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A fearless, one-woman show

January 25, 2024

Krista Benson, ECP-ST, the owner and operator of New Paltz Equipment Rental, New Paltz, N.Y., knew her community needed a rental store and she was confident she could do it.

Her father opened Just Ask Rent-All in 2012 and after a few years, Benson decided to join him in managing the store.

“I used to make hard cider, it was such a fun job, but I know I’m good at this. I’m equipment savvy, my dad had the business and it was a no-brainer,” she says.

When her father decided to sell in 2020, Benson decided to buy it, relocate, reopen and rebrand to New Paltz Equipment Rental. Her store is the only rental option in a 30-mile radius.

“When I told him I wanted to buy the business, he told me I was crazy,” Benson says. “Everyone was moving up here in 2020 and it was so busy. I had just bought the business and I couldn’t have done it without my dad. I just lost him so now it’s just
me, myself and I. When we come out of the slow season, I’ll look to hire again. I actually shut the business down to come to the ARA’s Young Professional Conference.”

As a one-woman business, Benson doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She explains that as long as she has a few business resources taken care of, she is confident she can handle the rest.

“I have a phenomenal accountant and insurance, and once I have that taken care of, I know the rest will come,” she says. “I see every rental contract, I write it physically and then input it into my software, so I know what’s going on every second of the day.”

Benson’s confidence comes from her background in equipment.

“I rent everything from power tools to compact excavators,” she says. “Everything I know how to operate and service. I have a diesel mechanic on call who is great and helps me a lot. I make it work and every day there’s something new that helps me learn.”

One important part of running a rental business, Benson learned from her father.

“My dad and I had a great reputation for customer service and our equipment being in good shape,” she says. “When customers come in who have known me since those days, I’m happy to see them. They know I’ll take care of them and I know they’ll take care of my equipment.”

She maintains that level of customer service and equipment service by partnering with the right manufacturers. “For me, service is huge,” Benson says. “I need to know that I am able to get the filters I need, parts I need. I partner with CAT because the dealer is close to me, we get along. It makes all the difference.”

Benson also wants to start making a difference in her community by hosting do-it-yourself (DIY) classes for women at her shop.

“It can be intimidating for women who want to learn to reach out for help,” she says. “My goal this spring is to host a DIY class and turn my shop into a classroom and then do a hands-on portion in the yard where we can run equipment. I’ve been doing research on the best way to execute and I’m really excited about getting it off the ground.”

With many irons in the fire, Benson doesn’t want to rush growth but it is on the horizon. She knows what she wants to do but wants to make sure the timing is right.

“It’s not 2020 anymore, but I have steady business,” Benson says. “I want to keep myself controlled. I want to buy more equipment, but I have to find a new space first so I think that’s the next goal.”

It’s only up from here for New Paltz Equipment Rental.

You can watch more about Krista here.