Stepping Up Scaffold Rentals

Spend time with customers to discuss their specific access needs — including the work environment — and help match their needs with the correct scaffold solution.

Scaffolding is versatile, low maintenance equipment that meets the access needs of commercial, industrial and contractor customers as well as homeowners. It can be a successful product for rental centers if staff is properly trained in safety procedures and has a thorough understanding of the appropriate jobs for scaffolding.

But, like other rental equipment, scaffolding may not be right for all access applications.

Scaffolding comes in a wide range of configurations ranging from simple rolling towers to more complex system scaffolding. You should understand the intended use, limitations and erection requirements of each product type you offer. Scaffold manufacturers offer detailed specifications, usage information and erection instructions. Take the time to educate your staff on each of the following aspects of scaffolding rental:

Product training: Scaffold manufacturers offer extensive safety information and training for their products, including product and usage certification, safety guidelines and on-site safety training seminars for rental company staff and customers. In addition to understanding how customers should use the product safely, you should be aware of how to safely transport and erect scaffolding.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets regulations on scaffold use, maximum loads and precautions for use during inclement weather. For certain jobs, it's important for rental staff to inform customers when additional safety equipment may be needed.

Qualify your customers: Rental staff should carefully review a customer's scaffold application. Often customers are unaware of the limitations, safety and erection requirements with different types of scaffolding. Spend time with customers to discuss their specific access needs — including the work environment — and help match their needs with the correct scaffold solution. Find out if your customer has any previous experience with scaffold usage to determine if they are qualified to use the scaffold product(s) that you recommend.

Concise rental agreement: Be sure that you have a concise rental agreement that clearly defines all terms and conditions and define the responsibilities of all parties. The agreement should cover liability, damages, shortages, rental period, overtime and more.

Assembly instructions: Provide detailed assembly instructions for each type of scaffold product. Scaffolding manufacturers provide detailed product assembly instructions with the products. Share the most current product literature, engineering specifications and erection requirements with your customers. Keep in mind that larger projects often require trained erectors to properly install scaffolding.

Inspect thoroughly: To ensure customer satisfaction and avoid future conflict, always inspect all scaffolding components before you rent them to the next customer. Make sure all pieces and components are returned in good shape. A detailed product list, stating the condition of the product and number of components, is a good document to present to customers at the beginning of a project and to review with them when the scaffolding is returned.

Customer support: Rental center staff must offer telephone or site service and support, and be prepared to answer customer questions at anytime. Your staff should be aware of the specifications, proper usage requirements and limitations of each scaffolding product in order to answer customer questions over the phone. In some cases site visits may be required, therefore, your staff should have the skill and training to properly assess customer project needs and the proper techniques for erecting and using the scaffolding rented.

For nearly 65 years, steel scaffolding has been versatile, low maintenance way to meet the access needs of commercial, industrial contractors and homeowners. It's proven to be a product that can add extra “lift” to the bottom line of rental companies of all size.

Coughlin is CEO of Waco Scaffolding, Cleveland.

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