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Onward and upward for Rental Management's 2024 equipment rental Market Movers

By Brock Huffstutler

June 6, 2024

Photo courtesy of Durante Rentals

In recent years, equipment rental operators have adapted to deal with challenges like supply chain tie-ups, inflation, high interest rates and labor shortages. Some of these headwinds have eased to a degree but some remain. Through it all, the equipment rental industry continues to grow.

The latest American Rental Association (ARA) U.S. forecast calls for a 9.7 percent increase in equipment rental revenue, including the construction and general tool segments, to reach $79.2 billion this year.

In Canada, overall equipment rental revenue is forecast at a 7.2 percent growth rate this year, totaling $5.79 billion.

While large, publicly traded equipment rental companies continue to exert influence in the market through their size, scale and aggressive acquisition strategies, many independents are remaining competitive — and growing — in the landscape.

What threads are shared by these thriving independents? Investing in exceptional inventory, highlighting community membership, leveraging technology, strategic acquisitions and identifying new verticals to reach niche rental markets are some of the recurring themes.

This year’s list of Rental Management Market Movers in the equipment segment recognizes the fastest-growing independent rental companies during the three-year period of 2021-2023. In the category of smaller companies with annual revenue of less than $10 million, four reported rental revenue growth of more than 100 percent — with one of these clocking in at 500 percent growth. For those with annual revenue of $10 million or more, two reported rental revenue growth of more than 100 percent, with the largest jump pegged at 319 percent from a company whose revenues grew from $24 million to $100.5 million during the period.

In this story, we’ll list who these companies are and spotlight several who discuss some of the factors behind their growth, what makes them unique in their market and the technology that propels them.

Market Movers with under $10 million in annual revenue

Matt Thomas of Thomas Brothers Equipment Rental Co., Tracy, Calif., proudly labels his company as a “third- and fourth-generation family-owned-and-operated” business that has almost doubled in size annually for the past five years. The company reported a 256 percent revenue increase and is planning new locations in Sacramento and Fresno, Calif.

The addition of a second, bigger location has enabled Tennessee Valley Equipment Rental, Huntsville, Ala., to more than double its fleet size — resulting in a doubling of its rental revenue from 2021 to 2023.

Tennessee Valley Equipment Rental’s Ros Roberts says his company stands out in a competitive market because “we are a local, family-owned business fighting tooth and nail with all the national firms in our area. We carry a newer fleet on average than the nationals will and sell that to our local contractors.”

Durante Equipment, Hollywood, Fla., joins this year’s Market Movers with a nearly 75 percent rate of growth. The company cites its “unwavering commitment to customers, employees, community and industry,” and a “customer-centric approach and unparalleled service” as factors behind its continued growth.

Being in the “fastest-growing county in Ohio” and near a new multi-million-dollar Intel plant has enabled Rental Stop Ohio, Sunbury, Ohio, to thrive over the past three years, according to the company’s Jeff Loudermilk. Rental Stop has increased its revenue by 70 percent and plans to open an additional location soon.

Nor-Cal Equipment Rentals, Sacramento, Calif., attributes its recent 58 percent revenue jump success to “a large market share in northern California along with a strong, unique marketing campaign,” says the company’s Tom Butts.

Beth Hoff Blackmer of Aspen Rent-All, Basalt, Colo., says her company’s revenue growth from $2 million in 2021 to $3.1 million in 2023 is remarkable given that it was achieved while operating from “one location and in a remote market of 32,000 people over a 40-mile valley. We have done this while in business for 56 years at this point.”

The 51 percent revenue climb experienced by Arvada Rent-Alls represents growth that is “purely organic,” says Andrew Heesacker, ECP-SM, of the Arvada, Colo.-based company. “Debt is kept to a minimum, roughly 25 percent of our fleet is financed, and our dollar utilization is roughly 65 percent. Focus is kept on the culture, consistent and moderately aggressive planned growth and forward-thinking strategy.”

Mark Elliott of Southern Rental Systems, Rincon, Ga., says that while his company has been successful by increasing its revenue by more than 50 percent over three years, revenue growth has been only a secondary goal.

“We are a company that has grown not because we invested but because we grew as the demand grew. Some companies grow for revenue where we grew to take care of our customers and then the revenue came,” Elliott says.

A nearly 47 percent revenue increase also has earned A-1 Rental in Columbia, Mo., a place on the list. The business is led by David Maddock and specializes in homeowner and light contractor equipment.

Market Movers with more than $10 million in annual revenue

As has been the case with national publicly traded entities, many larger independent equipment rental companies are growing fast via acquisitions or by adding locations.

At nine locations, Vandalia Rental, Vandalia, Ohio, is no stranger to expansion through acquisitions and new construction. The company, led by Kurt Barney, has grown by more than 100 percent over the past three years.

A blend of acquisitions and greenfield openings also played a large role in the nearly 80 percent revenue expansion of Cooper Equipment Rentals, based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The company says it strengthened its position in western Canada in 2023 by acquiring Warner Rentals in British Columbia and Scotty’s Rentals in Alberta, contributing to the 13 new locations that were added to Cooper’s network last year, bringing it to 75 countrywide.

Footprint expansion has also been a priority for RE Investment Co., Kalispell, Mont. The company cites this strategy as the factor behind its revenue growth of 69 percent. The company currently has 49 locations across North America.

Family-owned-and-operated since 1952, PDQ Rentals, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., has experienced “great growth over the last 10 years as the company transitioned to the third generation of management,” says the company’s Dennis Turner. That growth, which includes the addition of three locations in 2023 to total six overall, is reflected in the company’s revenue leap from $44.4 million in 2021 to $65 million in 2023.

The story behind the growth of GM Equipment Corp., Kersey, Pa., and its three-year, 35 percent revenue growth is similar.

“GM Equipment Rentals was started as a small, family-owned company with one location. We have since grown to four manned locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan,” says the company’s Andrew Dobson.

Forty-nine years into its operational life and with seven locations, Tejas Equipment Rental & Sales, San Antonio, enters this year’s Market Movers list with a more than $5 million increase in revenues over three years.

Rental Guys, a 12-location, third generation, Chico, Calif.-based company, credits its 32 percent revenue growth to its commitment to being visible in the community.

“We have grown through a strong sales force with focus on deep community relationships and customer solutions,” says the company’s Avery DuBose.

Click below to learn more about Rental Management‘s 2024 Market Movers:
Empower Rental Group, Franklin, Tenn.
ENCON Equipment, Nicholasville, Ky.
Durante Rentals, New Rochelle, N.Y.
NC Rents, Lodi, Calif.
Partner Rentals, Kingston, N.Y.
Stephenson’s Rental Services, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

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