Underground Rental Industry Shows Improving Conditions

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | July 2011, Vol. 66 No. 7

“As with most construction recoveries,” he continued, “demand for earthmoving equipment comes first, so that is where many rental stores are seeing increased activity, although this varies by region. In addition, lift or high-reach equipment, compressors, generators and other basic construction equipment will see an increase as non-residential construction starts to rebound.”

Momentum through the remainder of 2011 is expected to carry over into 2012.

If, in fact, demand for rental equipment continues to grow as predicted, manufacturers should enjoy healthy sales to the market as rental stores replace older models they kept in service during the worst years of the recession.

“As more contractors and construction companies are exposed to rental,” he added, “they realize the value rental provides of having no long-term maintenance costs, no storage requirements and no large capital expenditures. This is especially important as financing has been a challenge for contractors in some in the construction industries.”

With headquarters in Moline, IL, current ARA membership includes more than 7,500 rental businesses and 1,100 manufacturers and suppliers. Many stores specialize in light construction and inventory walk-along trenchers, compact excavators, skid-steer loaders and attachments and small loader backhoes. Equipment rental centers carry larger equipment, but usually not large excavators, trenchers, and dozers.

Underground construction equipment rentals are not limited to ARA member stores, and ARA rental statistics do not include rentals by equipment dealers and distributors.

Most dealers of equipment used for underground work have active rental operations that include trenchers, excavators, backhoe-loaders, and other equipment, and rentals are an important source of income, especially important during difficult economic times. Dealers often have larger size machines conventional rental sources do not carry. Used inventory also provides opportunities to make rent-to-buy deals.

Equipment dealerships also rent horizontal directional drills, vibratory and static plows, and vacuum excavation equipment which are all rarely available from conventional rental outlets.

American Rental Association, (800) 334-2177, www.ararental.org

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