100 Surviving the Roller Coaster

May 1, 2003
At first glance, the RER 100 looks quite similar to last year's list. With a few exceptions, most of the same companies are listed and the revenues are

At first glance, the RER 100 looks quite similar to last year's list. With a few exceptions, most of the same companies are listed and the revenues are not too dramatically different, although roughly twice as many companies posted lower revenues in 2002 than they did the previous year.

But looking a little closer at the state of the rental industry we see that we may be entering one of the most dynamic periods in the industry's history with as much potential for change as at any time in the past. Just look at the top 10 and you can see the possibility of significant changes in 2003. As one company, NationsRent (No. 6 on the RER 100), prepares to emerge from Chapter 11 — and by the time you read this its emergence may be imminent or have already occurred — others are staring the possibility of bankruptcy right in the face. National Equipment Services (No. 5) and Maxim Crane Works (No. 7) are seeking to negotiate significant restructuring of their debt in order to avoid bankruptcy filings.

Rebel Rents (No. 54) has had to adjust to life under bankruptcy protection, as has the company formerly listed as Powerlift, now known as Southern California Material Handling, No. 85. And Crescent Machinery, No. 57, recently had its reorganization plan approved by a bankruptcy judge and was expected to emerge from Chapter 11 protection earlier this month.

Conversely, some companies are growing dramatically. Home Depot Rentals (No. 8) is continuing its upward assent, possibly adding as many as 400 rental departments in 2003 and 2004. Other companies are contracting, closing branches, rationalizing fleet and downsizing staff as revenues drop.

The heady days of rapid consolidation and expansion that the industry breathlessly witnessed from 1997-2000 are now a distant memory. Yet the days of rapid change are not. New rental companies and start-ups are coming into play, many the former owners of companies that sold to those consolidators as their non-compete clauses expire. Former employees of those that sold as well as former employees of national rental companies have also started their own businesses, such as new RER 100 listee St. Louis-based Midwest Aerials & Equipment, No. 83.

While some see the entry of many new players as negative — some have said such startups are the result of manufacturers giving too easy terms to startups as a means to ensure themselves of a channel to market their own equipment — others see them as a positive, pumping fresh blood and energy into an industry where many of its most innovative entrepreneurs have sold out to consolidators.

The trend of manufacturers getting directly involved in rentals to bring their own products closer to the channel and to take advantage of what is still a growing segment continues, with the continuing growth of Caterpillar as possibly the world's largest rental player. Volvo Rents is creating a fast-growing franchise program worldwide with more than 20 branches already open in the United States and more than 40 franchisees signed up. Twenty-four Caterpillar dealers are listed in this year's RER 100, and there are more than 40 dealers of Cat, Komatsu, Deere and Case combined. Other manufacturers are known to be considering more direct rental involvement, and, according to rental industry consultant Dan Kaplan of Morristown, N.J.-based Daniel Kaplan Associates, even small equipment and tool manufacturers are considering measures to bring their products more directly to the rental channel.

And what about the possibility of major national player buying major national player, or consolidator buying consolidator? In recent years we've seen the dramatic merger of United Rentals and U.S. Rentals creating the industry's largest company; the then-third- and fourth-largest companies Prime and Rental Service Corp., both acquired by Atlas Copco and then merged into one unit; last year's acquisition of Brambles by National Equipment Services, two top 10 companies, and United's 2001 effort to acquire Neff. And major players ICM Equipment and Head & Engquist last year merged to create this year's No. 9 company H&E Equipment Services. It seems inevitable that with so many major players struggling — over-leveraged almost like third world nations with foreign debts they can never hope to pay off — that they are unlikely to survive in their current form. Some may restructure their debt, some may be forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and some may merge or be acquired.

So will we see mergers or acquisitions within this year's top 10? Who knows what conversations are taking place even as I write these lines, and time will tell what dramatic realignments are pending.

But the more immediate concern on the minds of RER 100 executives is not what is taking place in the boardrooms of national rental companies or what shape next year's top 10 will take. The far larger issue on everybody's minds is what is going on at the job sites of North America, specifically what kind of business conditions will they face after two very tough years during which supply significantly outpaced demand, leading to a crowded and competitive rental marketplace, frighteningly low rental rates, and the drop in nonresidential construction that has exacerbated the choking debts and drops in rental volume that have everybody concerned.

For most owners of rental companies, survival is the most pressing concern. Companies are being severely tested by a downturn that has persisted more deeply and longer than business owners and economists alike predicted. Non-residential construction — the bread-and-butter of most of the medium- to large-size rental businesses that make up the RER 100 — has reached double-digit percentage levels two years running. And a supply-demand imbalance — in simple terms, too much equipment chasing too few jobs — has compelled rental companies to drop rates in favor of acceptable utilization. The customer, in such an environment, is easily tempted to forget value and service in favor of the low rates being dangled before his eyes.

Another hurdle for many rental companies is the unprecedented number of states facing severe budget shortages and therefore not being able to fund projects, particularly road construction, for which federal funds are available. The inability of many states to match the federal funds puts much work on the back burner, affecting many rental companies whether or not they specialize in highway construction. And further margin pressure is applied by spiraling employee costs, including insurance and workers compensation payments.

In a nutshell, few expected the current downturn to last as long as it has and many rental people consider it comparable or worse than the recession of the early 1990s.

“It is worse in our market,” says Rich DiMarco Jr. of Admar Supply Co., No. 60. Some of the contractors in our area are down 30 percent. It didn't affect us in the '90s because the lift market was growing, but now there's a saturation point. Now with rate reductions you can have more equipment out but less revenue coming in.”

However, Don Ahern, of Ahern Rentals, No. 15, has a different take. “The downturn of the early '90s was one of construction volume,” he says. “But I think that this one in the '00s is more because our industry has saturated the market. I see a lot of stats that indicate that housing starts are up and construction is high. The overall factor is supply and demand, that's the key. The law of supply and demand is the first thing I learned in Economics 101 and nothing I've learned since sums it all up better.”

Roger Johnson of Temp-Air, Burnside, Minn., No. 52, says the highs and lows have been more dramatic this time around than in the '90s, but others contend that lower interest rates in the '00s have softened the effect of the downturn.

Whatever the difference, the recession of the early '00s has taken its toll on the RER 100 and had a dramatic impact on the way everybody does business. While many RER 100 companies believe the economy has reached bottom and sense a brighter outlook and therefore increased demand from their customers over the coming year, the downturn and how to respond to it is on everybody's mind in 2003 and will affect every decision, large or small.

What Goes Up….

After four years of upwards of 30 percent increase year over year, seven years of at least 20 percent boosts, eight years of double digit jumps, the Top Ten tailed off to a 6 percent increase for 2001's revenue. The year 2002 marked the first revenue decline for the Top 10 of the RER 100 since 1991, a span of 11 years.

Year Revenue in Billions % Change 2002 $6.46 -6 2001 $6.89 +6 2000 $6.49 +32 1999 $4.94 +56 1998 $3.16 +36 1997 $2.32 +55 1996 $1.50 +25 1995 $1.20 +20 1994 $998.4 million +25 1993 $799.0 million +11 1992 $718.9 million +1.5 1991 $708.1 million -8 1990 $771.5 million ---

Hitting Targets

Freek Nijdam, Rental Service Corp.'s CEO, isn't concerned about financial predictions. He is focused on managing business through the downturn and finding ways to improve performance.

RER: How would you describe the current economic situation in the rental industry?

NIJDAM: After the extreme growth that we had in the 1990s when rental was growing with double digit numbers, which was unlike any we had ever seen before in the construction industry, we came to a downward trend and the construction industry reacted far too late, which means that the amount of supply is not in tune with demand. That's where we are now.

How has your company reacted to that?

Two weeks after my arrival, I cancelled $75 million worth of equipment on order. Adding more fleet in a time when construction is going down doesn't help.

Now you're disposing of assets to bring costs down?

We started to try to bring, as much as possible, the equipment that we have in line with demand. Not having the equipment idle is a big cost savings. And of course we have to look at each individual store. In some cases, the stores have too much equipment and when local managers or district managers get desperate, they can kill that local market in a couple of weeks. And then to get the prices back will take a long time and that will only come when the construction industry is booming again.

Companies need utilization and at the same time the pricing is so low. I know you are concerned about rates; what can you do to improve them?

Well, this is our responsibility and we are pushing to get a fair rate whenever possible in this gloomy environment. The famous rule of multiplying by three, from daily to weekly to monthly, should be abandoned. It works if you have a high daily and you multiply by three, then again by three, then again by three, but if you have a low monthly and you divide by three, then again by three, and again by three, then you are making unnecessary price concessions. I understand that big projects will always be at low rates because everybody focuses on that and wants to be in on the prestige project. This is normal and I don't blame anybody for that. But for other jobs, we should try and charge more and charge for the extras.

We have charges such as environmental fees that should be passed on to the customer. It's not just that we want to charge, but these items cost us money. So we have to recover the costs more creatively.

Do your sales people, inside and outside, need training in selling quality and value?

We conducted a big training program for our sales people. One part was teaching salespeople to become more efficient and the other was to teach them to sell the value of our company to the customer. That means better rates also.

I have a lot of theories on rates. The first problem we have is that nobody knows the value of our product. If you say, “I'm going to rent a backhoe for $1,500 a month,” you don't know the relationship between the equipment and its cost. I challenge you to tell me what it costs us to rent that backhoe for the month. When you sell a product, there is a reference to the price, to the cost. When a car salesman sells you a car, whatever incentive they may offer, you know that the production cost of that car is lower because they are not so desperate that they are selling cars below the cost of the car. Maybe the margin is not as high as it should be, that we don't know, but for sure you know that when you buy that car, the production cost is lower than the price.

But in rental we often don't know. It's the same in the airline industry. Do we know the price of an airline seat between Phoenix and New York? For sure, $95 from San Francisco to London does not cover the cost and yet the offer is there. This is incremental revenue, they want to fill a couple of seats and they sell the rest for more. But this is the problem we have. Our salespeople, managers and even myself, we don't know if $1,500 for the backhoe is a good price or a bad price. When I sell a compressor, I know that the cost of the compressor is X and if I sell it for Y, I sell it above cost. But with rental, people don't know, so that means we can't defend the rates based on the cost.

All companies these days are downsizing. How are you able to maintain the level of service that you need?

When you are downsizing, you always have to realize that if you have 1,000 people, and now you have cut 100 people and have 900, you can't do everything the same way. So you have to change the process or you offer worse service to your customer, and we are a service industry. For us, the number one concern must be that the customer is served better.

So how can that work? I always come back to the question of unavailable fleet, that is, fleet in the shop. When I came to RSC, it was 28 percent unavailable, now it is 18 percent and the improvement occurred because we concentrated on this point. Now, I may be able to serve the customer well with 28 percent not available, but with 10 percent more fleet, I can serve the customer better and I have saved 10 percent.

The biggest cost for any rental company is that of owning equipment. All the other costs are smaller. So if you want to reduce costs, what do you do? You stop buying pencils? That doesn't help you very much. You need to go to the biggest cost and try to slice 5 to 10 percent off of that. So, that is also a very important thing to look at. How much fleet do you need in a particular area? Only the local guy can judge how much fleet he needs, based on the size of his market.

Are you looking at shop efficiencies and that sort of thing?

We are studying the flow in the shops and trying to get better administration, better flow, more efficiency. And less down fleet. How to order the parts, how to stock the parts, which type of equipment are we going to repair, which unit do I need to send to the specialist.

Do you have any particular goals or plans for RSC this year?

The number one goal is to get better every quarter. In the shop we have put up benchmarks, a number of non-financial targets. It comes to efficiency, to flow, to down fleet, how many calls you are losing, how many orders you are getting. We have five or six benchmarks for every shop to get better.

If you walk in a shop and 9 percent of the equipment is down, you have to say, ok, what's a good number. A good number is 96 percent rental-ready, but if we're at 9.4 unavailable, why don't we set the goal to be at 7 percent within a month? I don't have to make a revolution, I only have to improve a little. If I can get to 7 after one month, why not 6 at the end of two?

Based on your history and knowledge of the economy where do you think the economy is going over the next year or two?

I'll try to take it from a more practical side. If you are taking the attitude that tomorrow is better, you normally don't do anything to improve. If you take the attitude that tomorrow is worse, you might start to make some improvements. So it is better to take the attitude that tomorrow is worse.

You read in the paper, “The second half will be better.” And then businessmen say, “Ok, let's wait until then, everything will be better.” You may have noticed that since 2001, every half-year is projected to be better according to experts. Or “the first quarter of next year will be better!” And what happens? It gets worse. So it's better to take the necessary steps to improve your company. If you think, “There will be a boom and everything will be fine again,” it doesn't work. That's not my way of thinking.

It's better to ask: What can we do to make things better?

A Not Unexpected Decline

The 2003 RER 100, covering 2002 rental revenue, totaled $8,860.4 billion, about a 6 percent drop from last year's total. It was the first decrease of total RER 100 revenue since 1998. Still it was the second highest revenue total in the RER 100's history.

Year Total Rental Volume % Change 2002 $8.86 billion -6 2001 $9.41 billion +7 2000 $8.79 billion +25 1999 $7.01 billion +59 1998 $4.41 billion -1 1997 $4.45 billion --

Next Up: Volvo

One of the most compelling stories of a manufacturer finding its way into the rental channel has been Volvo, which is creating a fast-growing network of Volvo Rents franchises. RER recently visited with Michael Farley, president of rental businesses for Volvo.

RER: How many Volvo Rents centers do you expect to have by the end of 2003?

FARLEY: We have more than 40 stores that are under contract to open in 2003 that are in some phase of construction, in addition to the 25 already existing stores. Our target is to do about 79 total store openings by the end of the year. At that point we'll slow it down because I don't want to get ahead of ourselves. It's important to get the right quality players. What's really nice is that we're able to be very selective now.

We'll open eight stores this year in Spain and Portugal. Ireland is going along very well as is Italy. We made a commitment to hire an international person to focus in on Capetown, South Africa, and Australia. I don't think we'll see any stores in those places this year, there's a lot of legal issues and computer systems and so forth that have to be developed but by the beginning of the first quarter of 2004, we should have some locations in those places as well.

Are you pleased with the programs' development?

Our fleet purchasing section does really well for us, the deals keep getting better and better for our franchisees. Our computer system, the Texada system, does really well for us. Volvo has committed $600 million to this program over the next three years. We increased our compact sales by 50 percent in North America last year, based on just these stores, so that's a huge increase for Volvo. They're very pleased with the number of machines that are being sold.

Our standard rental franchise is running about 13 percent higher on revenue than we anticipated, and is averaging about 11 percent higher dollar utilization than we expected. It's driving that entrepreneur back to the market, and letting them find their niches.

Once you sign a franchisee, does it take a couple of months to get a store up and running?

In some cases it's quicker. Believe it or not, one of the problems we are having is flags. Volvo puts three flags up, but some communities don't allow flags up. We never thought about that, but some communities are particular about their zoning. So we have zoning issues that come into play where we have to make some adjustments, but that's no different than in any other business.

Can a franchisee buy the equipment he wants?

The franchisee has complete control over purchasing his fleet. But we spend a lot of time with them making sure that they understand that if they want to buy an 85-foot boom, what the return on that 85-foot boom is and would they rather put their money somewhere else? That's where we spend a fair amount of time.

Is rental experience required to be a franchisee?

It's pretty much one of our pre-requisites. You have to have rental experience. I don't want to have to teach you the rental business. You need to know that it's a 6 in the morning to 8 o'clock deal, six, seven days a week kind of business. So we're only going after people that have rental backgrounds.

What about experience with Volvo equipment?

Not required. Most of the rental lines are relatively new anyway, such as the backhoe loader, the telehandler, the skid-steer loader and compaction equipment. So even our dealers are new to those lines. Our sales on mini-excavators have just skyrocketed. Volvo is known for the cabs on our machines, that's what they do best, and so they really pay attention to the operator. Our add-on sales to its franchisees, particularly the mini-excavators, has been just phenomenal, we're very pleased with that and that's why we achieved that 50 percent increase in sales on the compact side.

I'm glad to know you're not trying to grow too fast.

Volvo is conservative, they like steady. By their culture, they are very committed to build the right product, to make sure we've got it built properly, that's the mandate from Leif Johanssen, to build the product, the Volvo Rents product, along with the resources, don't get ahead of ourselves and don't build it too fast. It's more important that we build something that we manage in the proper way.

Who goes to help the franchisees when they have trouble?

At a minimum once a month, we have a franchise operations person in the store. He has a financial analysis of each store's finances, he has a review of all the fleets, all the utilization numbers. We just have a specialist to help the franchisees with sales and sales blitzes and training sales people and how to manage sales forces, we're adding that resource to the team. But the operations people are in a minimum of once a month. On the new starts, we try and go in every two weeks, one is more of an operational facility, the other is once we get the monthly numbers go back in, sit down, talk about it, we work on promotional items, we look at ways to help them advertise.

In the various markets you've opened up, what's been the response, in some cases there may be more rental stores than needed. Are people finding their niche?

They are. The real heart of our program is that these are local owners. They are already in the community as a person who has lived there most of their life, or someone who has a rental business there.

Rentals International

Rentals is becoming more and more of a global business, and while the RER 100 ranking is based on rental volume in North America, a number of rental companies have major international presences. The following chart shows some of the international strength of RER 100 companies.

Company (ranking) No. America rental volume in millions International rental volume Hertz (3) $785.0* $893.0 Aggreko (11) $154.0 $543.5 AMECO (13) $94.0 $143.0 G.E. Energy Rentals (16) $75.0* $155.0* Finning (17) $70.6 $519.7 HSS RentX (18) $57.5* $293.3 Asterisk denotes RER estimate. Figures in U.S. dollars.

Testing Your Strength

The RER 100's top player for the fifth consecutive year, United Rentals is settling into the role of an established organization. In this RER interview, president John Milne discusses the beginning of 2003, rental rates, the economy, acquisitions and more.

RER: How did United do in the first quarter of 2003?

MILNE: Overall the business performed well in the quarter, pretty much in line with what we expected, although we were a bit weaker on the bottom line than we had hoped. On the negative side, we faced some cost pressures that were not anticipated, notably fuel expense, insurance and benefits. We had anticipated some cost increases, but these costs were higher in the quarter than we expected.

On the positive side, rental rates did better than we expected. They were lower, by 2.3 percent year over year, but we had anticipated as much as 100 to 200 basis points more. In fact, rental rates were up in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter. So this is a positive trend, which is sustainable, and it indicates that we are doing better at managing rates. Things we could control we did well at such as rental rates, but some that we couldn't control such as insurance claims, hit us harder than we expected.

Highway spending was weak, not because of the weather, but because states were curtailing bidding. Highway spending was down about 10 percent year over year. We had hoped we had seen most of decline in state spending in 2002, when many of the states where we do business were already cutting back because of lower tax revenue. In 2002 there were some severe cutbacks on the state level, but as we rolled into this year we are seeing continued deterioration, and that means more of a decline than we had expected in our traffic safety business.

Since you are committed to aging fleet, won't that translate into higher maintenance costs?

We're planning for repairs and maintenance to be up $10 million year over year in 2003 because of aging of fleet. In the first quarter, we were up $1.8 million, consistent with achieving $10 million increase in maintenance spending for the year. It allows us to age the fleet from 36 months in December 2002 to 42 months at the end of this year.

We spent $102.5 million to buy replacement equipment in the first quarter, and our total program is to spend about $300 million for the year, so we're about a third into annual spending.

You've been developing a merchandising program. How successful is it to this point?

We have seen positive growth in that area. We implemented the new program in all our stores and we are still getting through old stock. We're still comfortable that we can take it up 20 percent this year. When we look at the performance of stores that were the earliest to be re-set with new stock, we're seeing growth rates of up to 100 percent, so that gives us confidence that there is a huge demand, and that our customers see us as offering a value added service.

Customers like the idea of a single point of contact, someone who is on the job site frequently. We can drop ship to a distribution point or deliver directly to job sites. Because a lot of our customers are geographically dispersed in terms of job sites, it's difficult to control the level of merchandise spread throughout their organization. So we can provide merchandise throughout their job sites, and our URdata system allows them to track all their merchandise, so at any given moment, they can find out how much they've spent.

For a moment let me ask you to be an economic pundit and predict the economy over the next year or two.

Next year is hard to predict. Give me a 12-months time frame after recovery begins and I will tell you we'll see strong growth characteristics not only after the 12-month period, but during that period. I expect growth in excess of 15 percent on a unit volume basis, and some pricing growth, not huge but at least 1 to 2 percent as we come out of a weak non-residential construction period. Every percent of pricing translates to 15 cents per share in added earnings; every 1 percent of volume growth equates to about 7 cents per share. So if we see a 15 percent unit growth, our earning power can be in excess of $2 a share. That's the business model rental companies have always gone by; private companies have used this business model for years.

It's a cyclical industry, and down times test the strength of companies. Those that don't have the right business model or capital structure will be hurt. Good private and public companies that plan for good times and weaker times and look throughout their organizations and fine-tune areas that require improvement can see a huge growth to the bottom line.

We don't feel business is getting worse from a demand level and time utilization has actually improved a little bit. Pricing has been stable or improving sequentially. We feel we're bumping along the bottom of the cycle. Maybe some things could hit from left field that we're not aware of, but we don't see the likelihood of the business going down further. The recovery could begin in six months, in 18 months, or in 24, we just don't know. I'd love to see a bull non-residential construction market, but like other intelligently managed public or private companies, we'll manage through it.

With quite a few companies going through some difficult times, would United be interested in making acquisitions? And do you expect to see more mergers and consolidations among the big players?

We always pay attention to the competitive landscape, but right now we're not in a posture where we're aggressively looking at those as opportunities. We're in the business of deploying capital — that which the banks give us, that our shareholders give us, and the business gives us. One way is by investing in more fleet, which is the best return for our dollar. Another is through acquisitions that we can get for an attractive and compelling price that could add value to the business. Right now we want to maintain a conservative posture on our balance sheet, and would focus on opportunities that would not deteriorate our credit. If those stars aligned, we'd look at those opportunities as they might present themselves.

Many of the industry players have over-leveraged their balanced sheet and will have to change. Some might have to reorganize through Chapter 11 or through a merger and some will look to downsize and reorganize into more efficient organizational structures. Some may just liquidate, although that is not as likely an option for most.

Also are you looking at any additional inventory markets, such as the temporary power market or other niches?

We always explore possibilities, but our primary focus is our core product line. I don't see a big investment in new product lines in the near term. We look at what every manufacturer offers, and at how they would integrate with our existing distribution network. We look at our network and the best way to serve customers. That's, why merchandizing made sense, it was an opportunity that through our existing distribution channel we were able to provide a value-added service that enhanced our customer relationships.

History Repeats Itself?

Business, like life and history, goes in cycles. If the current cycle is a repetition of the early '90s, as it seems to be in many respects, the industry is probably going through the bottom of the cycle right now and poised for substantial growth over the next few years.

The 2002 RER 100 was about a 6 percent drop from 2001, similar to the 7 percent drop the 100 experienced from 1990 to 1991. The following year was statistically negligible with a tiny increase, followed by increases of 12 and 26 percent respectively. Even larger increases were to follow.

Year RER 100 Total Volume % Change 1990 $1,603.0 billion -- 1991 $1,486.1 billion -7 1992 $1,487.6 billion flat 1993 $1,664.3 billion +12 1994 $2,102.0 billion +26

100 Alphabetical List With Rank

A&G Associates 95 Admar Supply Co. 60 Aggreko LLC 11 Ahern Rentals 15 AIS Rental Corp. 27 All-Star Rents 87 AMECO 13 Americon 71 Anderson Equipment Co. 36 Art's Rental Equipment 49 Atlantic Rentals 65 A Tool Shed 83 Battlefield Equipment Rentals 23 Berry Companies 81 Binder Machinery 82 Briggs Equipment 14 Cashman Equipment 43 Cate Equipment 92 Clairemont Equipment 47 CLM Equipment Co. 74 Compresores & Equipos 56 Coneco Equipment 53 Continental Equipment 69 Cowin Equipment Co. 63 Crescent Machinery 57 Diamond Rental 78 Ecco Equipment 28 EEC Rental 90 Empire Machinery 24 Equipment Depot 46 Finning 17 Furnival/FMC Rents 77 Gar Equipment Corp. 91 GE Energy Rentals 16 Gregory Poole Equipment 41 H&E Equipment Services 9 Handy Rent-All Center 73 Hawthorne Rent-It Service 29 Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. 3 Holt Caterpillar of Ohio 59 Holt Cat Rental 21 Holt of California 68 Home Depot Rentals 8 HSS RentX 18 Hugg & Hall Equipment Co. 72 Imperial Crane Services 44 Kelly Tractor 37 Knickerbocker-Russell Co. 98 L.B. Smith Co. 19 Location Simplex 42 Louisiana Rents 32 Lynn Ladder 79 Maxim Crane Works 7 Midwest Aerials & Equipment 83 Modern Group 38 Mustang Rental Services 35 National Equipment Services 5 National Lift Truck 93 NationsRent 6 NC Machinery 20 Neff Rentals 10 North Central Rental & Leasing 45 Northridge Equipment Rentals 34 Nortrax 30 Ohio Cat 50 Pape Machinery 80 Patten Industries 58 PDQ Rentals 94 Peterson Rents 60 Puckett Rents 88 Puerto Rico Wire 55 Rebel Rents 54 Red Mountain Machinery 60 RentalMax 86 Rental Service Corp. 2 Ring Rents 26 Road Machinery 74 Roland Machinery Co. 70 Safeworks 48 Scott Construction Equipment 74 SES Equipment 97 Shepherd Rentals 66 Skyreach Equipment 25 Snook Equipment Rental 100 Southeastern Equipment Co. 64 Southern California Material Handling 85 Star Rentals 31 Stephenson's Rent-All 51 Stowers Machinery 67 Sunbelt Rentals 4 Sunstate Equipment 12 Temp-Air 52 T-K-O Equipment 89 Trico Equipment 33 United Rentals 1 W.I. Clark 99 Waco Scaffolding & Equipment 39 Wagner Rents 22 Wajax Industries 40 Western Power & Equipment 96 Company Name (Last Year's Rank) Headquarters Top Officer Rental Volume in Millions Total Volume in Millions Number of Outlets Editorial Comments 1 UNITED RENTALS (1)
Greenwich, Conn.
Brad Jacobs
www.unitedrentals.com $2,154.7 $2,821.0 750 Focused on training for sales staff and added merchandise items to enhance one-stop shopping approach. Also focused on safety and product training. Brought in $420 million in national-account income and added 300,000 new customers. Expects flat 2003 and is reducing capex spending accordingly. 2 RENTAL SERVICE CORP. (2)
Scottsdale, Ariz.
Freek Nijdam
www.rentalservice.com $1,141.3 $1,542.3 506 Concentrated on rationalizing equipment fleet to bring it more in line with demand; improving shop efficiency and parts and service processes to increase availability of machines. Cutback on personnel and stores in efforts to enhance profitability. Continued to develop e-commerce solutions. 3 HERTZ EQUIPMENT RENTAL CORP. (3)
Park Ridge, N.J.
Gerry Plescia
www.hertzequip.com $785.0* $925.0* 269 Not getting the price it wanted, parent company Ford took HERC off the selling block. Now Spain's largest rental company and the third largest in France, making it a major international player. Strong in sole-source contracts with big construction firms. 4 SUNBELT RENTALS (5)
Charlotte, N.C.
Bruce Dressel
www.sunbeltrentals.com $530.0 $550.0 197 Put expansion on hold in 2002. While re-launching start-ups in the first quarter, Sunbelt might be returning to a growth mode. Pump and generator division infused new vitality in company's efforts. Electronic marketing bulletins an effective customer service offering safety and application information. 5 NATIONAL EQUIPMENT SERVICES (4)
Evanston, Ill.
Joseph Gullion
www.n-e-s.com $513.5 $621.3 180 Sold trench-shoring division, closed branches and reduced personnel to cut debt. Seeking debt restructuring as an alternative to bankruptcy because of potential default on debts. Founder Rodgers replaced by former airline executive Gullion. 6 NATIONSRENT (6)
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
D. Clark Ogle
www.nationsrent.com $420.0 $462.0 242 Scheduled to emerge from Chapter 11 in second quarter. New investment group will bring leadership with dynamic industry experience, topped by former AMECO chief Jeff Putman and former Logan owner Bryan Rich. Multiquip founder Irv Levine will be on the board of directors. 7 MAXIM CRANE WORKS (7)
Jeff Fenton
www.maximcrane.com $340.2 $357.1 46 Heavily leveraged, Maxim also seeking debt restructuring to avoid debt payment problems. Still North America's biggest crane rental company, Maxim expanded its Fontana, Calif., facility in late '02 and continues to receive prestigious safety awards. Also has aerial and forklift divisions. 8 HOME DEPOT RENTALS (11)
Joe Dixon
www.homedepot.com $240.0* n/a 615 Former HERC executive Dixon directing push into more stores and more of an equipment-for-contractor focus. Expanding aggressively, could add 200 rental departments in both '03 and '04. 9 H&E EQUIPMENT SERVICES (10)
Salt Lake City/Baton Rouge, La.
Gary Bagley/John Engquist
www.icmeq.com/www.engquist.com $169.0 $432.5 45 Integration continues for ICM Equipment and Head & Engquist, now developing into major national player. Rationalizing fleet and cutting costs to respond to continuing supply/demand imbalance. A unique combination of rental and distribution, specializing in aerial, cranes, lift trucks and earthmoving equipment. 10 NEFF RENTALS (9)
Juan Carlos Mas
www.neffcorp.com $166.0 $192.0 72 Steep revenue drop for Miami-based national company. Rental veteran Graham Hood comes on as COO. 11 AGGREKO (8)
New Iberia, La.
George Walker
www.aggreko.com $154.0 $195.0 70 The industry's pioneer in the temporary power, temperature control, cooling tower and large generator rental market, considered by some to be one of the fastest-growing rental segments. Aggreko specializes in big events such as the Olympics as well as petrochemical and manufacturing sites, construction projects, hospitals, utilities and more. 12 SUNSTATE EQUIPMENT (12)
Mike Watts
www.sunstateequip.com $118.0* n/a 45 Revenues dropped but margins remained steady as savvy executive Watts and solid management team found ways to cut costs without sacrificing service. Partially owned by Deere. 13 AMECO (13)
Greenville, S.C.
Gary Bernardez
www.ameco.com $94.0 $210.0 31 Increasingly focused on fleet management, outsourcing, and site services with most of North American locations set on construction sites. Still active in almost every continent on the planet. Recently reached 5 million man-hours without a lost-time accident. 14 BRIGGS EQUIPMENT (15)
Homer Denning
www.briggsequipment.com $88.3 $272.7 38 A huge Case and Yale fork truck dealer strong in construction and material-handling rentals, a major power in the South and Southeast. Increasingly growing in the fleet-management and consulting arena. 15 AHERN RENTALS (14)
Las Vegas
Don Ahern
www.ahernrentals.com $86.2 $96.3 25 With 30 percent of business in Las Vegas, was hit hard by post-9/11 building slump. Off to a strong start in '03, with a couple of new branches and major projects on the horizon, family-owned company expects a big jump this year. 16 GE ENERGY RENTALS (16)
Luis Ramirez
www.gepower.com $75.0* n/a 16 Hoping to grow globally with new branches in Singapore and Brazil, major projects in Ireland, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom. Also looking to alliances and opportunities in Canada. 17 FINNING (17)
Vancouver, B.C.
Doug Whitehead
www.finning.ca $70.6 $876.4 31 Acquired Caterpillar dealerships in Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia, already owned Chile and U.K. Oil sands mining, where Finning has major market share, and pipeline construction are major segments in Western Canada. Improved margins as well as revenue in 2002. 18 HSS RENTX (18)
Lister Fielding
www.rentx.com $57.5* $62.2 85 Focusing fleet mix on smaller equipment and introducing HSS systems, standards and procedures. Increasing emphasis on growing urban markets and foregoing rural locations and smaller towns. 19 L. B. SMITH CO. (19)
Camp Hill, Pa.
Rick Jordan
www.lbsmith.com $53.5* $385.0* 40 A big-time Volvo dealer in many of its markets, also represents Bomag, Grove, JCB, Kobelco, Terex and many others. Inhouse engineering staff enables company to manufacture parts and design concrete and recycling systems and other applications. 20 NC MACHINERY (21)
John Harnish
www.ncmachinery.com $52.8* n/a 10 Nice increase despite Northwest recession, Caterpillar dealer in eastern Russia, and Alaska as well as Washington. 21 HOLT CAT RENTAL (38)
San Antonio
Dave Harris
www.holtcat.com $52.0 n/a 18 Big revenue leap after acquisition of Darr Equipment. Now one of the country's biggest Cat dealerships. 22 WAGNER RENTS (22)
Bruce Wagner
www.wagnerequipment.com $47.8* n/a 14 Addition of Rust Tractor branches in New Mexico enabled Wagner to equal last year's volume, with soft Mountain Region economy and margin pressure caused by low rental rates in area. One of the pioneers of Cat's rental program, still strongly committed to rental model. 23 BATTLEFIELD EQUIPMENT RENTALS (20)
Randy Casson
Stony Creek, Ont.
www.battlefieldequipment.ca $46.8 $87.0 31 A slow start caused by a long, cold winter likely to be overcome because of strong Ontario economy and numerous projects carried over from last year. Strong in Manitoba, while Maritimes branches depend on offshore oil and gas work. Cat dealer for Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nunavit and Labrador. 24 EMPIRE MACHINERY (23)
Jim Lowry
www.empire.cat.com $40.5* n/a 9 Caterpillar dealer for Arizona, southeastern Arizona and parts of northern Mexico. Played major role last year in fighting massive forest fires. 25 SKYREACH EQUIPMENT (26)
St. Albert, Alberta
Barry Weaver
www.skyreachequipment.com $38.5* $60.0 13 Western Canada's major aerial player in its 25th year of operation. 26 RING RENTS (25)
Tampa, Fla.
Lance Ringhaver
www.ringhaver.com $37.5* n/a 10 Northern and Central Florida Cat dealer recently added Leeboy paving and grading equipment to wide inventory, which includes large generators, cranes, aerial work platforms and mobile temperature control equipment. 27 AIS RENTAL CORP. (29)
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Jim Behrenwald
www.aisequip.com/ais_rental.html $35.5 $200.0 7 Major Komatsu and JCB dealer with a strong rent-to-rent history. 28 ECCO EQUIPMENT (27)
Santa Ana, Calif.
Don Schmid
www.eccoequipment.com $34.4 $35.4 7 Heavy equipment specialist with more than 600 units. Equipment offered on a bare or operated basis. Motor graders, excavators, scrapers, water equipment, off-highway trucks, loaders, dozers and accessories included. 29 HAWTHORNE RENT-IT SERVICE (31)
San Diego
Tom Hawthorne
www.hawthorne.cc $34.0 $40.0 10 The ageless Tom Hawthorne began rentals in the 50s and is still going strong. Strong Caterpillar dealership with remanufacturing capabilities and a strong presence from the border to the Inland Empire. 30 NORTRAX (45)
Moline, Ill.
Jim Earnshaw
www.nortrax.com $33.5* $600.0* 56 Now the world's largest Deere dealership, still has yet to develop a unique rent-to-rent culture. 31 STAR RENTALS (27)
Bob Kendall
www.starrentals.com $33.1 $47.1 16 Stayed steady despite loss of 100,000 jobs in 18 months in Washington. Recently opened Olympia branch. A well-managed company with strong leadership on branch and district levels with service capability among the best. 32 LOUISIANA RENTS (29)
Reserve, La.
Jay Dinger
www.louisianamachinery.com $32.0 n/a 7 Major player in the offshore business in the Gulf as well as construction and petrochemical business. Will miss rental architect Donald Charbonnet, although rental veteran Jay Dinger can handle the reins. Program started by Cat dealer Louisiana Machinery. 33 TRICO EQUIPMENT (36)
Vineland, N.J.
Joseph Pustizzi Jr.
www.tricoequipment.net $31.0 $60.1 9 Thirteen percent increase for this East Coast aerial specialist and Case dealer. Engineering capabilities on staff enables it to tackle unusual applications. Organized to maximize uptime, top management devotes a lot of time to customer relationships. Central dispatch system has helped response to customer calls. 34 NORTHRIDGE EQUIPMENT RENTALS (42)
Northridge, Calif.
Howard Groff
www.northridgerentals.com $30.5 $33.0 5 Retooled by son Mike Groff, increased compaction and excavator inventory. Improved sales team and service capability. Largest L.A.-area independent, one of the originators in rentals to studio production. Nice increase from '01. 35 MUSTANG RENTAL SERVICES (34)
Channelview, Texas
Louis Tucker
www.mustangcat.com $30.4 n/a 8 One of the largest rental fleets in southeast Texas, this Cat dealer also has a growing inventory of temperature control equipment, generators, load banks, oil and oil-free air compressors. A major player in the Houston ship channel. 36 ANDERSON EQUIPMENT CO. (50)
Bridgeville, Pa.
Judy Anderson
www.andersonequip.com $30.0 n/a 14 Strong in construction, mining and road building, a major Komatsu, Ingersoll-Rand and Blaw-Know dealer. Now in its third generation of family ownership. 37 KELLY TRACTOR (33)
John Socol
www.kellytractor.com $29.5* n/a 10 South Florida's Caterpillar dealer involved in highway and bridge building, water and sewer, land development, housing, aggregate quarries, agriculture, warehousing, seaports, marinas, and other markets. Miami headquarters is a 240,000-square-foot complex. 70 years old in 2003. 38 MODERN GROUP (32)
Bristol, Pa.
David Griffith
www.moderngroup.com $27.3 $144.0 24 With low rental rates in region, more development in service and parts business than in rental. Well prepared for recession because company paid down debt significantly and cut costs effectively. Strong programs for training mechanics and operators. 39 WACO SCAFFOLDING & EQUIPMENT (35)
Marty Coughlin
www.wacoscaf.com $27.2* $75.0 15 Won awards for scaffolding safety training. Major manufacturer of scaffolding, shoring and forming products as well as multi-branch scaffolding rental specialist. 40 WAJAX INDUSTRIES LTD. (40)
Mississauga, Ont.
Neil Manning
www.wajax.com $26.9 $312.0 31 Sold northwest U.S. branches to concentrate on core units in Canada. Spread out across Canada, represents Hitachi, Hyster, and a variety of manufacturers. 41 GREGORY POOLE EQUIPMENT (37)
Charlotte, N.C.
Gregory Poole III
www.gregorypoole.com $26.5* $245.0* 8 Cat dealer for eastern North Carolina, eastern South Carolina and eastern Virginia, services include material handling products including guided vehicles, bar code scanners, containers and industrial doors, along with aerial equipment, inhouse financing and insurance divisions, power and construction. 42 LOCATION SIMPLEX (53)
Andre Veronneau
www.simplex.ca $26.2 $32.5 25 Named one of Canada's 50 best-managed private companies, Quebec's top rental player, specializes in aerial equipment but still offers more than 800 types of machines and tools. 4th generation family ownership, in business since 1907 and in rentals since the '30s. 43 CASHMAN EQUIPMENT (39)
Las Vegas
Mary Cashman
www.cashmanequipment.com $26.0 n/a 7 One of two female-owned Caterpillar dealerships in the world and Nevada's seventh-largest employer, has more than $25 million in parts inventory. 2003 should be upgrade, with casino additions, infrastructure and other projects breaking ground. 44 IMPERIAL CRANE SERVICES (44)
Bridgeview, Ill.
John Bohne
www.imperialcrane.com $25.5* $29.0* 4 Steady performance in Chigagoland's construction and industrial markets with cranes and aerials. Primarily involved in industrial and manufacturing markets. 45 NORTH CENTRAL RENTAL & LEASING (47)
Fargo, N.D.
Dan Butler
www.butler-machinery.com $23.6 n/a 8 The rental division of Butler Machinery, enjoyed a solid increase as Caterpillar dealer for Dakotas. World-class training facility with three full-time instructors for staff and customers. 46 EQUIPMENT DEPOT (—)
Waco, Texas
Don Moes
www.eqdepot.com $22.0* $102.0* 5 A forklift specialist in the industrial and construction markets, operating from the “Red River to the Rio Grande.” Has rough-terrain forklifts, backhoes, skid-steers, excavators, and aerials for construction and a variety of forklift and material handling items for large industrial clientele. Also handles farm equipment. 47 CLAIREMONT EQUIPMENT (58)
San Diego
Jerry Zagami
www.clairemontequipment.com $21.8 n/a 5 Nearly 20 percent increase for this veteran Komatsu dealer, long one of San Diego's leading rental players, providing parts and service to area customers and rental centers. 47 SAFEWORKS (46)
Tukwila, Wash.
Dave Voeller
www.spiderstaging.com $21.7 $56.2 26 Specializes in providing safe access to structures through standard and engineered rigging, rappelling and absailing techniques. Designs modular platforms, powered hoists, scaffolding to required specifications. Rents rolling ladders, gantry systems, sliding platforms and more. 49 ART'S RENTAL EQUIPMENT (47)
Newport, Ky.
Ken Arlinghaus
www.artsrental.com $21.1 $28.8 10 A flat year, but still the dominant rental player in northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Has an effective Internet reservation system. 50 OHIO CAT (51)
Broadview Heights, Ohio
Kenneth Taylor
www.ohiomachinery.com $20.3* $160.0* 8 Eastern Ohio's Caterpillar dealer features a unique hydraulic repair and remanufacturing facility that remanufactures hydraulic pumps, motors, valves and cylinders for mobile and earthmoving equipment to original specifications. Last month acquired Western Ohio dealer, Holt Caterpillar of Ohio. 51 STEPHENSON'S RENT-ALL (42)
Mississauga, Ontario
Willie Swisher
www.stephensons.ca $20.1 $24.2 26 One of North America's most diverse rental companies with a wide-ranging inventory. It's Web site offers full do-it-yourself instructions for a variety of home-improvement tasks. No longer involved in rental departments in big-box home-improvement centers. 52 TEMP-AIR (52)
Burnsville, Minn.
Eric Estergren
www.temp-air.com $20.0 $21.0 12 A major player in the temperature control business, specializing in temporary heating and cooling, dehumidifying, air cleaning, ventilating, ground defrosting, portable air conditioners and even pest elimination and electronic video site surveillance. 53 CONECO EQUIPMENT (55)
Edmonton, Alberta
Sam Cosgrove
www.coneco.ca $19.9* n/a 10 Western Canada's major Komatsu and Ingersoll-Rand dealer has remanufacturing facilities in Edmonton and Calgary for everything from pumps to transmissions. Strong overall product support capability. Oil-field construction, general construction, forestry and mining are major markets. 54 REBEL RENTS (49)
Temecula, Calif.
John Hoham
www.rebelrents.com $18.8* n/a 11 Tough year for this Southern California independent, forced to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Strong staff and a market with growth potential should help. 55 PUERTO RICO WIRE (57)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Jose Cestero
www.puertoricowire.com $18.7* $54.0* 5 Although technically a U.S. protectorate, an old saying might apply: When the United States sneezes, Latin America catches pneumonia. Still, a solid, well-run company in a relatively vibrant economy. 56 COMPRESORES & EQUIPOS (56)
Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
Francisco de Armas
www.compresores.com $17.9 $18.1 6 Small decrease for one of the island's two major players. A compressor specialist with a growing inventory of larger equipment. 57 CRESCENT MACHINERY (24)
Fort Worth, Texas
Eric Anderson
www.crescentmachinery.com $17.4 $42.9 8 Due to emerge from bankruptcy protection at the beginning of May, Crescent closed seven branches in Nevada, California and Hawaii to focus core business in Texas and Oklahoma. Remained steady through reorganization, expects revival of growth after reorganization. Earthmoving specialist is one of JCB's largest dealers. 58 PATTEN INDUSTRIES (41)
Elmhurst, Ill.
Crain Patten
www.pattenindustries.com $17.2 n/a 6 Chicagoland going through a slow time in the commercial and industrial construction markets that are Patten's primary revenue-generators, but its power-generation division ranks among the industry's best. Diversity, fleet, great history in region and Caterpillar product line will help this strong player through. 59 HOLT CATERPILLAR OF OHIO (61)
Columbus, Ohio
Peter Holt
www.holtag.com $17.0* n/a 5 Only in rent-to-rent five years, Western Ohio's Cat dealer has created a strong presence in region. Acquired last month by Ohio Cat. 60 ADMAR SUPPLY CO. (65)
Rochester, N.Y.
Richard DiMarco
www.admarsupply.com $16.0 $27.3 4 Upstate New York aerial specialist adding larger earthmoving items such as backhoes and excavators to provide more diversity during steep downturn. Equipment sales have been more robust than rentals as heavy snow got 2003 off to a slow start. 60 PETERSON RENTS (75)
San Leandro, Calif.
Eric Martin
www.petersonpower.com $16.0 $28.0 7 Almost 18 percent rental volume increase for Bay Area Cat dealer. Strong presence in the power-generation arena. 60 RED MOUNTAIN MACHINERY (70)
Chandler, Ariz.
Owen Cowing
www.redmountain.com $16.0 $19.0 3 Only the big stuff for Red Mountain, with branches near San Diego and Las Vegas. Highly sophisticated systems for permitting, preparing for delivery of oversized equipment and the highest standards in mechanical excellence allows it to be a dominant player in its niche. Nice increase from '01. 63 COWIN EQUIPMENT CO. (64)
Birmingham, Ala.
James Cowin
www.cowin.com $15.8 $77.7 8 Heavy equipment dealer for Case, Kobelco, Ingersoll-Rand, Grove and others with a long history of short-term rentals. Has more than 50 full-service trucks in its eight branches covering Alabama, parts of Georgia and North Florida. 64 SOUTHEASTERN EQUIPMENT CO. (62)
Cambridge, Ohio
William Baker Sr.
www.southeasternequip.com $15.6 $92.0 17 Serving Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, a dealer for Case, Kobelco, Gradall, Bomag, New Holland, Terex, Broce, Einyre, General Engine, Schwarze and others. 65 ATLANTIC RENTALS (68)
Woodstock, New Brunswick
Heath Alexander
www.atlanticrentals.com $15.4* $28.0* 28 Has a wide-ranging rental inventory, specializing in material-handling equipment, offering customers on-site analysis on how to use their inventories and handle jobs more efficiently. A tough winter in '02-'03. 66 SHEPHERD RENTALS (72)
Whittier, Calif.
Bill Shepherd III
www.shepherdrentals.com $14.2 n/a 5 Covering L.A. area from the ocean to Orange County to the high desert, Caterpillar dealer handles Multiquip, Genie and other allied lines. 67 STOWERS MACHINERY (—)
Knoxville, Tenn.
Wes Stowers
www.stowerscat.com $14.1 $100.0+ 6 Tennessee Cat dealer has mobile maintenance teams offering preventive maintenance programs. Customers can arrange for quote online. Handles Genie, Sullair and Wacker in addition to Caterpillar. Wide-ranging inventory. 68 HOLT OF CALIFORNIA (77)
Pleasant Grove, Calif.
John Johnson
www.holtca.cat.com $14.0* $15.3* 5 Strong year for inland northern California Caterpillar dealer. Has a high-performing material handling division. 69 CONTINENTAL EQUIPMENT (73)
Michael Detzler
www.thenewcontinental.com $13.5 n/a 5 Northwest Texas Komatsu dealer with strong service programs, managed to hang tough during recession. 70 ROLAND MACHINERY CO. (63)
Springfield, Ill.
Ray Roland
www.rolandmachinery.com $13.4 $92.2 9 Komatsu dealer heavily involved in paving, aggregate, cable-laying and construction. Decline in rental activity, particularly in road projects, hit hard by state budget deficits in Illinois and Missouri. Doing well in parts and aggressively seeking product support activities. 71 AMERICON (71)
Lexington, Ky.
Marvin Clark
www.whayne.cat.com $13.2* n/a 8 Kentucky's Cat Rental store network, one of the state's leading rental players. 72 HUGG & HALL EQUIPMENT CO. (78)
Little Rock, Ark.
John Hugg/Robert Hall
www.hugghall.com $13.0 $53.0 6 One of Arkansas' biggest rental companies and dealers, handling Volvo, Hitachi, Bobcat, Genie, Skytrak and more. 73 HANDY RENT-ALL CENTER (82)
Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
Gene Lois
www.handyrent-all.com $12.3 $13.6 10 Managed to post a decent increase despite slow economy in Hudson Valley region north of New York City. Strong homeowner marketer in addition to contractors and party division. 74 ROAD MACHINERY (96)
Michael Boze
www.roadmachinery.com $12.0 $90.0 12 50 percent rental volume increase thanks to development of Road Rents rental division. Acquired a Komatsu dealership in the Inland Empire from AMECO. One of the southwest's major Komatsu dealers in sales as well as rental. 74 CLM Equipment Co.
East Broussard, La.
Kurt Degueyter
www.clmequipment.com $12.0 $37.0 5 A specialist in demolition and overall earthmoving equipment, a dealer for Case, Kobelco, Kawasaki and more. Strong in South Louisiana and southeast Texas. 74 SCOTT CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT (54)
Baton Rouge, La.
Jack Fendrick
www.scottcompanies.com $12.0 $52.0 4 Rental volume dropped considerably, but overall company revenue steady. Scott offerings include farm, lawn and garden equipment, logging, material handling, power line equipment, insurance and finance companies. 77 FURNIVAL/FMC RENTS (80)
Hatfield, Pa.
Jim McKeever
www.furnival.com $11.8* $70.0* 10 McKeever, former Roland Machinery executive, recently took over the rental program. Komatsu is company's major line, both in sales and rental. 78 DIAMOND RENTAL (91)
Salt Lake City
Mark Clawson
www.diamondrental.com $11.4 $12.8 12 Company continues to expand incrementally in Utah, with hopes of expanding into other states eventually. Has party and convention division in addition to tools and equipment. 79 LYNN LADDER (83)
Lynn, Mass.
Frank Koughan
www.lynnladder.com $11.2* $49.0* 11 Full line manufacturer and distributor of scaffolding, ladders, truck equipment and specialty items. Engineering staff helps plan and design applications. 80 PAPE MACHINERY
Eugene, Ore.
Rodger Spears
www.papemachinery.com $10.7 $120.0 11 Construction and forestry equipment dealer one of the largest dealers in northwest and one of the biggest Deere dealers around. Also represents Dynapac compaction equipment, Hitachi, Morbark and others. 81 BERRY COMPANIES (86)
Wichita, Kan.
Walter Berry
www.berrycompaniesinc.com $10.6 $120.0 20 Lack of consistency in the economy held Berry to basically flat performance. Sensing more optimism among customers. Parts business is strong, although service business remains soft. Bobcat accounts for about half of business. Heavier equipment, which declined in late '90s, coming back now. 82 BINDER MACHINERY (67)
South Plainfield, N.J.
Robert Binder
www.bindermachinery.com $10.4 n/a 2 Major Komatsu dealer de-emphasized rental in response to low rates that made rental unprofitable, while having stronger sales year than expected. Had to cut down on inventory and staff. Insisting that it will only rent when profitable. 83 MIDWEST AERIALS & EQUIPMENT (—)
St. Louis
Daniel Tumminello
www.midwestaerials.com $10.0 $12.5 3 Ex-RSC employee started business with 30 units four years ago and is now major rental player in St. Louis, Kansas City, Kan., and Springfield, Mo. Getting good rates the old-fashioned way, with good service, committed people and enthusiasm for the business and relationships with the customer. A company to watch. 83 A TOOL SHED (89)
Campbell, Calif.
Larry Pedersen
www.atoolshed.com $10.0 $10.0 8 Margins challenged by severe rate pressure and rising insurance and workers' comp costs. Doing a lot of DIY business. With several Pedersen sons in the business, company has family-run feel with professional performance. 85 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Pico Rivera, Calif.
Fernando Arrellano $9.6* n/a 4 Formerly known as Powerlift, the Caterpillar lift truck dealer in L.A. and Orange County, with large parts inventory, systems consultants and designers. Also strong in sweeper, scrubber, pressure washer business. Fast grower in ‘90s, went through bankruptcy protection recently. New ownership working to save balance sheet. 86 RENTALMAX (69)
Wheaton, Ill.
Terry Hagy
www.rentalmax.com $9.5 $10.0 10 Rental numbers dropped after selling off party division outlets. Biggest chain in Chicagoland area in terms of number of outlets, and with more than 1,000 different items for rent, probably the most diverse. 87 ALL STAR RENTS (97)
Fairfield, Calif.
Ken deVries
www.allstarrents.com $9.4 $10.2 9 Death of industry pioneer Ted deVries shouldn't slow down solidly run company headed by son Ken. Strong 20 percent rental increase in '02 in region east of San Francisco Bay. 88 PUCKETT RENTS (93)
Richland, Miss.
Hastings Puckett
www.puckettrents.com $9.3 n/a 4 Mississippi Caterpillar dealer wasn't slowed by economic downturn, posting nice increase. Online product catalog one of the industry's best. 89 T-K-O EQUIPMENT (86)
Grand Prairie, Texas
Marlin Smith
www.tkoequipment.com $9.3 $15.4 3 Heavy equipment specialist, a dealer for Kolberg-Pioneer and Eagle crushing equipment and Ingram rollers. Company sells and rents primarily used Caterpillar earth-moving equipment, Hitachi and John Deere excavators. Has two branches in Texas and one in Oklahoma. 90 EEC RENTAL (—)
Aurora, Colo.
Dave Ellen
www.ellenequipment.com $8.6 $9.8 4 Dealer for Case, Link-Belt, Genie and Sullair, with three branches in New Mexico. First-time listee. 91 GAR EQUIPMENT CORP. (93)
South Plainfield, N.J.
Matt Rocca
www.garequipment.com $8.5* 10.5* 3 Aerial specialist with branches in Allentown and Wilkes-Barre, heavily involved in industrial market. 92 CATE EQUIPMENT (90)
Salt Lake City
Perry Pardoe
www.cateequipment.com $8.3 $38.5 6 Dealer for Ingersoll-Rand, Blaw-Knox, Rosco, Gomaco, Wirtgen, Gorman-Rupp, Crafo, Terramite, Leeboy and more. Revenues dropped during Rocky Mountain slump. 93 NATIONAL LIFT TRUCK (92)
Franklin Park, Ill.
Jim Dietz
www.nlt.com $8.0 $15.8 1 Dealer for UpRight, Sellick and JLG, revenue drop of about 10 percent consistent with regional pattern. Fleet of delivery trucks and ability to respond to rate requests online contributes to company extending reach beyond immediate marketing area. 94 PDQ RENTALS (98)
Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Dennis Turner
www.pdqrentals.com $7.8 $9.2 2 Steady performance amid inconsistent economy and spiraling workers comp and insurance costs. Wide variety of fleet including party division. 95 A&G ASSOCIATES (95)
Leonminster, Mass.
Roger Gamache
www.taylor-rental-ma.com $7.5 $7.5 13 Independently owned former Taylor franchise stores, specializing in homeowner and small contractor-oriented small equipment, tools and party supplies. 96 WESTERN POWER & EQUIPMENT (85)
Vancouver, Wash.
Dean McLain
www.westernpower.com $6.5 $108.0 15 Case dealership operating in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, and Alaska. Closed and sold three branches in '02, steamlining to increase efficiency and profitability. Pared product offerings to reduce inventory carrying costs. Plans to increase parts and service business. Hopes to resume Case dealership acquisitions when market conditions improve. 97 SES EQUIPMENT (84)
West Chicago, Ill.
Steve Martines $6.4 $18.5 2 Terex and Daewoo are main lines of this earthmoving, demolition and road-paving specialist. State budget troubles have contributed to slower market conditions, along with general Midwest slump. 98 KNICKBOCKER-RUSSELL CO. (100)
Howard Creese
ww.knickerbockerrussell.com $6.3 $15.2 1 Ten percent rental drop for Pittsburgh rental firm. Wide-ranging inventory, materials division help this company distinguish itself, and great online graphics of “Big Nick” don't hurt. 99 W.I. CLARK (99)
Wallingford, Conn.
Doug Hansen
www.wiclark.com $6.2 n/a 3 Although rental revenue is down, 78-year history gives reason to believe that one of Connecticut's largest dealers knows how to weather the ups and downs of a cyclical business. 100 SNOOK EQUIPMENT RENTAL (—)
Morris, Ill.
Larry Snook $6.0 $8.0 4 First time listed for this six-year-old company that has established itself quickly in Illinois market. Aerial lifts, telescoping forklifts, compaction equipment, excavating and earthmoving equipment and strong management team gives this company strong growth potential. *Denotes RER estimate based on regional economic conditions, industry sources, field observations and interviews by members of the RER staff. Revenue figures are based on actual reported revenue for North American operations as of April 25, 2003. Location data are as of April 25, 2003. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy and thoroughness, omissions sometimes occur. All figures in U.S. dollars.