The equipment rental industry is one of the fastest growing ever – construction equipment rental alone has a market size valued at over $200 billion!
This is why it’s never been a better time to create your own online equipment rental marketplace. You can grab the attention of prospective clients who are looking to rent out equipment for projects and make it profitable for your business to purchase equipment and rent it out to customers.
In this in-depth guide, we’re going to explore what makes the equipment rental industry so successful and see how you can set up your own marketplace using WooCommerce. We’ll also cover some best practices to optimise your equipment rental business.
What makes the equipment rental industry so profitable and fast-growing?
Before we jump into how you can rent out equipment on a WooCommerce store, it’s important to understand what makes the rental industry so profitable.
If we’re talking about starting a construction equipment rental business, the initial capital required for new construction machines is extremely high. This can be one of the major reasons why contractors and construction companies shift towards construction equipment rental.
In addition to this, maintenance overhead, high taxes, depreciation costs, and equipment insurance costs also contribute to construction companies renting out their equipment so they can cut down business costs associated with running a construction business.
Renting construction equipment also protects a builder from unexpected financial downturns while providing access to a diverse range of technologically advanced equipment. This is why renting construction equipment not only makes financial sense because it reduces the cost of purchasing new equipment but also because it reduces recurring business expenses such as labour, maintenance, and daily operational costs.
The best part about equipment rental is that it does not necessarily require high initial costs. For instance, you can rent out general equipment like power tools, lawn tractors, vehicles, compact tractors, or small excavators instead of buying expensive construction machinery right off the bat.
Similarly, you can also rent equipment that’s mainly used by homeowners and businesses for events such as tents, tables, chairs, lights, decorations, plates, glassware, portable restrooms, concession equipment, or other types of furniture used for events globally.
How to rent out equipment on a WooCommerce store
While WooCommerce offers a great platform for selling products and online services, it’s not designed to list products that require a booking or extra details from the customer before they purchase the product.
The good news is that you can use a WooCommerce plugin to accept bookings for the equipment listed as products in your store.
The Bookings for WooCommerce plugin is designed to help you sell date-based booking products.
The plugin offers an intuitive solution that lets you accept calendar-based bookings for your WooCommerce products. You can use it to list any construction equipment for rent by publishing it as a WooCommerce product and letting users book it using a calendar on the front-end.
This way, customers can select both: their booking starting date and their booking ending date using the separate “check-in” and “check-out” fields on the front-end of your equipment rental website.
The Bookings for WooCommerce plugin offers one of the easiest ways to sell products that can be rented such as accommodations, vehicles, and equipment. The plugin comes with a wide range of features that let you create a seamless booking experience on your equipment rental marketplace.
Step #1: Install and activate the Bookings for WooCommerce plugin
To get started, install and activate the Bookings for WooCommerce plugin on your website. You can download the plugin’s .ZIP file using the link given to you at the time of purchase. Next, navigate to Plugins → Add New from the WordPress admin panel.
Upload the plugin on your WooCommerce site and make sure to activate the plugin before continuing. Once the plugin is installed on your WordPress site, activate it. Finally, head over to WooCommerce → Settings → Bookings and paste your license key in the Licence key field.
Click on the Save changes button to continue.
Step #2: Add your equipment as a bookable product
Now, with the Bookings for WooCommerce plugin installed, navigate to Products → Add New to add your equipment as a bookable product on your online store.
Set basic product details such as product title, images, and descriptions. Now, scroll down to the Product data meta box and select Booking using the product type dropdown menu.
This will transform your simple product into a bookable product that users can book for a specific time period.
Step #3: Set important parameters
Now that your equipment is set as a bookable product, it’s time to configure important parameters for your rental product.
For starters, you need to set the Booking unit dropdown menu to either Day, Night, or Week. This will define if users can book equipment for multiple nights or days, or if you want to rent it out on a weekly basis. You can also specify how many times a user can rent out your equipment in a day, night, or week using the Max bookings per unit (quantity) field.
The Max booking length field lets you put a maximum limit on the total number of days, nights, or weeks a user can book your equipment for. For instance, if you want to only allow users to book your equipment for 14 days, you can set the field to 14. Similarly, you can also set the Min booking length field to specify the minimum limit that a user has to book the equipment.
Using the Bookings start dropdown menu, you can specify the day of the week a booking starts. This makes it easier to start charging users according to your own business policies.
The Postpone start lets you set a minimum notice period before a user can book your equipment. For example, you can set a 2 day notice so it’s easier for you to manage product availability and all logistics involved in handing over equipment to users who rent them. You can also use the Buffer period field to specify the time needed for your business to handle all operations after a booking ends.
Finally, using the Standard cost field, you can specify the price per unit of booking for your equipment. In addition to this, it’s also possible to set the Last bookable date so you can rent out equipment for a specific period of time. For instance, you can rent out equipment until the lease period ends. This way, you can pay off your equipment lease fees using the revenue generated by renting it on your WooCommerce site.
Step #4: Customise the booking experience
Now, with all important parameters of the bookable product set up, it’s time to start customising the WooCommerce booking experience. The Bookings for WooCommerce plugin offers a wide range of options that let you change the overall look and feel of your bookable product on the front-end.
To begin with, you can add in your availability and block the dates that you don’t want to rent your equipment out in the back-end. To do this, click on the Add Date Range button and specify the start and end dates. You can set the Cost Per Unit field to 0 to prevent specific dates from being booked by customers or clients on the front end of your WordPress site. For instance, you can block WooCommerce bookings for holidays like the 4th of July or for Christmas.
You can also set up a time period where you want to charge more (or less) than usual. This way, you can offer more flexible pricing depending on peak or off seasons. For instance, if every first week of a month is busy for your business, you can charge an additional fee for each booking per unit. To do this, simply set the dates by creating a new date range and specify the additional expense in the Cost Per Unit field.
Another great feature of the Bookings for WooCommerce plugin is that it lets you offer discounts to users who rent out your equipment. For example, you can offer a 5% discount if customers book the equipment for at least 10 days. To do this, set the Discount Rate field under the Discounts section and specify the minimum duration required to qualify for the discount and the percentage value of the discount.
Make sure to click on the Publish button to save changes on the front-end of your WooCommerce site.
Step #5: Preview
Now, users can rent out your equipment directly from your ecommerce site using an intuitive calendar-based booking interface.
Users can view two separate fields, the “Check-in” and the “Check-out” field that let them select their own booking start and end date.
Customers can only select the available dates, while days that you don’t want to rent out equipment will be marked “not available” or appear gray-ed out.
Once the users select their desired booking details, they will be given a total price for the booking plus the discount they receive, if any.
The great thing about the Bookings for WooCommerce plugin is that it’s not only intuitive to set up but also helps you create user-friendly and easy-to-use bookable product pages on your online store.
For instance, you can create a bookable product with a delayed start. This will let you manage all logistical and management aspects of sending out the bookable product to your customers once they check in their dates. This also means if a customer wants to make a booking today, they can only book it after the specified delay time.
You can also set up bookings that require a different unit per price. This means you can rent out accommodation or hotel rooms by charging customers a price per week.
This level of flexibility in terms of setting up bookable products online makes the Bookings for WooCommerce plugin suitable for all kinds of rental items. This can include anything from vehicle rentals and equipment rentals to hotel bookings.
Best practices to follow when creating a WooCommerce equipment rental marketplace
It’s crucial to offer a seamless booking experience on your equipment rental marketplace so it encourages more sales. This is one of the best ways to create a successful equipment rental marketplace where users can easily book the equipment they need, whenever they need it.
However, you also need to consider some best practices to follow when creating your WooCommerce equipment rental marketplace to ensure its success.
Let’s go over a few of them in detail:
One of the major aspects of any type of online booking process is that it should be fully mobile-friendly. Since most users browse the internet on their mobile phones, you need to offer them an easy way to rent out your equipment without having to open your site on another device that supports it. It’s one of the best ways to encourage more bookings and generate more revenue for your business. In fact, a study found that the total number of bookings coming from mobile devices went from 41% to 60% after the introduction of a mobile app.
Supports major payment gateways
Another important aspect of any successful equipment rental marketplace is that it supports all the top, most popular, and relevant payment gateways. You want to make it easy for users to pay you when booking equipment and offer a frictionless checkout experience.
Collaborate with other businesses
You also want to collaborate with businesses that are relevant to yours to personalise and enhance the booking experience. For instance, if you rent out construction equipment, you can talk to construction companies and offer them to rent out their equipment as an additional service. Similarly, if you rent out decorations for events, you can talk to event planners, venues, and schools and rent out their equipment for them. This not only helps your business generate more revenue but also helps you establish yourself as the expert in your industry.
Ideally, you also want to offer customers discounts on longer rental periods. This is because it encourages customers to book your products for a longer period of time while also paying you more money. This is a great way to increase your average order value and enable a steady source of income for your business.
Setting up equipment rentals makes it easy for customers to book equipment for a certain period of time without having to worry about purchasing it from the outset. This way, you can charge customers for each day, night, or for each week they rent out your equipment. As a result, you can pay off taxes, maintenance costs, or equipment insurance costs without having to let go of your valuable assets.
A great way to do this on your ecommerce site is by using the Bookings for WooCommerce plugin. It offers you all the functionality you need to create a bookable product in WooCommerce that lets users select their booking start and end date directly from the product page using a calendar widget. This makes it the perfect solution for creating a personalised, optimised booking experience for renting equipment online, without having to touch a single line of code.
Ready to start setting up equipment rentals on your WooCommerce site? Get Bookings for WooCommerce today!