on the phone and inquiring as to whether a particular piece of machinery is available on a specified date, then verbally relaying required information in order to secure a reservation.

How might those who value convenience over all else respond if you’re unable to, for whatever reason, take the call and it goes to voicemail? Given the choice of twiddling their thumbs while waiting for a callback or contacting your competition — a rival that offers the instant gratification of renting online — you can rest assured that most Millennials and Gen Z customers will pick the latter.

Many enterprises address this missed-call problem by hiring extra staff. The deficiency with that strategy is it increases overhead and eats up profits. Online renting, on the other hand, is a solid solution to perennial labor shortages in that it allows you to maintain your service levels with fewer employees.

Also, let’s assume the customer was able to connect with your staff by phone. Afterward, the customer must physically come to your office and complete the paperwork process as well as give you a cash deposit. For the customer, this call and trip represent potentially a couple of hours of time lost.

Adjusting current processes to an online world. The bread and butter of rental companies is providing a high-touch, consultative service to ensure that renters can use the right tool for the project — not what they think is the right tool. Oftentimes, renters come into a store thinking they need one thing, when in fact they need something else entirely. However, thanks to your expertise, they’ll avoid much headache and frustration.

In the short term, it may be helpful to view online rental requests as the starting point of your relationship with your customers. This is especially true when you’re dealing with first-time renters. For them, it can be helpful to institute processes whereby you’ll call them and confirm their order to ensure they’re renting exactly what they need.

Longer term, technology is well-suited to remove these phone calls and further streamline the rental process. Think of Trunk Club as an example — shoppers are asked a series of questions related to their personal style, size, use case and budget, which are then curated to enable the system to make wardrobe recommendations. Digital decision trees like this already are being used in other business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions, and it’s completely feasible to layer them atop the already great online renting experiences available today.

Online renting’s biggest advantages. Beyond cost savings and streamlined operations, a key advantage of online renting is that customers feel they have greater control over the process. They can fill out the forms at their pace rather than at yours. Once the initial account is set up, subsequent transactions are even easier, which leads to more frequent rental transactions. In addition, by having your catalog easily accessible online, customers can browse more efficiently and rent things they didn’t know they needed until they see it presented to them online.

Still, the biggest advantage of online renting is the substantial improvement in the quality of the experience delivered to the customer. Online renting technology gives your market another channel through which it can interact with you. The more channels available for interaction, the stronger your position is within that market.

The top rental businesses — United Rentals, Sunbelt and The Home Depot — have each built their own online renting platforms. Independents, meanwhile, have fallen behind because they lack the millions of dollars to invest in developing their own versions of the systems operated by the biggest players. For this reason, increasing numbers of smaller outfits are turning to plug-and-play technology — affordable yet customizable software developed for the express purpose of letting them compete against the industry giants.

If you decide to introduce e-commerce to your business mix, look for a platform that can translate your brand, customer loyalty and expertise into a highest-quality online presence. In other words, choose a platform that enables you to be outstanding — the very essence of an amazing rental experience as Millennials and Gen Z would define it. 

Kyle Clements is the founder and CEO of Quipli, Oakland, Calif., a maker of advanced software that lets independent rental companies accept customer orders and receive payments online, as well as gain unprecedented control over rental inventories, scheduling and much more. For more information about the company, visit Booth No. 8007 at The ARA Show™ 2021 in Las Vegas or go to


In this episode of Rental’s The Bottom Line, Editor Alexis Sheprak sits down with Kyle Clements, founder and CEO of Quipli, and Mckena Voshell, business development at Quipli.

In this episode of Rental’s The Bottom Line, Editor Alexis Sheprak sits down with Kyle Clements, founder and CEO of Quipli, and Mckena Voshell, business development at Quipli, to talk more about the company, their mission, why companies need an online presence, and more.

Rental’s The Bottom Line features conversations and interviews with subjects from around the industry that pertain to the challenges, questions, goals, and tips that business owners want to know about.


Rental customers are showing a preference for making equipment rental arrangements on the internet. Here are reasons why you should add online/e-commerce renting as a complement to your traditional way of doing business.

Renters come in many flavors. As such, not all want to interact with you in the exact same way. Some want to do business by phone. Others want to deal face-to-face.

However, convenience-oriented customers are increasingly showing a preference for making equipment rental arrangements on the internet. Their desire is to use a computer, tablet, or smartphone to digitally select the rental equipment they need and then fill out the necessary forms, submit required documents, and tender payment—all electronically.

This should come as no surprise, since the number one way that prospective renters discover enterprises like yours in the first place is through Google and other Internet search platforms, according to a report presented at ARA RentalTech 2020. Another source (ahem, Rental) calculates that as many as 97 percent of consumers now go online to locate suppliers of the goods they seek and, further, that as many as 80 percent of them expect to be able to view products online before making a transaction decision.

If you yourself own an Internet-connected device, then you very likely already know what online shopping and e-commerce are about. But in case you’ve been living as a castaway on a deserted island for the past 25 years and are just now making your way back to civilization, here’s what’s changed: consumers are now able to fully patronize businesses without stepping foot inside a physical store, showroom, or sales office. Thanks to technology, today’s consumers never have to leave the comfort of home to browse the aisles, compare prices and quality, make reservations, and pay the bill.

Indeed, one of the biggest reasons why you should add online/e-commerce renting as a complement to your traditional way of doing business is that consumers love and expect it. A second major reason is that your competitors are adopting it and, with it, positioning themselves to leave you in the dust.

The top five equipment rental companies have seen the writing on the wall and, consequently, now offer online/e-commerce renting in concert with an array of associated cyber-services. United Rentals, for example, reported recently that its digital accounts were multiplying at double the rate of the traditional type (United Rentals Q2 Investor Presentation). Then there’s Home Depot, another company with a massive online rental presence. Its customers can now use the Internet to rent equipment and electronically arrange for pickup from any of the chain’s 1,300 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Quality of the User Experience is Key

You can join the market leaders and make the move to online/e-commerce equipment rentals relatively easily, provided you already use computers to help you operate your business (if not, you’ll need to start from scratch, but, fortunately, going from zero to automated is in and of itself a simple and straightforward process these days).

Success with online/e-commerce renting hinges first and foremost on your ability to offer your customers a quality experience every time they pay a virtual visit to your business. It starts with your website. It needs to be fully modern in appearance, easy to navigate, and delightfully functional, regardless of whether the visit is conducted using a desktop computer or a pocket-sized mobile device.

Also, your website needs to be optimized for search so that consumers using Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other services will be able to find you when they go looking online for rental equipment.

Additionally, you’ll need to install a rental platform on your computer – ideally one that’s cloud-based that provides:

  • A virtual shopping cart
  • Plenty of checkout functionality
  • A robust payment gateway
  • Electronic signature collection
  • Proof-of-insurance upload capability
  • Customer access to orders via a password-protected portal
  • Automated email confirmations, reminders, and other notifications
  • Integration with your backend system to manage and approve incoming online orders

Recognize that rental e-commerce is unlike pure e-commerce (think Amazon), and as such, is more challenging to conduct. For example, while returns are a fact of life for both rental and pure e-commerce businesses, only in the case of the former is every transaction supposed to end with a return. That’s why you need to use an e-commerce system expressly designed for the equipment rental field — otherwise, you’ll struggle to deal with returns and the unique issues associated with them, such as the assessment and collection of fees for lateness and damage.

Do This Ahead of Cutting the Ribbon

However, before you stage a grand opening of your online/e-commerce operation, you should verify that users can look forward to a quality experience. Do this by putting yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor. You need to experience your site through their eyes and emotions.

A good way to begin is to have each member of your leadership team go online and visit your website. Have them test drive it. Afterward, debrief them by asking what they thought about the experience. What did they love about it? What did they find frustrating?

Use your leadership team’s feedback to modify your site accordingly. Once you’ve sanded off the rough edges, invite members of your family and trusted friends to try out the site and rent something from it. Ask them for their reaction to the experience. Ask them what they wish could have been better about it. Ask if they would have preferred to visit your store or office in person, and if so, why.

After analyzing their inputs and further modifying your site, visit the online/e-commerce site of a company in an adjacent rental industry. For example, run through the paces of renting a car from Hertz or Avis. Take note of how your experience there compares to the experience that awaits customers at your own site. Adjust your site further if doing so would improve the way your customers can interact with your brand online.

Finally, collect user stories about different rental experiences. Gather these from conversations you have with peers, colleagues, customers, and even random strangers you encounter while walking the dog or grabbing a coffee. This will help you detect opportunities that might enable you to serve your digital customers in new or improved ways.

E-Commerce: The Smart Play

If at present you utilize computer technology to monitor your inventories, keep track of reservations, and manage your books, then there’s no reason not to level-up your game by taking fuller advantage of your system’s capabilities—one of which is online/e-commerce renting.

By making online/e-commerce renting a focus, you can increase your potential for success as measured by number of customers, size of revenues, and—most important—profitability.

Online rental transactions represent one more tool in your arsenal for serving your customers. Consumers now shop online for practically everything. And practically everything can be acquired online. Shouldn’t those who patronize your enterprise be able to do business with you the way they prefer? The answer is a resounding yes.