House of Projectors
House of Projectors rents LCD projectors to a variety of different customers. The projectors are computer based, projecting the computer display onto a wall or screen. LCD projectors are quite expensive pieces of equipment, prohibitively expensive for many companies. Only companies that use the projectors all the time find it cost effective to purchase the equipment for themselves.
While there are two other local businesses that rent projectors, HOP’s services are differentiated as they offer unbeatable support for the units. Projectors can be somewhat difficult to configure to individual computers. It typically becomes plug and pray. HOP has developed a database for configuration for many different laptop computers. Through HOP’s comprehensive research and outstanding support, HOP can assist the customer in configuring the unit to the individual laptop, typically within five minutes. This is quite unlike the competitors’ service that just provides the customer with necessary cables and instructions and lets them figure out configuration issues for themselves. So in effect HOP does not just rent projectors but rather, provides a comprehensive computer support service specific to their projectors. For those computers that HOP has difficulty configuring, they offer a complimentary laptop to facilitate a smooth rental.
HOP only rents top-of-the line InFocus projectors. All of the projectors can be attached via a USB or FireWire port. Three different models are offered to customers. The units differ by the strength of their projection units, i.e. depends on the size of the room and the distance from the screen to the projector. The stronger the projector unit, the larger and heavier the actual unit is and the more it costs to rent. In order to always offer customers state-of-art machines, HOP will, after a year or two sell the used machines (either from the store front or over eBay) and purchase new machines. This is part of their attractiveness, the ability to always offer the best machines.
Through a partnership with InFocus, a U.S. based projector manufacturer, HOP is able to purchase the projectors direct, avoiding the typical wholesale distribution layer. This special deal was clinched through the leveraging of a personal relationship with one of the VP’s at InFocus. While InFocus generally does not sell to anyone but wholesalers, they are willing to sell to HOP, in part because of the personal relationship, in part because HOP agrees to buy a reasonable number of units, replacing them every few years, and lastly, because HOP is willing to provide InFocus with customer feedback. This will be quite valuable to InFocus because of the large number of customers that will be using the machines and HOP’s willingness to collect the information.