A rental shop is a store where people can rent items like videos, tools, or equipment for a set period of time. People may also use the term “hire shop,” depending on where they are from. Rental shops provide a way for customers to access things they only have occasional need for without having to own and maintain them. Many communities have rental shops offering everything from cars to tuxedos.
At a rental shop, the owner maintains a stock of items customers may need and recoups the cost of the investment with rental fees collected over time. Renting is less expensive than buying, and thus customers have an incentive to rent rather than buying if they only need something once, or on intermittent occasions. Maintaining stock usually requires steadily buying new inventory to replace old, worn, and stolen items.
Customers of the rental shop need to sign a rental agreement, indicating that they understand the terms. Usually people will be subject to fines for late returns, and if they do not return items, the rental shop can recover their cost from the customer. Some rental shops provide an insurance option, usually if they carry expensive inventory, so that if equipment is lost, damaged, or stolen, the insurance will cover the replacement cost, and the customer won't be left with a large bill.
Rental terms can vary and are often flexible. People may pay by the hour or day, depending on the item, and may receive a discount for bulk or frequent rentals as a reward for customer loyalty. Video stores, for example, may offer a free release for every ten rentals to encourage customers to come back regularly. There can be restrictions on the use of the rental item, such as not allowing people to copy videos or asking drivers to keep rental cars within a given state or region.
Overhead costs for a rental shop can vary. People need to be able to maintain the store and pay staff to keep it open, and must also consider the costs for buying new inventory and maintaining existing products. Typically a reserve of capital is necessary to start the shop, and infusions of cash may be necessary to keep the business going during periods of decline. Rental shops may supplement income by also carrying retail products or by carrying a variety of rental items to encourage people to come to one place for their rental needs, whether they are looking for costumes, moving vans, or tableware for banquets.