Rent Smart

RSC looks to industrial sector, remains committed to construction
In downturns, rental companies have a number of options, including dialing back capital expenditures, extending the average age of their equipment fleets by a few months and concentrating on the segments they do see as being profitable.

For instance, RSC Equipment Rental is focusing on the strong industrial sector, offering what it calls its Integrated Services package, including its Total Control web-based management software, Mobile Tool Rooms (portable, custom-stocked units placed onsite) and Pro Box inventory service. But the firm says it remains firmly committed to one of its core markets, contractors.

“While we consider the industrial sector our present sweet spot,” says Phil Hobson, senior vice president, corporate operations, RSC, “we remained focused on the basics – including optimal utilization rates and supporting stable rental rates.” Hobson cites RSC’s 97-percent on-time equipment delivery rate, which measures equipment deliveries within a one-hour window, as one way the company intends to keep contractor business.

Another is MobileTech, a hand-held device that is presently in limited testing with RSC field technicians. While RSC is reserving details on the MobileTech product for a 2009 launch, they say it will give its service organization quantifiable metrics designed in part to strengthen its field response times.

Rental Briefs
Cashman Equipment is now in their new facility at 3300 St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Nevada. Cashman’s Power Solutions division’s new 32,266-square-foot building and 23,414-square foot Cat Rental Store consolidates Cashman’s southern Nevada locations. The Cat Rental store has on-site rental equipment service bays and new off-highway engine service bays are part of the Power Solutions facility. The Cashman Henderson campus is the largest LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) industrial complex in Nevada and features a geothermal heating and cooling system and automatic sensor-controlled solar shades.

United Rentals is closing 30 more branches by the end of this year. This brings United Rental’s total branch closings to 61 and repositions the remaining 600+ branches to weather the downturn. Spokesman Fred Bratman says consolidations of personnel and equipment in areas where branches are closing are being coordinated to make sure UR customers are not inconvenienced. Bratman says the slow down in Florida and California construction accounts for more than 60 percent of UR’s third quarter revenue decline, resulting in more closures in the area. United Rentals expects to sell 20 percent of their fleet and 80 percent of its fleet will be repurposed in an effort to keep 2009 expenditures down. The company will start an incentive plan encouraging dealers to share fleets with other branches. UR says it is already seeing three times more fleet transfers than in years past.

Shareholders of Hyde Park Acquisition have approved the acquisition of Essex Crane Rental and Essex Holding in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The company’s new name is Essex Rental, and the company has more than 350 cranes and attachments in its fleet. CEO Ron Schad says Essex will continue to reposition their crane rental fleet away from lower lift capacity cranes and focus on higher lift capacity cranes.