Service Tips: Track equipment damage

Video using smart phones and tablets records asset condition.

Anyone that’s in the business of renting and leasing tangible assets like cars, trucks and construction equipment knows there will always be one constant in their business: dealing with damage disputes.

Record360 records damage
The Record360 app can record before- and after-rental videos to document equipment damage, greatly reducing customer conflicts about damage and responsibility for repair. 

That’s the findings of experts at Record360, a new property and inspection app for rental firms. The cloud-based app can document equipment condition before and after rentals and makes it easier to prove damage claims with customers. 

When rental equipment is taken on the road or into the field, it is susceptible to dings and dents. Somewhere down the line you or someone on your staff will likely be working with a customer to determine where that damage happened and who is at fault.

Why damage disputes happen
Even if you want to minimize dealing with damage disputes, there are some common parts of day-to-day business that make them likely to pop up.

Ineffective recording tools: Many rental centers still use paper forms to record an asset’s condition, however, these forms can make it difficult to record the extent of any existing damage. The forms make it hard to discern if notations on the form refer to existing damage or new damage that may have occurred.

A team not fully onboard with condition reviews: You may require your team to do walk-arounds of your vehicles or equipment, but that doesn’t mean they’re committed to doing a thorough review each and every time an asset moves off the rental lot and, as important, when it is returned.

Mistakes happen: Even with a diligent team committed to doing thorough reviews, mistakes can happen and it’s easy to miss existing damage.

Case study: How OCT Equipment reduced damage disputes

Based in Oklahoma City, OCT Equipment is an established equipment rental company with three rental locations. It is a well-oiled rental and rent-to-buy business, and finds that equipment that is in top shape assures its customers will have a solid rental experience that often leads them to renting the equipment again or buying it down the line.

Keeping equipment in top shape is easier said than done. The OCT Equipment team tried several tactics to track equipment condition — from paper forms to videotaping the process — yet they were still left figuring out where damage originated. They didn’t have time to develop a systematic process and certainly didn’t have the capabilities to keep all the video they were recording.

However, when they got the Record360 property and inspection app running, damage disputes dropped to zero. The OCT Equipment team uses the tool to quickly walk around each piece of equipment and take pictures and jot down notes about its condition.

“Thanks to Record360’s geo–stamping and time–stamping, it’s easy to show a customer the equipment’s condition when they received it. The pictures we take and the emails our customers receive make it 100 percent clear that the equipment was dropped off in great condition,” says Kurt Harris, OCT Equipment’s vice president of IT & Rentals.

Before Record360, Harris reports that OCT Equipment faced one damage dispute every one to two months that could easily cost $3,000 to repair. Since using Record360, they haven’t had a single dispute. Additionally, thanks to detailed photo and video records, the team is able to recoup money from damage claims sooner, meaning equipment can be repaired and returned to the rental fleet faster than ever before.

Use video to leverage asset condition reports
If you’re thinking about digitizing your asset condition reports, chances are you already realize that paper forms just don’t cut it. Small hash marks on a piece of paper don’t properly record the extent of existing damage, nor do they capture small dings and dents that might be present.

Taking digital photos is certainly light years ahead of paper forms; the ability to snap high-resolution images is a great way to capture every little facet of an asset’s condition. Yet even photos have limitations that video is able to fill.

Video answers two reasons why paper or still photography reports can fail:

1. Your staff is pressed for time. One of the most common concerns Record360 sources hear from rental center clients is that they want to do a thorough asset review, but they need to move cars, trucks or other equipment quickly through the check-in and check-out process. They want to take tons of great photos, but they know that might slow them down.

Video helps speed things up. A simple walk-around of an asset while video-recording its condition gives you a point-in-time shot of exactly how it looks. It can be stored until you need to quickly review new damage.

2. Your staff missed a spot: It happens to even the best yard attendant. Even with a solid process in place for photographing each and every asset’s condition, and every one of your employees is on board, it’s still possible an asset comes back on the lot with damage and the customer is certain it’s not his or her fault.

Who covers the cost? Video helps you easily answer that question. The video provides a step back in time and allows you and the customer to zoom in on any area in question. By replaying the video, everyone can analyze tough-to-capture areas and see exactly who is responsible for the damage and the cost of repairs.

Videos can be especially useful with equipment interiors or if the equipment is large. A video helps capture the equipment interior because it can record all angles inside the cab as well as its contents. Large or tall equipment can be so big it’s hard to get a top-to-bottom view. Rather than take snapshots of each part of an asset’s body, a video will provide a seamless view that helps you make sure you don’t miss a scratch.

Learn more about video condition reporting at