Rent Smart: AED Rental Survey tracks trends for 2006

Product availability is the number one factor used to decide where to rent equipment, according to the Associated Equipment Distributors’ AED Rental 2006, a survey of manufacturers, dealers and end users examining rental trends in North America. The survey is intended as a status report on the rental industry and profiles aspects such as rental operations, fleet size and type, decision-making factors and characteristics of rental relationships.

Survey results indicate 87 percent of respondents consider product availabilty “very important.” This is followed closely by quality of equipment and past experience with the company, ranked “very important” by 79 percent of end users. The largest percentage of survey respondents are in excavation, followed by highway or bridge construction and building.

The survey also indicates user respondents rent from both equipment dealers and rental companies. Respondents say they most often rent 100-plus-horsepower excavators, compact excavators, crawler dozers, skid-steer loaders and motor graders from equipment dealers. On the other hand, they usually rent trenchers, rollers or compactors, aerial work platforms, scissor lifts and general construction equipment from national or regional rental companies. More than a third of end users specify a particular brand when renting dozers, loaders and excavators.

The top reasons respondents say they rent construction equipment are the same as in AED’s 2001 rental survey. They include work volume, special projects and equipment size. Factors least likely to drive equipment rental are fewer long-term projects, tax law considerations and decreased fleet size.

Ninety-nine percent of equipment dealers who responded to the survey say they are in the rental business. Only 6 percent have separate locations for sales and rental – down from 20 percent in 2001.

Rental companies are diversifying their rental fleets. Sixty-six percent of rental company respondents are adding new brands, 74 percent are adding new equipment sizes and 79 percent are adding new equipment types. Overall fleet size is also growing – 85 percent say they will increase the size of their fleets in 2006.

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The number of manufacturers who sell direct to national and regional rental companies has declined slightly – 69 percent in 2006 compared with 71 percent in 2001. Just 36 percent of manufacturers compensate dealers for direct sales to rental companies.

For more information on the survey or to obtain a copy of the report, visit this site.

United Rentals offering trench safety training
United Rentals now offers “Excavation Safety for Competent Person” training at more than 60 trench safety branches in the United States and Canada.

Paul McDonnell, vice president, trench safety, pump and power for United Rentals, says customers who take part in the program receive instruction on OSHA requirements including various types of trench safety equipment, procedures for visual and manual soil testing, identification and control of hazardous conditions, proper safety procedures for work near underground utilities and OSHA jobsite inspection procedures. OSHA mandates every excavation project has a trained person on site to oversee safe work practices.

The classes, held on the first Friday of each month, are conducted by company trench safety employees. “All of our instructors are site-savvy, meaning they have hands-on, in-ground construction experience,” McDonnell says. “Our trainers also stay current on local, provincial, state, federal and regulatory issues that affect trench safety work.”
McDonnell says the program also offers a consistent training format, which is important to a company that moves around the region or country. Trainers at each location can answer questions about many kinds of trench safety equipment, including new technology.

Offered in both English and Spanish, the classes last approximately six hours and generally have about 20 participants, depending on location. To take the class, contact any United Rentals trench safety branch or call 1-800-UR RENTS.

Volvo Rents planning North American expansion
With equipment rental industry revenue expected to top $28.4 billion in 2006, Volvo Rents is planning an increase in number of store locations. The company recently opened its 70th North American store in San Antonio, Texas, but according to Nick Mavrick, vice president, global strategy and marketing for Volvo Rents, more locations are on the way. “We have a backlog of 57 stores under contract to be opened in the next three to four years,” Mavrick says. “And we plan to open between 20 and 25 stores next year.”

An increase in the number of customers is spurring growth. In 2003, Volvo Rents had 26,000 customers, but passed the 100,000th customer mark by August 2006. Mavrick credits their business model for Volvo Rents’ success. “All of our locations are franchises and many of our customers are owner-operated companies, so they’re dealing with each other on an owner-to-owner basis,” he says.

And the overall industry outlook is also driving growth, Maverick says. Industry surveys project revenue will steadily increase over the next few years, reaching $32 billion in 2009 (see chart below). Mavrick says the company expects revenue for the 2006 fiscal year to increase substantially over Volvo Rents’ $144 million revenue for the 2005 fiscal year.