Social distance renting: What, How, Why?

by Eliisa L.

28 April 2020



  • Don’t let your equipment sit unused - adapt to the unusual situation and offer your customers a way to stay active. 
  • Utilize cold pick-ups and returns to arrange social distance rentals.
  • Take advantage of all the features our software has to offer. 
  • Create new practices within the shop to make the renting experience efficient and safe. 

What is social distance renting?

The current state that we live in brings along an incredible opportunity to adapt to the situation at hand and develop the way we work and run rental businesses. One innovative idea we’ve been planning and sparring with our customers is the so-called social distance renting that utilizes cold pick-ups and returns.

Social distance renting essentially includes the same processes and steps as regular renting, just adapted stronger into the self-service model with less physical contact with others. The self-service model utilizes all benefits of Rentle’s features, keeping the whole rental process efficient and most importantly, safe - for both the customers and the shop’s personnel. 

Several clients of ours who are allowed to stay open during the pandemic, are practicing social distance renting with the help of Rentle. We think that the idea is worthwhile to be shared also with others as it’s a potential way to do business during the period of social distancing. However, we believe that the self-service model has a big role to play in the future of access-based consumption. Here’s how they are doing it and why you should do it too.

How to set up social distance renting?


A successful rental shop that is fully equipped for social distance renting relies heavily on the software and online presence.
In order to transition and have the rental experience working smoothly, new tools and processes will be needed to be integrated into the daily back-office operations.

Systematic and operational changes such as moving the inventory completely online and increasing maintenance times for proper disinfection of the equipment will be necessary. 

Our features allow an easy transition to renting which is suitable for these times of social distancing.

Here’s a full list of processes and tools that you’ll want to bring into use before you reopen.


  1. Online bookings 📱

    Taking the online booking system into use and most importantly promoting it will eliminate the need for having walk-in services available. Rentle’s online shop is integrated into your bookings calendar and inventory, so there’s no risk of double bookings as the stock availability is staying updated automatically in real-time.

    It is also 100% mobile-friendly, so your customers can book online whenever and wherever they are. 
  2. Information collection & gear preparation in advance ⚙️

    After the booking, your customers can provide the necessary information to finish up their order. Asking, for example, customer’s measurement details prior to the rental is essential in order to be able to prepare the equipment in advance for the cold pick-up.

    Through the order confirmation email your customer receives after making a booking, they can fill up and edit all the necessary information. This will speed up the gear preparation process and have no need for any physical contact between customers and personnel since there’s no need for measuring or fitting at the location.
  3. Online payments 💳

    No need for cash payments - Rentle allows shops to accept payments online or upon pick-up. For complete social distance rentals, you want to accept the payment online to avoid any unnecessary physical contact.
    Read more how we support the equipment rental industry with industry specific payment solutions.
  4. Digital waivers 🖊️

    A good rental experience includes a rental contract. The purpose of a contract is to add security and protect both the rental shop and the customer from any unwanted events.

    All of your processes and orders can be handled digitally with Rentle - including waivers. Again minimizing the need for any physical contact, allowing you to focus on the preparation of the gear and providing great experiences.

    Furthermore, making a reservation for deposit and releasing the deposit can be easily handled with Rentle.
  5. Buffer times for proper cleaning of the equipment 🧼

    Adding buffer time after the return allows the personnel to take the time and focus on the maintenance of the equipment in-between customers.

    Another essential step that comes along with the maintenance times is cleaning the gear. This isn’t really an optional process - keep your customers and staff safe by thoroughly disinfecting the equipment and keeping the premises nice and clean. 
  6. Pick-up & Drop-off points 📍

    Instead of offering services in-store, have customers make their online bookings and guide them to pick up the equipment from a dedicated pick-up point outside the store

    Marking the equipment properly so it’s easily recognisable, as well as providing them with use instructions before the pick-up will guarantee a fast and efficient rental experience.

Why start social distance renting? 

1T8C1023Going digital enables dealing and managing your rental operations from anywhere and from whatever device. By automating processes and taking full advantage of modern solutions, the renting experience becomes more streamlined and time-saving for both the shop and the customers.

Most importantly, everything will be able to happen without the need for physical contact. 

Rather than letting your equipment sit unused and waiting for change to happen, innovating and renting out safely is a much better way to deal with the current situation.

Even when everything will go “back to normal”,
you’ll be left with a future-proofed service concept.


Other tips on e-commerce for rental shops in our e-book! Download here for free. 🌟

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Eliisa L.

The storyteller that spends her time in the studio, outdoors, or creating the best, most relevant content for rental shops.

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