Best Practices, Operations, V8I1

Now or Later

(Photo courtesy of David Cassolato from Pexels)

Twenty-five years into the shed rental business has given me time to track the results of my basic RTO standards and policies—results both good and bad. 

I have learned in shed rentals that what I am and do upfront, before the contract is signed, bears lots of fruit later on. 

To be sure, this is more than just a shed rental reality. What you do at the beginning of a task sets the stage that plays out all the way to the end of that task. Working well NOW, before the shed is delivered under a rental contract, makes LATER less troublesome.  

You may find it difficult and uninspiring to make sure everything is understood and communicated upfront, but that’s not nearly so painful as paying the “stupid tax” later on after you realize someone neglected the NOW work upfront.

I want to be clear. I am not talking about just making a catalog of rules that will somehow magically protect you from problems down the road. Sure, you need established rules and regulations, but there are even bigger matters of attitude, vision, and education that stand together with your great policies and procedures.

What are the NOW matters that really matter? 

Let’s start with a clearly defined shed RTO vision. What do you want to accomplish with RTO? What kind of attitudes do you want to maintain throughout your RTO program? I think of these goals and attitudes as creating the atmosphere in which we all work. 

This atmosphere can be bright and clear, providing a healthy climate for work—a healthy climate that influences leadership, sales, marketing, customer service, deliveries, and pickups.  Just three simple things need to happen.


Be sure to put this vision statement in writing. I remember hating the idea of writing down a vision statement years ago. I thought I could just hold it in my head. I was wrong. 

Maybe you think it is different for you because you are not directly in the RTO business. If you are in the shed business, likely RTO touches you in some way. You still should have a vision statement that includes this aspect of your business. Have it and let it guide you. Do your best to have a vision that includes what you need in shed rentals.


It is easy to allow a disgruntled mood to take over in sub-prime finance. My antidote to help prevent me from developing bad attitudes in RTO customer service is to serve “as to the Lord.” 

If my work is for someone that I perceive as ungrateful and irresponsible, I will struggle with a negative attitude. So, I must learn kindness and gratitude toward our customers and associates. 

Take a moment today and say, “Thanks for what you do!” Include this in your vision statement.


Is everybody on the “okay to rent” list? No. Discernment is needed. 

Some potential customers have the means for a cash purchase and will be upset later on if you push them into RTO. Others don’t have the long-term means to ever reach the goal of ownership, and they will not be happy down the road. Know this up front and make sure this is understood by all involved.  

It would be helpful, in my opinion, to include in the vision statement a specific description of your preferred customer. The ideal customer may include the “fixed income” customer who is definitely looking for ownership but does not have the ability of a cash purchase. 

The ideal customer may also be the more transient customer who may not be sure about their long-term job, income, or location. 

This principle of knowing which customers we want to serve is an important part of getting it right NOW so I can get it right LATER.    

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