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Rental Clerk

Rental Clerk

Education and Training High school diploma preferred; on-the-job and classroom training

Salary Median—$8.79 per hour

Employment Outlook Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

When an individual or business needs an item but does not want to buy it, rental and leasing businesses offer an excellent and increasingly popular alternative. Rental clerks help customers get what they need through rental and leasing businesses. Rental clerks man the front desk and answer customers' questions about product availability, specifications, and cost. They also take customer orders, retrieve merchandise for customers, ring up orders on cash registers, and accept payment. In addition, they may be required to restock returned merchandise and keep an inventory of the items available for rent.

Rental and leasing businesses rent or lease a huge range of items, including skis, cars, computers, furniture, musical instruments, tools, DVDs, medical equipment, construction machinery, and party supplies. Rental clerks may be required to perform duties specific to a particular rental or leasing operation. For instance, rental clerks at ski rental shops may sharpen and wax skis for customers and help them try on ski boots. Rental clerks working at car leasing establishments may spend a good part of their day picking up people who need rental cars. Rental clerks at movie rental stores may give recommendations to customers on which movies to rent.

Education and Training Requirements

No formal education is required for rental clerks, but companies prefer to hire people with a high school diploma. Rental clerk workers usually receive on-the-job and classroom training in the operation of the business's equipment, as well as on the company's policies, procedures, and sales techniques, including how to deal with irate customers or late returns.

Some leasing and rental businesses may require that rental clerks know something of the product they rent out. This is particularly true with businesses that lease complex equipment such as farm machinery or medical supplies. Prior sales or business experience is also an asset when applying for a job as a rental clerk. In addition, rental clerks should enjoy working with people.

Getting the Job

Newspaper want ads and Internet job sites generally list jobs for rental clerks. Anyone interested in becoming a rental clerk can also apply directly to any business that rents or leases equipment or services.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Rental clerks learn a great deal about a company and its business practices, which puts them in a good position to become store managers or managers of rental and leasing departments. With further education, rental clerks working for large companies may eventually be promoted to regional supervisor, operations manager, or corporate executive.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 451,000 people held jobs as rental clerks in 2004. Employment of rental clerks was expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations between 2004 and 2014. Many companies are employing more clerks in an effort to improve customer service.

Employment for rental clerks is largely dependent on the economy. When financial conditions are good, both individuals and companies may be more inclined to buy items than to rent or lease them; however, some people stick with renting and leasing regardless of economic trends. For example, as advances continue to be made in the fields of computer technology and machinery, some consumers may decide to rent or lease such items rather than risk making a costly purchase of something that could soon be inadequate or obsolete.

Working Conditions

Roughly 50 percent of all rental clerks work part time. Evening and weekend work is likely to be required. Some firms may conduct business strictly during conventional hours.

Working conditions vary depending on the type of merchandise being rented. Most rental and leasing businesses are clean, well lit, and well ventilated. Clerks are typically on their feet most of the time and are often required to lift or carry heavy items.

Where to Go for More Information

American Rental Association
1900 Nineteenth St.
Moline, IL 61265
(800) 334-2177
http://www.ararental.org/

Equipment Leasing Association of America
4301 N. Fairfax Dr., Ste. 550
Arlington, VA 22203-1627
(703) 527-8655
http://www.elaonline.com/

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings of rental clerks in 2004 varied largely depending on the type of equipment rented or leased. Clerks working for automobile dealers earned $17.87 per hour, whereas clerks working for consumer goods rental establishments such as video rental stores made $7.78 per hour. The median salary of all types of rental clerks in 2004 was $8.79 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clerks working for large- or medium-sized companies often receive benefits such as paid holidays and vacations, medical insurance, and retirement plans.

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