We bumped into Rah-mah Pelzer-Elue, owner of S.H.I.F.T. Event Rentals, on Instagram. After renting one of our vehicles, she wanted to get the good word out to other small business owners in her Durham, North Carolina, community. Whether it’s a big job, or a small one, Rah-mah knows she can rely on Fluid Truck to find the right vehicle at the right time.
Read more to learn Fluid Truck is helping to power Rah-mah and her team.
Q: How did S.H.I.F.T. Event Rentals get started?
It’s a funny story. I’ve been in the corporate event, marketing, and branding arena since 2013. In those spaces, I realized how underrepresented people from my community and my ethnicity were. I went to school at Northern Arizona University and the Black population there is really, really small. There was a joke that we were like pepper. And so over time, I realized that was the corporate marketing space, too. A lot of small businesses never got the opportunity to work with big brands. I set out to bridge the gap so the two worlds could connect. Launching this business is a full circle moment. You really get to see how the cake is made in this industry because your work is done before the “show must go on.”
Q: Tell us about your experience as a Black female entrepreneur.
The interesting thing is, being a Black female entrepreneur isn’t a rarity. There are so many of us. The problem is, a lot of us take on a lot of responsibility, we give it our all, and we have to over-compensate to get access to the same spaces. Even the event rental industry is a very old, very white male-dominated industry. So even if some of us are able to get into certain rooms, to be able to sustain it is way harder. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
Q: What advice would you give to other small business owners?
The most important thing is iron sharpens iron. It is super important to get around people who aren’t gatekeepers. Look for people who help you build on a concept. Just a few weeks ago I was stuck on something, but I got on the phone with another entrepreneur and within 5 minutes on the phone, it was solved. You have to get around like-minded people. I recommend using social media to help you find those people.
Q: How did you find Fluid Truck?
One day we were in desperate need of a U-Haul, which is two blocks from our house. But they were totally sold out because we’re in a college town and it was a moving weekend. That’s when I remembered I’d driven by a Fluid Truck about six months prior. Within five minutes we found a truck that was the same distance from our house. We got in and met our deadline. I started doing the math and I realized y’all are better than U-Haul. That’s what got me to switch for real — we started saving a lot of money with Fluid. From there, it became second nature.
Q: What’s it like driving or riding in a Fluid Truck?
I’m a bit of a car snob, but I’m more loyal to features than the brand. The cruise control, the blind spot indicators, the size, it’s wonderful to drive. My partner has a hearing disability so those features to help with safety go a long way.
Q: Why recommend Fluid Truck to other small business owners?
I made an Instagram reel about Fluid Truck and it didn’t get great engagement, but I realized people were taking note. Fluid Trucks became less and less available to me, and when I was crossing paths with others in my industry, they were like “yeah I saw that video you made on Fluid Truck and I joined right after!” So everyone hopped on my tip without acknowledging it. For us, it’s always a numbers thing. Fluid makes the numbers make sense, 99% of the time. When they make sense, they make cents.
Q: What are your growth plans? How can Fluid Truck help you achieve this?
We’re growing, and we’ll need bigger trucks for bigger events. We’d love to use some of your box trucks in the future. For larger hauls, there needs to be more automation of the vehicle on the front end and back end. No one in our market offers the type of vehicle we’d need so extending those options to companies like ours will go a long way.
Q: If you could have a Fluid Truck full of anything, what would it be?
I’d want a Fluid Truck full of pipe and drapes!