Friday, February 29, 2008

Ten Years of RentQuick

RentQuick has been in business now for 10 years. Recently, I took some time to look back at where we started and what my predictions were about the meeting industry. What I found was that I was wrong more than I was right.

For instance, I believed that costs of delivery would increase with normal inflation. So my math models showed a 3% increase in shipping each year. Instead, we have seen the actual cost of shipping increase 8% per year (close to 125% total). The main cause has been the fuel surcharge. The secondary cause is the oligopoly that is UPS and Federal Express. During the entire 10 year period, we have only increased our shipping rates to our clients 8% in total.

In my predictions, I believed that the equipment rental industry would eventually go through a series of mergers or consolidations. This has not happened. It is likely because as an AV company gets bigger, the margins compress. In any case, I don't have competitors calling me regularly about buying me our or wanting to be bought out.

Fundamentally, our model for delivery of projector rentals and other AV equipment has not changed. We hopefully have become more efficient and better at what we do, but the basic rules still apply. We send it out, it is used and it is sent back. Pretty simple stuff.

Over the past ten years, I have truly enjoyed serving the needs of my clients. I can honestly say that my small crew are the best employees I have ever had. In fact, I would say they are the most customer-centered people I have ever met. That is no reflection on me. I believe they are caring people who love serving others. I am lucky to have them on my side.

As an entreprenuer who has several irons in the fire at any given time, RentQuick, my crew and our clients are the best business I could ever hope to have.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Updates to ProjectHayes Site

I just spend the afternoon doing two things:
1. Making changes and updates to the site (
2. Getting a filling fixed by my dentist.
I can honestly say that the dentist trip was the more enjoyable.
I have found that my ability to convert my ideas into a web page have diminished greatly since I did my first site in 1995. The main issue is that there are far more options now than there were then. In those days, all you needed to do what follow the narrow set of constructs and make sure you spelled everything right. Today, with the Cascading Style Sheets, the possibilities are endless.
Of course, I am dealing in rather boring business sites. It isn't like I am selling the latest luxury cologne. However, I still would like to be stylish, but not off-putting.
Who knows?



Monday, February 18, 2008

On Finding Competant Contractors

It has become apparent to me in recent months that finding good vendors is extremely difficult. People who should know exactly what they are doing, tend no to be so competent when pushed.

I could name examples, but it would only make matters worse. During my work as an entreprenuer, developer and investor I have found that most of the licensed professionals who I hire are mediocre at best and impressively incompetant at worse. I am sometimes at my breaking point when dealing with these guys.

The logical solution is to check references, follow up on details and dump bad vendors quickly. However, recognizing that they don't know what they are doing early is difficult. We are talking about a group of people who somehow continue to earn a living while performing their work very poorly. They know how to hide things. That is the one thing they are good at.

So I will trudge on often paying double for someone else to fix the mistakes of the first guy. In the future, I will try to less forgiving of failed promises early on. When a hired professional fails me, I will cut them before they destroy the entire project.