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Occupation Profile for Counter and Rental Clerks

Receive orders for repairs, rentals, and services. May describe available options, compute cost, and accept payment.


Significant Points

  • Jobs usually require little or no experience or formal education.
  • Employment is projected to grow much faster than average as businesses strive to improve customer service.
  • Many full-time and part-time job opportunities should be available, primarily because of the need to replace workers who leave this occupation.


$19,570.00 Median Annual Wage 29,000 Average Job Openings Per Year
7.0 Average Unemployment Percentage 53.4 Percentage That Completed High School
477,000 Employment Numbers in 2006 30.3 Percentage That Had Some College
586,000 Employment Numbers in 2016 (est.) 16.3 Percentage That Went Beyond College Degree

Sample Job Titles
Airplane Charter Clerk
Apartment Rental Clerk
Apparel Rental Clerk
Auto Rental Clerk
Automobile Rental Clerk
Baby Stroller and Wheelchair Rental Clerk
Baby Stroller Rental Clerk
Bicycle Rental Clerk
Boat Rental Clerk
Car Rental Agent
Caretaker, Renting Boats
Check Out Clerk
Checker, Counter
Clerk Cashier
Clerk, Waiting On Customers
Counter Attendant
Counter Clerk
Counter Clerk, Laundry or Dry Cleaners
Counter Person
Coupon Redemption Clerk
Crew Member
Curb Attendant
Customer Service Representative
Dry Cleaning Attendant
Exchange Clerk
Front Clerk
Fur Storage Clerk
Furniture Rental Consultant
Helper, Counter
Hospital Television Rental Clerk
Launderette Attendant
Laundry Attendant
Laundry Clerk
Laundry Pricing Clerk
Laundry Room Attendant
Layaway Clerk
Leasing Consultant
Office Rental Clerk
Photo Booth Operator
Rental Agent, Car
Rental Coordinator
Rental Counter Clerk
Renter, Boats
Renting Agent, Car
Repair Clerk
Rug Measurer
Sales Clerk
Sales Clerk, Food
Self Service Laundry and Dry Cleaning Attendant
Service Establishment Attendant
Service Writer
Shoe Clerk
Skate Shop Attendant
Storage Facility Rental Clerk
Tool and Equipment Rental Clerk
Trailer Rental Clerk
Vault Custodian
Video Rental Clerk
Watch and Clock Repair Clerk
Wheelchair Rental Clerk
Will Call Clerk
Will Call Order Clerk

  • These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include taxi drivers, amusement and recreation attendants, counter and rental clerks, cashiers, and waiters/waitresses.
  • These occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some may require a formal training course to obtain a license.
  • No previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a cashier even if he/she has never worked before.
  • Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Most counter and rental clerk jobs are entry-level positions that require little or no experience and minimal formal education.

Education and training. Many employers prefer workers with at least a high school diploma. In most companies, counter and rental clerks are trained on the job, sometimes through the use of videos, brochures, and pamphlets.

Clerks usually learn the firm’s policies and procedures and how to operate a firm’s equipment from more experienced workers. However, some employers have formal classroom training programs lasting between a few hours and a few weeks. Topics covered in this training include the nature of the industry, the company and its policies and procedures, operation of equipment, sales techniques, and customer service. Counter and rental clerks also must become familiar with the different products and services rented or provided by their company to give customers the best possible service.

Other qualifications. Counter and rental clerks should enjoy working with people and should be tactful and polite, even with difficult customers. They also should be able to handle several tasks at once, while continuing to provide friendly service. In addition, good oral and written communication skills are essential.

Advancement. Advancement opportunities depend on the size and type of company. Many establishments that employ counter or rental clerks tend to be small businesses, making advancement difficult. In larger establishments, however, jobs such as counter and rental clerks offer good opportunities for workers to learn about their company’s products and business practices. That can lead to more responsible positions. Some counter and rental clerks are promoted to event planner, assistant manager, or salesperson. Some pursue related positions. A clerk that fixes rented equipment might become a mechanic, for example.

In certain industries, such as equipment repair, counter and rental jobs may be an additional or alternative source of income for workers with multiple jobs or for those who are semiretired. For example, retired mechanics could prove invaluable at tool rental centers because of their knowledge of, and familiarity with, tools.

Nature of Work

Counter and rental clerks take orders for rentals and services. Many rent cars or home improvement equipment, for example. Regardless of where they work, counter and rental clerks must be knowledgeable about the company’s goods and services, policies, and procedures. Depending on the type of establishment, counter and rental clerks use their knowledge to give advice on a wide variety of products and services, ranging from hydraulic tools to shoe repair. For example, in the car rental industry, these workers tell customers about the features of different types of automobiles and about daily and weekly rental costs. They also ensure that customers meet age and other requirements for renting cars, and they indicate when and in what condition the cars must be returned. Those in the equipment rental industry have similar duties but also must know how to operate and care for the machinery rented. In drycleaning establishments, counter clerks inform customers when items will be ready and about the effects, if any, of the chemicals used on certain garments. In video rental stores, counter clerks advise customers about the use of video and game players and the length of the rental period. They scan returned movies and games, restock shelves, handle money, and log daily reports.

When taking orders, counter and rental clerks use various types of equipment. In some establishments, they write out tickets and order forms, although most use computers or barcode scanners. Most of these computer systems are user friendly, require very little data entry, and are customized for each firm. Scanners read the product code and display a description of the item on a computer screen. However, clerks must ensure that the information on the screen matches the product.

Work environment. Firms employing counter and rental clerks usually operate nights and weekends for the convenience of their customers. As a result, many employers offer flexible schedules. Some counter and rental clerks work 40-hour weeks, but many are on part-time schedules—usually during rush periods, such as weekends, evenings, and holidays.

Working conditions usually are pleasant; most stores and service establishments are clean, well lighted, and temperature controlled. However, clerks are on their feet much of the time and may be confined behind a small counter area. Some may need to move, lift, or carry heavy machinery or other equipment. The job requires constant interaction with the public and can be stressful, especially during busy periods.

Related Occupations

Sources: Career Guide to Industries (CGI), Occupational Information Network (O*Net), Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH)

Counter and rental clerks typically start at the minimum wage, which, in establishments covered by Federal law, was $5.85 an hour in 2007. In some States, the law sets the minimum wage higher, and establishments must pay at least that amount. Wages also tend to be higher in areas where there is intense competition for workers. In addition to wages, some counter and rental clerks receive commissions based on the number of contracts they complete or services they sell.

Median hourly earnings of counter and rental clerks in May 2006 were $9.41. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.58 and $13.05 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.56 an hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $18.17 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of counter and rental clerks in May 2006 were:

Automobile dealers $19.15
Automotive equipment rental and leasing 10.79
Lessors of real estate 10.31
Consumer goods rental 8.07
Drycleaning and laundry services 7.95

Full-time workers typically receive health and life insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave. Benefits for counter and rental clerks who work part time or work for independent stores tend to be significantly less than for those who work full time. Many companies offer discounts to full-time and part-time employees on the goods or services they provide.

For the latest wage information:

The above wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, unless otherwise noted. For the latest National, State, and local earnings data, visit the following pages:

  • Counter and rental clerks
  • Job Outlook

    Much faster than average employment growth coupled with the need to replace workers who leave this occupation should result in many full-time and part-time job opportunities.

    Employment change. Employment of counter and rental clerks is expected to increase by 23 percent during the 2006-16 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. Because all types of businesses strive to improve customer service by hiring more clerks, fast employment growth is expected in most industries; growth in amusement and recreation industries is expected to be especially fast.

    Job prospects. Many full-time and part-time job opportunities should be available, primarily because of the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.


    Counter and rental clerks held about 477,000 jobs in 2006. About 22 percent of clerks worked in consumer goods rental, which includes video rental stores. Other large employers included drycleaning and laundry services; automotive equipment rental and leasing services; automobile dealers; amusement, gambling, and recreation industries; and grocery stores.

    Counter and rental clerks are employed throughout the country but are concentrated in metropolitan areas, where personal services and renting and leasing services are in greater demand.

    • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
    • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
    • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
    • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
    • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
    • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
    • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
    • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
    • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
    • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
    • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
    • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
    • Explosive Strength — The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
    • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
    • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
    • Supplemental — Reserve items for requested times and keep records of items rented.
    • Supplemental — Receive orders for services, such as rentals, repairs, dry cleaning, and storage.
    • Core — Compute charges for merchandise or services and receive payments.
    • Supplemental — Rent items, arrange for provision of services to customers and accept returns.
    • Core — Prepare merchandise for display, or for purchase or rental.
    • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
    • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
    • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
    • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
    • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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