InTempo’s Marketing Manager, Kate Miller, sat down with Hernan del Aguila, owner of Partner Rentals. Partner Rentals opened its first location this May in Kingston, NY and runs on InTempo’s Enterprise rental software.
KM: How did you get your start in the rental industry?
HA: My parents owned an independent rental store they built from scratch here in Kingston. When I was a toddler, they rented my crib, my Pack n’ Play, my car seat. So, in many ways I learned about rental the hard way. As I grew up I worked virtually every job in their company. Eventually the business was acquired by Volvo Rents, which later became BlueLine Rental. Since then I’ve helped roles in different rental-related companies in fleet management, operations, IT and software implementation. I’m using everything we’ve learned over the years from the mom and pop and big box companies to put a new spin on small independent rental.
KM: After selling to Volvo Rents, you moved to Maryland. Why did you choose to return to the Hudson Valley to open your store?
HA: Opening a store in Kingston in the very same location as my parents’ store once stood has been a homecoming of sorts. Everything has come full circle, and I’m proud to be able to serve this community. From a competitive standpoint, I did my research and felt that there was a gap in the market I could fill.
KM: How are you planning to market the business?
HA: Our marketing strategy recognizes different customer segments and makes an attempt to reach each one in different ways. For example, the world needs to know that we’re here so we spend some of the budget on business listings and search-related ads. Another group includes potential customers that we’ve done business with in the past business or have found through lead generation services. They get warm calls and mailers from us. Once we get more seasonal data into who is renting what equipment when, then we can start doing more targeted marketing programs like sending out postcards to specific customers when equipment they may want to rent is underutilized.
When it comes to the equipment, we compete with the big box stores and have the same equipment they have. With InTempo Enterprise rental software, now I have the same systems they have so I’m better able to compete directly with them. My biggest advantage is the speed at which I can make decisions and do what’s right for the customer. The customers appreciate the fact that we’re locally owned, we care about building relationships, and we’re a part of the community.
KM: You could have done anything after graduating college. What keeps you in the rental industry?
HA: I am passionate about rental. The potential for profit and growth is real. Let’s say you buy a piece of equipment for $100,000, you should be getting at least $50,000 of revenue a year. So if you keep it for five years and then sell it, there’s a good return—over $150,000. But the best part of the business is the people. Rental customers are simply good, hardworking people. They come in because they have a job to get done. They want equipment that works for them. There’s no politics or red tape and we all find that to be the most effective way to do business.
KM: You’re young and have a family to support. What inspired you to take on the risks that come with opening a business?
HA: One of the main factors that helps me reduce my risk is that I use InTempo Enterprise rental software. Enterprise puts my data at my fingertips so I’m able to make smart decisions. There are systems that let you rent equipment and produce invoices. But I chose Enterprise because in addition to doing transactions, it captures so much data about my customers and how I rent. Then I can mine that data and uncover insights that would be cumbersome or impossible to get from any other products. I have a dashboard on my phone that I look at every hour, if not more. It shows me my revenue, equipment status, and utilization. I have my finger on the pulse of my business and it’s because of the software I run.
KM: How do your parents feel about the fact that you’re carrying on the “torch” and opening your own business?
HA: My parents are very excited and supportive because they went through many of the same situations that I’m going through now, though with a much smaller initial fleet. When my parents built their business, they took great care in treating customers, vendors, and employees with fairness and respect. That good reputation helped their business grow over almost 20 years and is now helping my business ramp up quickly and gain traction. We named the company Partner Rentals because we recognized that business is all about relationships. That lesson was an incredibly valuable one and I learned it by watching how my parents ran their business. My success is because of them. And hopefully now my two-year-old daughter will see what it means to work hard and serve the community, just like I saw with my parents.