If you are passionate about toys, starting a rental toy business may be the right career/business move for you. Here are a few pointers to help you build your business.
Choose a niche. If you're lucky enough to be in a good location, one where you don't have a lot of competitors, then you may not need to extremely specific about narrowing down your niche. You can specialize in kid's birthdays or graduation parties. You can even tap the adult market.
Remember that toys aren't just for kids. Consider, for example, serving people whenever they have office parties and celebrations. Seminars and trainings can also make use of toys, particularly team-building type seminars.
Establish and expand your web presence. Also keep in mind that you're not just competing with the people in your neighborhood. There are many toy rental services online, and you need to consider the possibility that your target customers may prefer ordering through a website, where it's usually more convenient.
If you have your own website, you can serve your customers more efficiently. Also, having a website for your business is practically a baseline requirement nowadays.
For your website, you'll need great-looking pictures of your products and a fully-functional shopping cart. There are many services that offer the technology that you'll need. For your shopping cart, remember that most shopping cart software packages are build for regular retail stores. So make sure that your service provider can handle the requirements of a rental business.
Make full use of the advantages of your business model. Since the toys are for rent and not for sale, choose toys that kids would love to play with over and over again. Remember that kids don't have much of an attention span, which is a major reason why the toy rental industry exists in the first place.
Steadily build your customer profile. Keep in mind that the more you know about your customer, the better your chances of renting out your toys. This means that you should get to know the parents and the children as well. When accepting orders by phone, a few simple questions will give you the information you need. On your website, conduct polls and surveys on which toys are favored by your customers.
Mine your data. As your business grows, you'll see patterns not just regarding the types of toys that get rented, but also the timing of the rents. Some toys are rented all year round; some follow a more seasonal pattern. Make full use of this data by making custom offers and special promos.
Take extra special care of your inventory. Inventory management is even more important for your business than it is for regular retail businesses. Since the toys get returned, you need to be absolutely meticulous about making sure the toys stay in good condition, and that you repair the ones that need to be fixed.
Stay up to date on safety laws and regulations. Not all toys are created equal; some are more potentially harmful than others. Stay on top of the latest requirements to make sure the kids don't get hurt.