16 Sep 2019

Your Rental Solution Could Be Harming Your Business

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Ever get the feeling that the salesperson you’re talking to is pushing you towards something you don’t need? That they’re more interested in their commission than helping you achieve your goal? That their attentiveness might dry up once you’ve handed over the money, leaving you stuck with something that doesn’t fix your problem and no proper support?

… We’ve all been there. 

It’s stressful enough worrying whether you can trust a vendor when you’re buying a TV or a car. When a bad choice could mean breakdowns and delays, millions of dollars in lost revenue or even putting your team in danger, the stakes get a whole lot higher. 

In this article, we’ll explain how and why working with generic rental companies can pose serious problems for your business - and how to identify ones you can trust. 

Do They Just Drop-and-Roll?

One of the biggest problems for organizations hiring temporary utilities or equipment is simply getting it set up and ready to use. 

Too many rental providers will simply take your order and deliver what you ask for. There’s little if any engineering involved and no effort is made to assess whether the units they drop off are actually the best fit for your scenario or site. 

As a result, you end up with problems like oversized or undersized generators, air-cooled chillers when a water-chilled one would be better, over-complicated or inefficient systems, or missing a key unit that could make all the difference to your project. 

Issues like these are expensive, wasteful and time-consuming to sort out. Your rental provider should be taking an advisory role as well as a sales one. They should take the time to talk through your exact needs to figure out the best solution and troubleshoot problems in advance. They should be willing to engineer a bespoke setup for you if needed - and they should stick around to help you get set up, checking everything’s working as it should. 

Without this level of personal attention, you could well hit a new set of problems as soon as they’re out the door.

Do They Offer Round-the-Clock Support? 

If you’re bringing in temporary equipment, chances are you’ve already run into production problems or equipment breakdowns. The last thing you need is to have the rental kit give you headaches, too.

Depending on the company you rent from, this can be a serious problem. While most companies will offer you some kind of customer support, it’s not always available 24/7/365. They may not have specialist engineers in your area that can be mobilized quickly in a crisis. Delays like these can become very expensive, very quickly.

As well as opting for a rental company with rapid response times, look out for those that offer remote monitoring services. 

These take support a step further by tracking the performance and power loads of every unit they rent out, to spot any niggles and jump in to diagnose and fix problems before you even know they’re there. If there is an emergency that couldn’t be detected in advance, they’ll know about it immediately and will help you get up and running again with minimal downtime. The best of these will even track your fuel levels to alert you when it needs topping up! 

Do They Tailor to Your Needs? 

Every facility and business is set up differently. The idea that there can be a one-size-fits-all solution that can be dropped into place and fit any business is flawed at best.

Yet that’s pretty much what generic rental companies are designed to do. They have certain units designed for certain situations - and that’s the end of it.

This is bad news for your bottom line. If, for example, you’re using a much larger generator than you need, or you’re using diesel power when natural gas would work out cheaper, you could be wasting tons of money for every minute that equipment is running. 

Meanwhile, if there’s a better way of cooling or heating your facility than the one this company can offer you, you’ll never know about it. If your provider doesn’t offer bespoke setups, engineered solutions or stackable units that let you scale up and down as required, there’s a good chance that you aren’t getting the best solution for what you need… and that’s very bad for business. 

Do They Prioritize Your Budget? 

While we’re on the subject, how do you know that your rental provider is giving you the best deal? How do you know that they’re giving you the most economical option, rather than the one that brings in the most money for them?

If you have a straightforwardly transactional relationship with your vendor, the chances are that it’s not in their interests to focus on minimizing your budget. 

If, on the other hand, you’re working with a vendor that’s interested in developing a long-term relationship, or that takes a consultative role as well as a sales one, there’s a much better chance that they’re interested in adding value and helping you to cut costs in the short term. 

Are They Invested In Your Success? 

Again, for many generic rental companies, the relationship consists of dropping off equipment and picking it up again when you’re done. They don’t ask what you’re trying to achieve, and to be completely blunt, they’re not particularly worried about whether you managed to achieve it.

If you settle for that kind of approach, this will be such a missed opportunity for you to draw on in-depth expertise and experience. 

The best companies on the market have worked with hundreds, even thousands, of clients with similar problems to your own. They can advise you on ways to tackle the problem effectively and efficiently. They may suggest solutions to problems you didn’t even know could be tackled. They’ll point out improvements to your process trains, alternative fuels, techniques for your specific industry that go well beyond a usual vendor-client exchange.

For example, not to blow our own trumpet, but here at Aggreko, we don’t just rent out cooling towers when they’re needed. We have a dedicated Aggreko Cooling Tower Services (ACTS) team that manages an expansive, modular-design fleet and steps in to help customers address all kinds of challenges at a pinch. This team provides logistics support and advice, assessing a particular site and investing time and energy into designing a cooling tower solution with each client. 

Or take our work with oil refineries and petrochemical plants. When we’re called in to help with turnarounds, we don’t just say, “okay, what equipment do you need?” and hand it over. We’ve taken the time to perfect techniques that completely get rid of expensive flaring, saving our customers huge amounts of money while limiting their environmental impact.

To be considered, your rental company should be offering you the same level of care.

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

As we’ve seen, using a rental company that doesn’t get invested in your needs can be expensive. It can lead to delays or even unplanned shutdowns when equipment breaks down.

Worse, if you don’t work closely with a vendor to ensure you’re meeting all your goals, you could end up with a system that spits out more pollution or heat than you’re allowed to, incurring fines or forced slowdowns. 

Meanwhile, if your vendor doesn’t understand your industry inside out and takes issues like safety very seriously, you could even be putting your team at risk. 

It’s vital that you treat your rental company like a partner, not just a vendor. They shouldn’t just be asking you what equipment you need; they should be asking you what you’re trying to achieve… and doing everything in their power to help you achieve it.