It’s been a year and a half since Cindie McReynolds and her husband, Mike, owners of MikeRentals, Sikeston, Mo., have had an insurance claim. That is a victory they are determined to repeat.
That hasn’t always been the case. They have had claims in the past, but the couple and their employees have reversed this trend through tenacity and implementation of specific steps, including:
Counter procedures: “We now get a copy of vehicle insurance cards in addition to IDs,” Cindie says. “We also ask lots of questions to learn things that could be red flags. Sometimes we also ask for photos of their job sites.”
They spend a lot of time on red flags training, “but we know it takes experience,” she says, adding that they have registered all their appropriate equipment with the National Equipment Register (NER), a benefit of American Rental Association (ARA) membership.
They also have installed cameras. “We track how trucks and trailers are being loaded, who is loading them, what size of truck is picking up that load, etc. We are strict in matching up trucks, trailers and loads,” Cindie says.
Driver training: Besides using ARA’s driver training resources, they send their employees who are licensed commercial drivers to a licensed commercial drivers license (CDL) facility. “We also are bringing in a retired CDL trainer to do one-on-one training with our drivers,” she says.
Equipment training: The largest portion of their income is from the rental of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). Mike is a certified trainer through Genie and trains all his staff.
The company also offers Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety paperwork and training to their customers and has included addendums for trailer safety, aerial lift safety and concrete hazards in their contracts.
Deposit policy: An innovative protocol has been the requirement for new renters to pay a deposit that equals their total rental rate.
“We charge a deposit, which is refundable if they bring the equipment back on time without damage. New customers have to rent with us about a dozen times before we move them to a damage waiver,” Cindie says.
Businesses with a charge account can be damage waiver-exempt if they meet certain criteria, including providing a certificate of insurance with particular verbiage. “If the certificate doesn’t meet that, they have to pay a damage waiver,” Cindie says.
This strategy has worked.
“We find that people want their deposit back and they are more careful. Our repairs have gone down substantially. It also has helped with loss of rental time. If people don’t return their rentals on time and don’t pay for it when they come in, we hold onto the deposit. It has been good leverage,” she says.
Staying claim-free is a continuous process. Employee meetings to review weaknesses, reading ARA publications and working with Tom Rensch, their ARA Insurance agent, are part of the process. “We are not giving up,” she says.