ARA’s Essential programme
16 June 2020
I was recently able to watch a live webcast run by the American Rental Association (ARA) to promote its new training initiative called “Clean. Safe. Essential”, which has been developed in response to Covid-19.
This online programme covers best practice for cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising equipment in tool and event hire fleets, and maintaining premises. It also explains how to convey a message of care and responsibility to employees and customers.
Successful participants receive certificates to mark their achievement. Businesses also benefit from promotional materials like counter displays, window stickers and other marketing initiatives to highlight their involvement.
What’s particularly striking is how the ARA has turned the pandemic into a positive opportunity. During the webcast, the ARA's Chief Executive Officer, Tony Conant, said that the programme had been designed to reassure customers about safety and hygiene, and to promote high standards in a similar way to restaurant inspection and rating schemes.
Tony also recounted his experience of renting a car for a recent business trip. He had expected to see signs and paperwork inside the vehicle to state that it had been thoroughly cleaned, sanitised and prepared in line with health and safety recommendations, but nothing was evident. Hardly reassuring - and perhaps this particular rental company would do well to join the ARA and follow its new initiative!
The launch of the scheme is another reminder that hire is essentially about service. The pandemic has highlighted even more the need to respect, inform and support customers, and measures like this will help to build and strengthen business relationships as we move forward.