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Online Rental Store vs Manual

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Lee Wright

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Feb 28, 2018
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Hi Folks,

My wife & I run a audio visual hire business. We have 2 locations & thinking about a 3rd. The last few months we've been going pretty well pulling in about 6k gross profit per month. I do some of the work myself but it's been dropping off as I outsource more. The problem that we're facing now is that we're spending a lot of time on administration which includes selling (email/phone), bookings, customer support & processing payments. I can easily spend the whole day on emails. I basically want to automate the business more. I've been thinking about investing in some cloud software that does online store/bookings/payments & is multi user & multi warehouse & integrates with Xero accounting. My issue is that it's rather expensive at $320 per month. If customers don't want to book online then it will be a waste also if it doesn't end up saving that much admin time then that will be an issue too. I currently have a custom MS Access database which works pretty well for the purpose of manual bookings but it's just a stand-alone off-line program & not integrated with the accounting software.

Has anyone had experience in changing from manual to online store? Did it save much time? Were customers happy to transition?
 

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ZCP

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1. gather all costs and put together a pro forma of great / ok / going bad assumptions and see what the numbers say
2. put together a survey and run by your customers for interest
3. create an mvp and try it out on a smaller basis (looks like you could do 3 months for ~$1k)

as a business grows, you must invest in infrastructure to grow more. finding the right software is a lot of work with large potential rewards. think bigger!
 

Kid

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You don't want full-blown online presence from the get go.

Find something cheaper, that allows just booking and payments.

Check if your clients will order online or they still call/email you about offer personally.

That's about it.
 
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Lee Wright

Lee Wright

Contributor
Feb 28, 2018
73
77
114
52
Orange, NSW, Australia
1. gather all costs and put together a pro forma of great / ok / going bad assumptions and see what the numbers say
2. put together a survey and run by your customers for interest
3. create an mvp and try it out on a smaller basis (looks like you could do 3 months for ~$1k)

as a business grows, you must invest in infrastructure to grow more. finding the right software is a lot of work with large potential rewards. think bigger!
Thanks ZCP. Some good ideas.
 
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Lee Wright

Lee Wright

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Feb 28, 2018
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Orange, NSW, Australia
Just thought I'd update on my progress with this. After quite a bit of time trialing of different options I found an awesome software package that does pretty much all I need for a very reasonable price of about $130 per month. It's called Booqable & it's by a Danish company. I wasn't sure whether to get the subscription going into the Corona pandemic but I really wanted to spend this time setting it up so we could hit the ground running as soon as we come out of this. They did me a half price for 3 months deal on account of that anyway. Haven't had much of a chance to use it for new bookings but looks promising. Will do a another progress update once business is running again.
 

alexkuzmov

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My wife & I run a audio visual hire business. We have 2 locations & thinking about a 3rd.
Audio visual hire business as in you offer those services or you rent out equipment?
I`ve no experience with audio visual stuff, but I`ve made websites for renting out stuff.
If thats the case, then you wont regret going online, it`ll save you time and 100-200 buks per month is well worth it.
Just make your phone and email visible on literally every page so anyone can do a "fast order".
Half of people if not most will use the online forms and will not bother you over the phone.
 
OP
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Lee Wright

Lee Wright

Contributor
Feb 28, 2018
73
77
114
52
Orange, NSW, Australia
Audio visual hire business as in you offer those services or you rent out equipment?
I`ve no experience with audio visual stuff, but I`ve made websites for renting out stuff.
If thats the case, then you wont regret going online, it`ll save you time and 100-200 buks per month is well worth it.
Just make your phone and email visible on literally every page so anyone can do a "fast order".
Half of people if not most will use the online forms and will not bother you over the phone.
Thanks. We do both. We rent out equipment & we do it as a service. Glad to hear from someone who has experience with rental sites. Yes I was really hoping it would cut down on my time on the phone & on emails. Yes I've put phone number too for those that do need to call. I'm also hoping to get something set up so that customers can log on & track orders or repeat customers can easily re-book & track their orders too but that might have to be through something like Woocommerce.
 

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