Retail

Expand Your Rental Program

Rent optics, ground blinds and other gear to supplement your shop’s income.
Photo Credit: Archery Headquarters

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Does your archery shop have a rental program? If no, consider adding one. If yes, consider expanding it.

Renting equipment attracts customers and generates more income, especially if you let customers use “safe items” outside your shop.

Randy Phillips, owner of Archery Headquarters in Chandler, Arizona, said he always looks to add revenue streams because archery can be a tough sell. That’s why he started renting optics and ground blinds a year ago. The decision serves him well.

“Binocular rentals were a natural fit because we’re in the West, where spot-and-stalk hunting is popular,” Phillips said. “Offering ground blinds is a customer-service prospect.”

Phillips rents bows and arrows to shoot on his range, but he decided to rent gear for use outside his shop. He bought several pairs of three styles of high-end binoculars. He then structured his program so renters can put their payments toward a purchase if they buy it within 30 days.

Archery Headquarters rented 22 optics last year during the busy season, and half of those ended in optic sales.

“High-end optics are a few thousand dollars and up,” Phillips said. “People don’t like making impulse buys on that kind of stuff. They want to try it to make sure it works well before making a lifetime investment. That’s why we started the rental program.”

In contrast, Phillips didn’t rent many ground blinds, but he likes that blinds encourage older people to keep hunting. Plus, rentals help beginners decide if they like hunting from ground blinds.

Set up your rentals online so customers can see the booking calendar and book the equipment ahead of time. Photo credit: Archery Headquarters

The Rental Process

Phillips said renters sign a contract, pay upfront, provide two forms of ID, and leave their license-plate number before receiving the equipment. He said most of his rental business is repeat customers, so he doesn’t fear losing the items to theft. But if something were to get stolen, he can deal with it.

“Something might not come back at some point, but merchandise can get stolen off the shelf every day,” Phillips said. “It does happen. (Risk) is part of business. You have to calculate whether (rentals) are worth it.”

James Blankenbeckler, a sales executive at RT Insurance, said each state and its court system looks at waivers and signed contracts differently. Learn your state’s laws to find out if they protect the business, but use a waiver regardless. Blankenbeckler said a signed waiver and rental contract might reduce insurance costs. But negligence in renting faulty equipment always overrides a signed waiver.

ATA members can download a free sample waiver from the ATA’s Resource Website. Login to your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources” to get the document. Talk with your lawyer and insurance company to fine-tune the message so it abides by your state’s requirements.

 

Product Inspections

Phillips and his team inspect all equipment when it’s returned and again before it goes out. They use a checklist to ensure they rent top-notch, well-working gear. He said customers usually inflict a few inevitable bumps and scratches on optics, but otherwise they haven’t had serious issues.

Make sure you have a trusted source, like the MyATA Service Provider RT Insurance, look over your contracts. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Insurance

Blankenbeckler said it’s also important to review your insurance policy with your agent or broker to see what’s covered and what’s excluded. If your policy doesn’t have exclusions but covers rental programs, it might require an endorsement. If your policy doesn’t cover rentals, work with your broker to find a company that covers it.

RT Insurance is a MyATA service provider. Blankenbeckler said commercial insurance isn’t like home or auto insurance, so find an agent or broker with access to several companies that insure archery shops. That lets the agent shop for policies annually to help your business, which saves time and possibly money. Learn more about RT Insurance and your options at www.rt-insurance.com, or email Blankenbeckler at james@rt-insurance.com.

Always notify your agent about changes to your shop, products or business model, which includes adding or expanding a rental program. “The more up-to-date your agent, the better your coverage will be,” Blankenbeckler said.

 

Dive In

Phillips said if adding rentals to your business makes sense, start small by offering a few items to gauge interest. You can also poll, survey or ask customers what they’d like to rent. Use their feedback to build your program.

“Don’t get too tied up in analysis paralysis,” Phillips said. “Don’t spend 40 hours trying to figure it out. Instead, spend 10 hours preparing and just start. Let the system work itself out, and develop things as you go.”

Need help starting? Contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, at (866) 266-2776, ext. 116, or nicolenash@archerytrade.org.

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