Counter, Rental and Sales Clerk Career and Job Highlights
Career Overview for Clerks
Counter and rental clerks are needed to work with customers and to handle transactions in a wide variety of businesses. Some may rent moving vans, videotapes or appliances, others may work at grocery stores, laundry mats, or information booths. Specific tasks may vary for each type of employee depending on the enterprise for which they work, but all counter and rental clerks are responsible to informatively answer questions posed by customers regarding cost, availability, or rental agreements regarding the products they are lending or selling. Other duties performed by counter and rental clerks may include receiving0payment for various products and services, accepting returned merchandise, calculating fees, and accepting orders.
No matter where they work, counter and rental clerks must be well-informed and knowledgeable about their company’s services, policies, and procedures. Ranging from hydraulic tools to shoe sales, clerks use their specialized knowledge to give advice on a number of products and services. For instance, rental clerks working at a car rental company ensure that customers meet age and other requirements necessary for renting a car. They also supply the customers with information regarding specific vehicles and inform the customer as to when the car will need to be returned. Rental clerks working for an equipment rental business have similar responsibilities, and must know how to maneuver, run and care for the machinery they supply. Counter clerks working for dry-cleaning businesses are responsible to warn their customers of possible risks to certain fabrics as well as to give them a time when their laundry can be picked up. Counter clerks working in video rental stores advise customers on movie choices, operation of rented VHS, DVD, and video game equipment. They also accept monetary transactions, scan in returned movies and games, restock and organize products, take in new inventory, and may also be required to write up daily reports and to call or otherwise inform customers who have failed to returned various items.
Some counter and rental clerks may work in a position for a small business or a large companies which requires them to take orders of some kind. To do this they may need to be trained on the use of various types of equipment. While some orders are hand written on tickets and other types of order forms, most are entered into bar-code scanners or computers. Fortunately most computer systems are customized for the company using them and made to be user friendly, and often require a very small amount of data entry. Most scanners are easy to use. They work by reading a code located on a label which may be appear directly on a product or on the container in which the product comes in. When the code is scanned it shows up on a display screen and a description of the item pops up. It is important that clerks pay close attention to each item that is being scanned to ensure that the data on the screen matches the actual product.
In the year 2002, there were approximately 436,000 jobs worked by counter and rental clerks. Of those, an estimated 21 percent were held by clerks who worked for businesses who focused on the rental of consumer goods, which includes video rentals. Automobile dealers, vehicle equipment rental and leasing services, gambling, amusement, recreation industries, grocery stores, as well as dry-cleaning an laundry services were also found to be large employers of counter and rental clerks.
Although employment opportunities for counter and rental clerks are found throughout all areas of the country, they are extremely more abundant and more concentrated in big cities and other metropolitan areas. This is due to the greater demand which exists in areas of high population. A large consumer demand leads to the founding of more renting and leasing services and personal services that are made available.
Counter and Rental Clerk Training and Job Qualifications
Positions for counter and rental clerks tend to be predominantly entry-level. They require very little or sometimes no experience and minimal formal education. Often, a high school diploma will do.
Most companies provide on the job training for their counter and rental clerks. They sometimes use videotapes, pamphlets, or brochures to teach their employees. However, the operation of equipment, as well as policies and procedures are learned through experience. Beginning experience is most often learned under the observation of a more experienced worker, although some employers offer formal classroom training programs. Classroom training may last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Typically topics such as company policies and procedures, sales techniques, customer service, operation of equipment, and the overall scope of the industry are covered in classroom training programs. It is important for counter and rental clerks to also become accustomed to the way things are run at their particular business and to familiarize themselves with various products and services that are rented out or provided by their company. This will ensure the customers the best possible service.
It is imperative that counter and rental clerks enjoy working with people. They must be tactful and able to work with difficult and demanding customers. Counter and rental clerks should be good at multitasking; able to provide friendly service while at the same time keeping track of other duties and obligations. Also, it is essential that counter and rental clerks have good written and oral communication skills.
Often times, advancement in a company depends on both the type and size of the business. Frequently, in small companies counter and rental clerks find it more challenging to advance. On the other hand, in larger corporately structured institutions, these positions commonly have ample opportunities for growth and learning in areas associated with the companies products and business policies. As a result, promotion to areas of added responsibility are more common. For instance, it is not uncommon for counter and rental clerks to be advanced to positions such as assistant manager, salesperson, or event coordinator. Employees may work towards advancement in a field related to their position, or they may even choose to create their own company all together.
In some industries, such as those that repair equipment, counter and rental jobs may serve as a great substitute source of income for part-time or semi-retired workers. A good example of this may be seen in tool rental centers, where semi-retired mechanics can play a huge role in improving the quality of their business due to the experience and familiarity of tools that they bring with them.
Sales Clerk Job and Employment Opportunities
Given that businesses are seeking to better improve customer service, it is anticipated that employment for counter and rental clerks will increase faster than average through 2012. Furthermore, industries dealing with recreation such as amusement parks, as well as rental and leasing establishments are projected to grow extensively. Additionally, many new job opportunities will simply come about in order to replace current workers as they move into other occupations or depart the workforce altogether. As a result, opportunities for part-time workers should be abundant.
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