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Brian Richardson, your ARA regional director, on the state of the industry

By Brian Richardson

September 5, 2023

Brian Richardson

Brian Richardson

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to travel to the American Rental Association’s (ARA) headquarters in Moline, Ill., to take part in the ARA Executive Committee meeting. As a member of the association’s Event Rental Advocacy Workgroup, I was able to weigh in on conversations concerning the state of event rentals and I was happy to be able to tell the committee — based on what I am seeing out there in my rental segment — that events are back.

The events we are seeing are bigger and better, and budgets seem to have gone back to pre-COVID numbers. The challenge is that labor is still difficult to find. We can’t, in this industry, find people who are willing to work, regardless of the salaries that we are willing to pay. So, we’re having to rely more and more on H-2B visas, and any program that relies on the lottery to solve your labor issues is just not sustainable. That is the challenge going forward. I think that you’re going to see some companies scaling back the events that they’ll take on just because they can’t staff them. Other than that, prices for rental rates are up but costs are up as well. The future of event rental is strong and it’s very bright.

My peers on the ARA Executive Committee from the equipment rental segment were also positive about what’s going on in their segment. There are headwinds there for sure, like interest rate increases and inflation for prices of equipment, and uncertainty in markets like residential construction. But on the positive side, some of the supply chain disruptions seem to be easing and the more expensive cost of capital is still making the idea of renting a piece of equipment attractive.

The thrust of the main story in month’s In Your Region newsletter is cybersecurity. I hope you’ll take the time to read it through and get ideas on preventing the latest types of cyberfrauds that are hitting equipment and event rental operations. You’ll also find lots more helpful information on educating yourself and your staff on cybertheft prevention at RentalU — just log in and type in “cyber” in the search field and you’ll find it all.

Until next time,

Brian Richardson, ARA Region Two director
L & A Tent Rentals
Trenton, N.J.