Do I say Rent when you mean Hire?

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Coming from the UK, and being involved with the Rental business so long, I forget sometimes that my Clients from across the world have a different understanding of what exactly I mean when I say 'Hire' and they say 'Rent'. I am indebted to this old article I have lifted from the BBC archive which might explain. But in general, in the UK, we use both Rent and Hire - and quite often they mean the same thing. I hope that clears it up!

"Hire or Rent? The meaning is the same: to rent or hire something, you pay money in order to be allowed to use it for a limited amount of time. It is simply a matter of usage. With some nouns you can use one or the other – it doesn’t matter which as both are freely used. You can: rent or hire cars, bikes, electronic equipment: 'We rented a TV and video as we intended to stay in England for only six months.' 'If you’re planning to go to Cambridge for the day, hire a bike when you arrive. It’s the best way to get round the town.' With other nouns it is customary in British English to use one and not the other. We would: rent a flat, caravan, cottage, house: 'I rented a cottage by the sea for the summer.' 'He rented me his flat in London while he was on holiday in Greece.' (However, note the difference in use, depending on whether it is used as a verb or a noun: ‘flats to rent’, but ‘bikes for hire’) We hire some help (i.e people), tools, equipment: 'I had too much to do on the farm, so I decided to hire some help three mornings a week.' 'The police enquiries were making no progress, so we decided to hire a private detective.' 'I was painting the outside of the house and had to hire a tall ladder to get to the top.' "

I am sure that this has not cleared it up. And its a problem as confusion sows doubt in Customer's minds. So I will try to be clear. And in an effort to be clear I have to add that I don't include what we in the UK call 'Hire Purchase' in my discussion of Rental. In the US 'Hire Purchase' is sometimes known as 'Rent-to-Own' - but its not a true rental, as the goods will only be returned and re-rented if the customer defaults on their payment plan. These kind of schemes are like more like Mortgages or Lease Purchase and while they are extremely useful they're not the businesses that I advise upon. Having said that most Rental companies would be advised to offer a short term rental with option to buy - what I call Try and Buy - but I'll explain how to make that successful and profitable in another blog post.

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