How much of a deposit should you ask for?
What are your rain policies?
What are your refund policies?
What are your delivery windows?
Do you required a signed rental agreement ahead of time?
Does your insurance or state require any special procedures?
These are all questions you need to answer and make available to your customer in writing. Take the time to read other policies on the Internet and make up a Frequently Asked Questions type of sheet for whoever will be taking reservations for you. Our documents package
includes some sample policies you can adjust to fit your business needs.
Time to get organized! You don't want to lose reservations or ask for a deposit twice...
Are you going to use your home phone? Look into getting a Ringmaster number that will let you know the call is a business call so that you can answer appropriately.
No one to answer the phone? Think about your message. Many people will keep calling companies until they find one that answers the phone. Think about getting a beeper or cell phone so that you can quickly respond to any requests for information.
Get a separate bank account for your business. Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, a separate bank account will cost very little and will pay for itself with the time you save at tax time. It also gives your company more credibility when you use checks imprinted with your company name instead of personal checks.
Paperwork and Accounting
It is recommended that you keep your rental agreements on file for at least a year in the event of any surprise insurance claims and to validate your tax reporting. Set up a file system by month for easy access to specific agreements.
Most states will require you to file taxes monthly or quarterly, regardless of whether or not you have any income in that period. Check with your Department of Revenue in your state as they often have free workshops and help available to get small business owners up to speed on tax requirements.
Business accounting software is an excellent investment and will save you a lot of time. Learn to use it and force yourself to enter every expense, deposit, and payment and you will find that it pays off very quickly.