The place of women in the rental business

"Women have to be bold to do this job. We must dare to think and dare to do."

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Yan Juan is Daiyan Rental’s founder and current company’s CEO. She started in the business by knowing very little about the rental industry but was convinced that there was an opportunity. Her past professional experience and the on the ground knowledge that she collected along the way made her who she is nowadays: a very influential and qualified woman who does not fear the male domination of the sector she is evolving in. Testimonial from a bold CEO.

What is Daiyan Rental in a few words? What are you specialized in? When was it launched?

Daiyan Rental was founded in 2017 in Nanyang, Henan province of China. Our company is specialized in renting equipment for working at height. As the company developed, we added other types of equipment such as forklifts.

Can you tell us a bit more about your market’s characteristics and needs?

When I returned to Nanyang from Zhengzhou in 2017, I built up our business from scratch. The company’s business has been growing steadily, and the amount of machinery we have is also increasing as the city develops.

In China, the infrastructure develops at different rates from one city to another. Nanyang is a big city, but it is developing slowly. The city is still building and improving its infrastructure. As a result, the demand for my industry is increasing. However, due to national factors, equipment rental prices are rather low. For rental companies, it is not always easy to keep up.

What are the projects you’re working on?

At the moment, we have two important projects. One is the Zhang Zhongjing Museum in Nanyang and the other is the new logistics center in Nanyang. With an area of about 1600 hectares, it will be the largest logistics center in Henan province. Currently, Daiyan Rental is ahead of its two main competitors in participating in this major project.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and describe your current position within Daiyan Rental?

I am the director and founder of Daiyan Rental. Previously, I worked in the marketing and sales department of a foreign IT company.

I joined the equipment rental industry because my husband’s hometown produces machinery and equipment. Initially, I knew little about the industry.

Thanks to my professional experience in sales, I quickly found my place in this industry which was new to me. Little by little, I integrated new equipment into my company.

HA16 RTJ - Daiyan Rental

Is it a preconceived idea that women are better business managers than men? Do you have to work harder to prove your leadership skills?

I work in a male-dominated industry. As a woman, I have to work harder. I have to handle every task with an unquestionable sense of responsibility. I think women have to be bold to do this job. We must dare to think and dare to do. Many things become unachievable if we are held back by fear.

It is often said that women managers have a more participative management style than men, in your opinion, “myth or reality”?

Yes, I find that women are often more meticulous on the job than men.

Are women leaders less tender with their peers?

In my case, no. I’m just very strict with myself.

On a daily basis, what do you find most challenging to manage and most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of my job is sales. Some sales are really challenging and require conviction and tenacity. I like to make sales that not many people can make. In terms of management, my team is not very large yet. As long as I lead by example and standardize work procedures, my employees are able to successfully complete their tasks. It is very important that I lead by example.

Would you say "preconceived ideas" if I told you that it is challenging to reconcile professional and personal life?

In this regard, I have experienced it first-hand. As a mother of two, I must take care of my children as well as my work. Fortunately, the help of the grandparents relieves some of the pressure and allows me to devote a little more time to work. At the same time, I directly manage 50% of my company’s activities and I also need to have a comprehensive view of the company’s situation. Therefore, I have to find a balance and prioritize certain tasks. For example, I need to maintain a certain number of rented equipment and make sure that the customers pay. If there is too much equipment in stock, I must find a way to rent it out. The job takes a lot of time and energy.

Any advice for young women who want to manage a team or a project? And a mantra?

If you have chosen a profession, then do it with passion. You must work hard, persevere, and have a sense of responsibility. You can’t reap the benefits without putting in the labor. There is a Chinese proverb that says, « A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a first step. No matter what path we choose, we must take one step at a time.

As a general manager, what are the key qualities to succeed at what you do?

Hard work and perseverance.

How do you see this position in 20 years? What are the evolutions and potential challenges that’ll come?

I’m in an asset-based industry. We have our problems as well. However, if we learn from our mistakes and persevere, I think this is a business that can be sustained and passed on to future generations.

Currently, my company specializes in equipment for working at height. In the future, I plan to expand our business by offering other types of machines to customers, so that we can better meet the construction needs of our city.

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