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Preparation is key for Florida rental operation

By Connie Lannan

May 23, 2023

Damage at Taylor RentalOperating a rental business in South Florida, Syd Ayoub, president, and his assistant, Beth Spiller, party planner, at Taylor Rental, Naples, Fla., have lived through many hurricanes. Those experiences have taught them a vital lesson: Be prepared. 

“We have been impacted by hurricanes Charley in 2004, Wilma in 2005, Irma in 2017 and Ian in 2022,” Ayoub says. “We lost power in all of them except Charlie. With Irma, we had a block wall in our warehouse separate from the building. There was a huge gap. You could see daylight. We had to tear down the wall and put a new one up. Because we are about 5 miles from the coast, we didn’t experience any flooding with Ian. We lost power for about four days, had some wind damage and saw lots of debris, but nothing major — and our employees were OK.” 

No matter the storm, if they might be in the path, they undertake the following steps: 

  • Watch the weather reports. “About 10 days out, we watch the reports very closely to see where the storm is heading,” Spiller says. “If it is heading toward Cuba, we are pretty sure we will be impacted,” Ayoub adds.  
  • Begin preparing the business. “Around this time, we put up our hurricane shutters and check on our large equipment that is out on rent,” Ayoub says.  
  • Take down any tents that are up. “Before Ian, we pulled down any tents that were still up,” Ayoub adds.  
  • Take care of customers. “We rented a lot of generators to customers who were preparing for the storm as they knew in advance they would probably lose power,” Ayoub says.  
  • Stay connected with employees. “We stayed late making sure everything was tied down and ready. The hurricane hit about 7 a.m. the next morning. We all stayed home and kept in touch with our 25 employees via group texts,” Ayoub says.  Damage at Taylor Rental

Luckily, all were able to return to the business the day after Ian hit. “Even though we didn’t have power, we could open because we had backup generators to power our computers and phones,” Ayoub says.  

Their customers were glad they were there. “We were swamped the day after the hurricane, renting generators, dehumidifiers, carpet blowers, etc.,” Spiller says.

They have found they need to take the threat of hurricanes very seriously. “What we have learned is that everyone has to be prepared when a storm is heading their way. You need to pay attention to what the weather reports tell you and then take the proper precautions.”