User Accounts and Open Registration

Today, we've released an essential feature of the platform - user accounts and open registration! With this, anyone can make an account on our website to advertise their rentables. In this post, I want to introduce the big features of this release and note some important facilities we'll add in following weeks.

Public User Profile

If you're an established rental business, you'll want to have a publicly available listing of your inventory to share with customers. We feel this is an essential feature, so we've made it the first feature available to RentableGear users.

user profile screenshot

You can customize your URL by choosing a public handle, intended to be like a Twitter handle, in your user profile. We recommend composing your handle using your name and neighborhood to indicate to customers your specific business location.

For example, an Ace Hardware location in Minneapolis will want an easy-to-remember URL to give to customers. To differentiate its location from its partners in Edina and St. Paul, they choose a public handle like "ace-hardware-minneapolis". Then, customers can view their inventory at "rentablegear.com/ace-hardware-minneapolis".

Edit User Profile

After making an account and logging in, you can edit your profile using the "Profile" link in the user menu.

user edit profile screenshot

To enable advertising your assets, we need to know your physical location. Add a location to your account using the "Enter Your Address" input and choose the correct location from the suggestions to populate the individual address components.

This is also the place to customize your public handle, change the email address to use for communications, and add an image or logo to display to customers.

Managing Inventory

To view and edit your inventory, click the "Inventory" link in the user menu.

user inventory

While your public profile lists and groups your inventory, this is a full list of your inventory and allows you to add, edit, and delete your assets.

Adding/Editing Assets

After having added a location to your account, you can add assets to your inventory for advertising. This page is accessed by clicking the "Add" button on your inventory page, which is accessible from the user menu.

add asset screenshot

To focus on improving the experience of browsing and comparing rentables we've decided to support a limited number of asset categories. Our current set of rentable categories reflects the items a homeowner or contractor would likely use and can currently find at existing rental businesses. We will expand our catalog after we have established our current process and discovered how to best communicate and browse many categories, until then, you can contact us to request new categories.

Each category in our first set of asset categories includes a set of attributes that we feel are key factors used when choosing an assets in that category to rent. For example, the "extension ladder" category has weight, min length, and max length attributes, while the "enclosed trailer" category has weight, weight limit, length/width/height attributes. With this information, customers who need to rent an extra-long extension ladder to paint the far-reaches of their house will be able to filter their extension ladder search by length.

Another aspect to note when adding assets is choosing a rental price. It's common in the rental industry to give discounts for longer-term rentals. To support advertising such discounts, you can specify up to three tiers of pricing for your assets, such as $10/hr or $40/day.

Future Work

The facilities included in this release support the essential aspects of creating a user account and managing your inventory. We didn't have time to finish everything we wanted to include, however, so we'll be adding them in following weeks. Some of these facilities include changing your password, changing your first and last name (only accessible on account creation), uploading and cropping images of your assets, uploading user profile images, and unpublishing assets from search results. Also, we would like to enable privacy of rentable users who work from their own home, which implies providing the option to hide or obfuscate pieces of their information from the website.