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ARA member pushes for bill to help fellow equipment rental businesses

by Ashleigh Petersen

Andrew HeesackerIn Colorado, Andrew Heesacker, ECP-SM, president and CEO, Arvada Rent-Alls, Arvada, Colo., and the American Rental Association’s Region Seven director, is encouraging lawmakers to support a bill that would help equipment rental business owners across the state. 

Currently Colorado companies are required to register “Special Mobile Machinery” (SMM). According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, a SMM is “machinery that is pulled, hauled, or driven over a highway and is either; a vehicle or equipment that is not designed primarily for the transportation of persons or cargo over the public highways; or a motor vehicle that may have been originally designed for the transportation of persons or cargo over the public highways, and has been redesigned or modified by the addition of mounted equipment or machinery, and is only incidentally operated or moved over the public highways.” 

In recent years, large equipment rental companies began pushing for an exemption to this registration requirement. That effort was successful and on July 1, 2022, S.B. 21-257 went into effect.  

The act allows an owner of SMM who regularly rents or leases the machinery and who pays specific ownership tax on a monthly basis in an amount equal to 2 percent of the rental or lease payments for the SMM to apply to the department of revenue for a registration exempt certificate. The department will issue an exemption certificate if the owner regularly has 1,000 or more SMM items in the state. Click here for full exemption details. 

While the act benefits large rental companies with more than 1,000 pieces of SMM, Heesacker — and numerous other Colorado equipment rental companies with less than 1,000 pieces — are still left with the hassle and expense of registering every piece of equipment.  

“SMMs are pretty much anything from a small walk behind trencher to a 19-ft. scissor lift and up. On each one of those items, rental companies in Colorado charge 2 percent of the rental to the customer. As a rental operator, we track that and remit it monthly,” Heesacker says.  

“The issue that rental companies have run in to is that it’s a lot of work. When we buy the item, we have to have specific paperwork, we have to go to the DMV and register the item. We have our equipment on a fleet — which is a yearly renewal. Once you apply for your registration, you get a sticker and then you put that on the item. Then each year, you have to renew each of those items,” he explains. 

“It takes a lot to manage this each year. We have to make sure we didn’t sell or lose any piece of equipment, then go through the whole list, add any equipment that was missed and go back to the DMV. Once we get the registration stickers, we have to chase each of those items down. Currently, we have more than 100 of those SMM pieces out on rent. So, we have to go to the rental site or wait for the equipment to come back,” he says. 

Now Heesacker is pushing lawmakers to pass a bill that would help. On Tuesday, Jan. 31, he testified — along with an ARA lobbyist and a lobbyist from The Home Depot — to the Senate Committee on Finance. The bill being proposed would allow an exception for all equipment rental companies regardless of the number of SMMs they have in their inventory. Click here for details on the bill. 

Heesacker was asked to testify because of the relationship he’s built with State Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D-Colo.), who represents Heesacker’s district. Zenzinger was involved in the passage of S.B. 21-257. She reached out to Heesacker to see if he could benefit from the bill being revised. 

The bill passed the Senate Committee on Finance and now moves to the Colorado House of Representatives. Heesacker is unsure if he’ll be asked to testify to lawmakers there but says he’s ready to represent the industry, if called upon.