My First Equipment Rental Included a Rookie Mistake!

It’s funny how we always remember our “firsts.” I remember my first wheelchair transport for my NEMT business, “The Wheelchair Taxi.”  I remember my first “official” delivery for my courier service, “Quick Time Courier.”  And I remember my first equipment rental – where I made a rookie mistake.

In looking back, it’s easy to realize exactly how and where I made my mistake.

My First Rental Experience – Learn from My Mistake!

A local couple found one of my ads and wanted to rent one of my electric wheelchairs to take on vacation to California. When the couple arrived at my office we inspected the scooter together to ensure there were no discrepancies and to confirm the good condition.  They signed the liability waiver form and left with the chair.

As you would expect, I was ecstatic because this single two week vacation rental essentially covered my cost of the chair. This meant that all future rentals of this chair would be pure profit!

The problem with this particular rental experience was that, in my sheer brilliance, I only had ONE key for this chair!  And with “Murphy’s Law” being what it is, as the couple was returning from California they somehow managed to lose the ONLY key.  Here I was an owner of a transportation and courier business with many vehicles and plenty of spares and yet, somehow, I never thought to keep a spare key for this electric wheelchair – Brilliant!

I know, I know – a rookie mistake for an experienced entrepreneur. But the good news is I get to share this brilliant move with you so you can avoid making a similar mistake.

Because I had no backup key for this chair I had to order one directly through the manufacturer. It took about two weeks and cost about $65 with shipping and handling.  Although this problem may not sound like a big deal, the potential problem could have been much worse.  If I had another customer needing to rent this chair and I didn’t have a key I would have lost a sale and looked pretty foolish and unreliable in the process.

Needless to say, I was actually very pleased that this mistake happened early in my equipment rental business. It was a lesson learned.  Had it happened months later when my business was further growing it could have proven to be a more embarrassing and inconvenient problem.

As the owner, always do your best to take care of the little things and plan ahead.  My oversight, inconvenience, and expense should serve as a lesson for you.