Best Practices, Columnists, NBSRA, Operations, V7I3

A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay on Pexels)

“But…you got different logos on your fancy shirts.  You must be enemies, no?”

That was a comment on a recent Facebook picture of three men from two different Rent-To-Own companies.  The comment was made in jest, but it made me pause.  In today’s highly competitive marketplace, there is a perception that portable building Rent-To-Own companies are all out for each other’s blood.  Or at the very least, looking out for only themselves.

While those ugly, self-serving dynamics certainly may exist in the Rent-To-Own world, the norm is quite different. 

The dog-eat-dog stories may get all the attention, but the portable shed manufacturing world has a long, wonderful history of mutual cooperation.  On a recent Shed Geek podcast we heard the “Shedfather” himself, Gideon Zook, talk about borrowing a bundle of sheeting from his shed builder competitor.  Stories of shed builders assisting each other abound, to the point they are considered normal.

The same is true in the shed hauling world.  If a shed hauler breaks down and posts about it on the industry Facebook pages, the response is swift.  Shed haulers are quick to offer their assistance, sometimes driving for hours, just to help a stranded fellow hauler out.  Equipment is loaned.  Emergency financial assistance has been raised.  There are national and regional events where shed haulers come together to compete, to learn how to be better, and to engage in fellowship.  There’s even a non-profit organization, the Shed Hauler’s Brotherhood, that exists to help it’s members become better. 

But when it comes to the Rent-To-Own world, the perception seems to be different.  As in any industry, there are some people who are in it only for themselves, but the reality is that many in the portable building Rent-To-Own industry believe that a rising tide lifts all ships, and they are quick to do their part to create a rising tide. 

Sometimes it comes in such simple forms as assisting each other in recovering stolen buildings, or sending appreciation gifts to competitors who have provided good info on missing buildings.  

Other times, the effort to create a rising tide means spending our own time and money to prepare and share best practices with our competitors at industry events.  We often say we’d rather have smart, educated competitors than ignorant (lacking knowledge) competitors who inadvertently open the entire industry to liability.  Everyone wins when we are all doing our best work, treating our customers and associates well.  

In the interest of raising the bar for all of us, the NBSRA is providing a few of the speakers and will have a booth at the upcoming Shed Builder Expo in Grand Rapids, manned by volunteers from the association, answering questions and providing industry resources.

A little-known fact is that many of the portable building Rent-To-Own companies have directly assisted in helping new competitors get started or get back on track.  When I (Matthew) was still quite new to the industry a competitor flew halfway across the country to spend a day and a half in my office helping me get my books set up correctly.  Then he refused any payment.  A few years later I had an opportunity to do the same and was happy to pay it forward.  One owner of a large Rent-To-Own company was privately telling the story of how he helped one of the biggest names in the business get their start. “If I had known he would go on to be one of my biggest competitors…” He paused, then continued, “I would have still done it.”

Sometimes it’s simple things that demonstrate our commitment to raising the tide.  In my office, I (Matthew) have a shelf of hats I’ve collected from dealers, associates, and competitors.  I use them as a regular reminder to pray for God’s blessings on their businesses and families.  Sometimes it’s as simple as me (Richard) stopping by a competitor’s office with fancy pastries, for no reason other than to bless them.

It doesn’t stop with just competitors.  We regularly hear stories of Rent-To-Own companies making sure the deal works for the manufacturers and haulers they are working with.

While we experience robust competition amongst Rent-to-Own companies, we believe we’ll never experience true winning if we are looking out only for ourselves.  Everyone from shed builders to dealers to drivers to rental customers benefit when we are willing to work together toward the common good.  

If you find yourself in a situation where it feels like the people you are partnered with are not committed to your success along with theirs, do the work to have the crucial conversations that will resolve the situations. 

Bland kramplösande medel om det föredrar man Buscapina (rysk analog till No-Shpa) som används vid njur- och gallkolik samt hos barn med buksmärtor.

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