Have you ever skimmed over a step in your operations? Maybe skipping a customer signing waivers or rental agreements? Or perhaps you have forgotten to go through a safety briefing with the rental party because they were in a rush to get on the boat? Of course you have, we have all been there. There are so many steps and requirements in the boat rental process, it is hard to keep them organized and streamlined. Especially on busy days with a lot of reservations coming in. We get it.
The expectation to know all insurance carrier requirements, state laws and safety standards is a lot to manage while trying to run a business. However, not abiding by these standards could cost you your business and result in serious consequences. With new state laws and legislations cracking down and becoming more and more strict, discipline in this process is more important now than ever before.
With that said, here are five, key strategies you can start doing to get your rental operations back on track and instill discipline in your staff:
1. Take pre/post rental photos
This is not an uncommon step in car rentals as there are so many factors and potential dangers lurking on the roads. This should be the same mindset for boat rental fleet as well! Documenting how the boat looked before the rental as well as after the rental will eliminate any he said/she said accusations regarding the condition of the boat while the customer was operating it.
Making sure these photos are date/time stamped is also a crucial part in being prepared to defend your business against dishonest customers that may claim they are not responsible for the damage that was done and could also help you get reimbursed for the associated costs!
2. Ensure all waivers, policies and agreements are acknowledged and signed by the renter before launch
This one may seem like a no-brainer but ask yourself this important question: do you feel confident in knowing the waiver and form requirements that are in place with your commercial insurance carrier? These requirements differ and vary depending on which carrier you have. For example, some carriers allow for operators and passengers to sign their documentation electronically before their arrival to expedite the check in process. While others condone acknowledging these documents beforehand and only allow them to be signed in person.
This seemingly small requirement could be monumental in helping your business get reimbursed for any future claims that may need to be filed in the case of an accident with one of your boats. If these requirements are not followed or enforced, insurance carriers will often dismiss a policy or not pay out a rightful claim.
3. Review all safety steps and precautions with the customer before launch
It is important to know important information about your customers before they show up for their rental. For instance: Their age, experience operating a watercraft, boating license status, # of people who will be on board etc.
Vetting the customers beforehand during the booking process allows you to have access to key customer insights and even prevent certain customers from renting with you if you think it may be too much of a liability. This way, your staff can spend the necessary amount of time needed to brief them before they go out on the water.
The vQuip 4 phase rental system software was created to do just this. It provides an easy to follow, step-by-step process to guide dockhands, managers and even marina and boat rental business owners through an efficient launch and end rental flow that includes state of the art compliance and safety features.
4. Make sure GPS units are turned on before the trip and tracking properly
If you run a boat rental business or own a marina, then you know that there are plenty of different GPS/telematics devices out there to help track your vessels. How cool would it be to not only be able to track specific reservations in real-time, but also have a personalized, paper trail of each individual customer’s trip saved to a customer profile to be referenced at any time. vQuip’s system helps to do just that.
Instead of having to hunt down and research several different companies to meet all operational needs, vQuip has packaged all of your ideal features into one software/product! This way, you can paint the true picture of the rental from start to finish, no questions asked.
5. Always finalize the reservation and check for damage
This is where the post rental photos come in handy. In the 4th phase of the vQuip software system, incidents, injuries, and accidents are all filed using a built-in claim management system. Since vQuip is the first ever, all-in-one software that offers per-trip renters insurance for your customers to buy in the boat rental industry, if something were to happen after the rental, the customer would simply use their own policy to get reimbursed!
Even if they did not purchase a policy before the rental, the system tracks, documents and stores all crucial customer information, making the risk posed on your company greatly diminished. Providing you with an extra blanket of protection and ample amounts of evidence to fight any cases that may arise.
Pre and post rental photos, digital signatures and customer vetting are just a few of these features that allow you to run a safe operation without slowing down the process! Reach out today to go through a FREE demo of the software!