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Blog posts from November, 2015

Canadian Rental Association Benefits Rental Companies May Not Know About

The Canadian Rental Association is a fantastic resource for Party Rental Companies, Small Tool Rental Companies and Equipment Rental Companies. The association helps improve personal and business development through information, resources, tools and benefits for member organizations. As an associate member company, we can see the benefit of the networking events along with the additional benefits that come with the membership.

On November 18, 2015 we attended a CRA Ontario Local Chapter meeting at McLean Sherwood Party Rental and the Managing Director of the CRA led the group through the benefits associated with membership. Here are some of the lesser known benefits of being a Canadian Rental Association Member.

1. 10% off Mark’s (Formerly Mark’s Work Warehouse)

This is a great benefit to take advantage of for all your staffing safety needs. Mark’s sells hi-visibility vests and shirts, flame resistant materials, different work gloves, hearing protection, metal toed boots and much more. Contact Jenna Lansky at 1-844-643-2333 or jenna@crarental.org to request discount cards for your staff.

2. The ability to register your equipment with the National Equipment Registry (NER)

This program allows CRA Members (Through the American Rental Association) to register their equipment with the registry and allow local law enforcement the opportunity to easily find the owner of stolen equipment. Members can register their equipment with the NER's HELPTech database free of charge. For more information, click here.

3. A Print Incentive Program

There is a program in place that allows CRA members te ability to have a wide variety of custom printed products at discounted rates. This includes items such as envelopes, letterhead, purchase orders, order forms, rental agreements / contracts and return agreements and much more. To learn what else can be printed and learn more click here.

4. The CRA Scholarship Program

The American Rental Association administers scholarships so that rental-related education is promoted and excellence in business achieved.

There are two scholarships exclusive to CRA members:

The ARA Region 10/Dorothy Wellnitz Scholarship – Canada - The US$1,500 scholarship is named for Dorothy Wellnitz, former executive director of the Canadian Rental Association.

ARA Region 10/Doug Mitchell Scholarship – Canada - This CRA scholarship is in memory of Doug Mitchell, past president of the Canadian Rental Association (CRA) and active volunteer in CRA, CRA Saskatchewan and ARA. He was an owner of The Rent-It Store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, until his death in July 2010. This US$1,500 scholarship is preferred for a student affiliated with a Canadian associate member business due to Mitchell's instrumental role in organizing the yearly CRA Prairie Trade Show.

The American Rental Association is always looking for Canadian scholarship applicants so please find more information regarding how to apply and scholarship eligibility requirements here.

5. CPM Employee Manuals

Did you know you can buy an Employee Policy Manual template which contains all the items that would be important to a rental business in Canada today? This template, being offered in conjunction with CPM Manuals, can be tailored more specifically to your business or location and any sections that don’t apply to your existing business can be deleted. CRA members qualify for the exclusive price of price is $749.00 +tax. For more information contact the CRA Head Office at 1-844-643-2333.

6. Ready2GO Rental Tags

Need to keep better track of your inventory and service records? CRA offers Ready2GO Rental tags. They’re sold in 1,000s and come with plastic ties. There are two tags available: three and four part tags that allow you to track the condition of equipment from the return, through service, to being ready to rent. To download the order form click here.

Any other member benefits you think worth sharing? Let us know on Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn or Google+.

How many cruiser tables fit in a cruiser table cart?

Cruiser Table Cart Full

Cruiser table carts are great for transporting a number of wood cruiser tables. Party Rental Companies, Trade Show Decorators and other companies who routinely use cruiser tables need a cart that can store and transport the wood cruiser tables and all their parts securely and safely without a huge hassle. We recently added cruiser table dollies to our inventory in Mississauga and wanted to ensure we answered the question – how many cruiser tables fit in a cruiser table cart? Check out the different configurations.

If you have wood cruiser tables with 24 inch tabletops you can fit up to 11 tabletops with connectors attached and their corresponding poles.

If you have wood cruiser tables with 30 inch tabletops you can fit up to 11 tabletops with connectors attached and their corresponding poles.

If you have wood cruiser tables with 36 inch tabletops you can fit up to 6 tabletops perfectly with connectors and their poles – 11 tabletops do fit in the cart but the back 5 tabletops don’t fit perfectly. We will be improving this cart for a second iteration to be able to support all tabletop sizes in the same quantities.

Alternatively you can also mix and match tabletop sizes up to 11 tabletops.

If you’re interested in a quote for our wood cruiser tables or cruiser table carts:

 

How many chairs fit in a folding bar stool cart?

Folding bar stool carts are great for transporting a number of folding bar chairs. Party Rental Companies, Trade Show Decorators and other companies who routinely use folding bar chairs need a cart that can store and transport chairs securely and safely without a huge hassle. We recently added folding bar chair carts to our inventory in both Vancouver and Mississauga and wanted to ensure we answered the question – how many folding bar chairs fit in a folding bar chair cart? Check out the different configurations.

With the handle in the first position, the folding bar chair cart can fit 4 bar chairs as seen below:

Folding Bar Chair Cart with 4 Chairs

With the handle in the second position, the folding bar chair cart can fit 8 bar chairs as seen below:

Folding Bar Chair Cart with 8 Chairs

With the handle in the third position, the folding bar chair cart can fit 10 bar chairs as seen below:

Folding Bar Chair Cart with 10 Chairs

With the handle removed completely, the folding bar chair cart can fit a full total of 20 bar chairs as seen below:

Folding Bar Chair Cart with 20 Chairs

If you’re interested in a quote for our folding bar chairs or folding bar chair carts:

The Best Career Advice for Prep Cooks / Kitchen Assistants

Kitchen Prep

Photo Source: White House / Sheleah Craighead / via White House Museum

Perhaps you are coming straight out of culinary school or perhaps you’re looking to make a passion for food into your career. Whatever the reason may be, it always helps to have career advice from actual people who have real-world experience in the industry and job you’re looking to get into. Reddit has a wealth of chef threads to ask and receive real world advice from chefs, kitchen managers, prep cooks, kitchen assistants, bussers and everything in between. Check out the best career advice rounded up for prep cooks / kitchen assistants as heard through this Reddit thread.

Be a Blank Slate to Mold

“Let the chef know you will do anything he asks and that you will show up every day on time, no matter what. Stress the fact that you are a blank slate for him to mold, and that you want to learn his/her way of doing things.” - b_random_b

Do Good Work and Help Keep the Kitchen Clean

“…Just come in and do good work. Clean the place in your down time. Put away and organize dry goods and produce. Consolidate containers. Ask about the food you're making and show interest. Be proud of your work, even if that work is shucking cases of chickpeas, peeling a bag of onions, or butchering some chicken.

If you're asked to do something you've never done or are unsure about, ask to be shown how they would do it.” – TyaedalisCook

Slow Down to Be Consistent

Slow down, if you're doing it fast and not consistent. You're doing it wrong. Speed comes with practice, I've seen plenty of prep cooks fuck things up trying to go fast. doing it twice takes longer then if you just slow down and do it right the first time. – Reddit User

Take Instructions Well

I know it sounds harsh, but think of yourself as another piece of kitchen equipment. Product goes in, prepped food comes out. You don't have creativity or any say in how things are done. Your job is to prep food exactly how you're instructed to do so by your supervisor.

Your reliability to do exactly what is asked of you is probably the most important aspect of a good prep cook. - bigpipes84

Take Time to Learn Exact Cuts

I'd say a combination of all other comments. Slow down and take time to learn to make exact cuts. You'll be able to speed up slightly in a week or so, and continue speeding up with practice.

Let him know that you work cleanly and in an organized manner. Never put something away without a label and date it was made. This will give your chef and other employees all kinds of headache and they will resent you for it.

Be punctual. Speed and efficiency will come, but it's the right attitude that keeps you around. - JustAtlas

Be Courteous, Willing to Take Instruction and a Fast Worker

I'm a chef. I've done hiring. I like experience in the line cooks but I'd rather have a blank slate with a great attitude than a culinary school graduate who doesn't clean and always takes smoke breaks. Be courteous, willing to take instruction and work fast. If you don't know something, ask. Stress that you like to cook and want to learn more. Things I look for on a resume are cleanliness and attention to detail. Also clean. Always clean. If there's any downtime and no more prep, just clean something. Do that on your first day and you'll make a really good impression. – dinosexed

Express Your Willingness to Learn and Willingness to Be Paid Minimum Wage

… Just express your willingness to learn. Be prepared to wash dishes. Be prepared for minimum wage. - DancesWithHippo

How to Get that Job?

Show up between 2 and 4pm and bring a resume/cv. Ask to speak to a manager (That's when the morning supervisor/kitchen manager/chef is usually winding down.) If you show up and it's packed, walk out and come back another time, because your resume/cv will probably get thrown in the garbage. Try writing a skills based resume with a short cover letter, you can find chef resume templates online. Stress that your really interested in the industry even though you don't have a lot of experience, don't lie or fluff anything up. Just be honest, eager, smile a lot and thank them for their time.

Edited: They might have a sheet to fill out and they might interview you on the spot if they have the time/really need people. - dinosexed

Any other career advice you think worth sharing? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Protecting Your Online Reputation from Angry Brides

Angry Bride

Photo Source: Favored by Yodit

Let’s face it. Sometimes we make mistakes in the event industry – whether an order gets lost in the shuffle or inventory gets double booked to be rented out – it happens because we’re human and mistakes happen. What we can also encounter… is the irrational bride or angry bride who regardless of what does or does not happen is going to make your life difficult. This post is to help those caterers, event rental companies and event venue companies protect their online reputation should a situation occur where your business is facing some harsh criticism – warranted or not.

1. Make sure your website is up to date and that you’re continually updating it

You are directly responsible for your own business’ brand identity and your website is one of the first places a potential prospect or customer will look. Making sure your website is up to date helps to legitimize your brand and your company. Blogging also helps in this regard as it helps position your company as a thought leader and “authority” on your industry. It also helps ensure you’re driving traffic to your website and creating positive content for the search engines. Not only that but it helps to create shareable content you can use on your social media sites. A little social media every day can help negate the angry reviews. Neil Patel, founder of KISSMetrics and Crazy Egg noted in a Forbes article on tips for creating a positive online reputation “’If there’s negative information out there, you need to participate in all the social sites.’ That consistent content will come up when your name is searched and will help inoculate you against any negative content that might be out there or might arise in the future (a blog post by an angry ex, or a diatribe from an angry customer).”

2. Invest (time and in some cases money) in Monitoring – Social Media and the entire web

Monitoring the entire web is a great way to ensure you’re keeping up with not only your industry but any positive and negative reviews that could bolster or hinder your online reputation. Google Alerts is a fantastic way to monitor the web, and determine what sites are linking to you, quoting you, supporting you or complaining about you. Hint – it can also be used to track your competitors. I have a google alert set up for “National Event Supply” (including the quotation marks so it doesn’t send me news on articles that include the words National or Event or Supply) so I can monitor any mentions. To create a google alert, check out this thorough blog post.

Along with monitoring the entire web, you should also be monitoring your social media mentions. Hootsuite is one of the best free monitoring tools out there if you want to monitor 3 social profiles (there’s also two paid versions as well). It allows you to schedule your social media messages, and monitor your mentions across those 3 social media platforms. If you’re just on Twitter, TweetDeck is a good monitoring tool as well.

3. Consider along with your own brand content, adopting a positive referrals program

Creating a positive referrals program is another way to protect your online reputation. Not only do referral customers come at a much lower cost than traditional customers, they also have a higher tendency for maintaining loyalty and are easier to retain. Having a group of brand evangelists out in the market singing your praises helps maintain a solid positive brand reputation. Check out HubSpot’s blog post on how to build a customer referral program if you’re interested in learning more.

4. Set up your Defence

Dr. Chris Anderson of Cyber Investigation Services (CIS) suggested to Forbes there are different ways of reacting to negative online reviews including: Doing nothing, crafting a polished written response, trying to resolve the issue with the poster, asking the website to step in, identifying an anonymous poster, using legal letters to threaten the poster and filing a lawsuit to seek damages and force removable. It’s a weighty issue because if you or a member of your team reacts badly to the negative attention, things can quickly spiral. The first thing I suggest is take a deep breath. Listening to the customer and trying to understand their issue is the second step to dealing with the customer. In terms of an online review or mention, responding to the customer is a must – but with a carefully thought out response. Consider in advance of a situation occurring brainstorming with your customer service team potential issues that could occur and jotting down responses. The Young Entrepreneur Council has a great post on 17 ways to deal with unhappy customers that should give you more defence moves to use.

5. Learn from Any Mistakes

This goes without saying but it’s so easy in this fast paced industry to forget to learn the lesson associated with the mistake. I’m of the firm belief that a lesson will keep repeating itself until it’s learned so really taking pause to examine how the issue could be avoided or circumvented in the future can go a long way to tactfully maintaining your brand reputation.

Any online reputation protection tips to share? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.