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June/July 2018





DEPRESSIONS What do you get when you add a DIYer, a plate compactor and a pile of cold patch asphalt? Find out on page 20




TODAY’S TOP CHOICES Find the latest news at

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Beware the ‘YouTube Effect’ — A Cautionary Tale Driveway repair project gets more involved than expected, but friendly expert advice ensures an acceptable result.


How to Spec Pedestrian Trenchers for Successful Rentals From tracks to tires to boom size and chain configuration, here’s what you need to know when adding machines to your fleet.

44 MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE Top Products See what leading suppliers have to offer.

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 E  verybody’s Business When the student is ready, the teacher will appear...

8 Manager’s Digest 12 Market Watch How rental companies around the country are using the web and social media.

18 New Products 46 Industry Update 50 Eye on Rental Dick Detmer takes a look at the impact of rising shipping costs on rental businesses.

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Rental and Construction Market Updates Get all the latest information pertaining to the topics that matter most to your business. Look here daily for the news and information you need most. To subscribe, go to ForConstructionPros. com/subscribe/email.

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Check out our Facebook page and join our Twitter feed. Leave a comment, post some news and photos, or just catch up on the latest happenings in the world of equipment rental.


Fast, Relevant Product Information RENTAL/inventory features the

industry’s most comprehensive guide to construction-related products and equipment. Visit and click on the New Equipment Directory for the most up-todate list of what today’s leading manufacturers have to offer.

NEWS FEED Basics of Base Oil Selecting the correct base oil type is critical in developing oils that will keep metal parts lubricated and equipment performing at its best.

Don’t Look for Financing Until You Answer These Questions Answer these four questions before you start talking with lenders and looking for equipment financing.


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J e n n y L e s c o h i e r, e d i t o r

When the

Student Is Ready...

PRODUCT NEWS INSIGHT ■ Published by AC Business Media Inc. 201 N. Main Street Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 (800) 538-5544

Don’t forget to take a deep breath and listen to the experts once in a while


ou’ve probably heard the in Illinois, at a client’s open house. I old saying, “When the stuwish I could say I actually sought out dent is ready, the teacher the opinion of someone who works will appear.” Another way with asphalt repair every day, but it was of putting it might be, “You’ll hear really just happenstance that I was in it when you’re ready to listen.” I was the right place at the right time to get reminded of this as we tackled this his input on my project. year’s Renters’ Review, our annual feaIf it weren’t for McManamon, ture where we rent equipment and I’m sure I would have proceeded to report on the experience, which you employ a half-hearted approach to can read on page 20 of this issue. my repair, which I’m told would have Like all Renters’ yielded less-thanReviews, this one optimal results. started out with It wasn’t until an ambitious idea McManamon gave - I’m going to me his professionrepair the asphalt al opinion that I in my driveway! changed my mind and was followed and decided to by an odyssey of use the no-shortwrong turns and cuts method of SOMETIMES WE ALL asphalt repair, dead ends, finally culminating in even though it JUST NEED TO GET a result mixing meant significantmoderate sucly increasing the OUT OF OUR OWN cess with a large time and expense WAY AND HEED THE of my project. Did dose of humility. In this case, I was I weight his opinADVICE OF THOSE bound and deterion more heavily mined to approach WHO KNOW BETTER. than the others? I the project the believe it had more way I wanted to, to do with timing and which I had seen executed on than anything else. I was just finally some YouTube videos. I was so sure ready to hear the message. I could make it work that I was willThe take-home comes down to ing to ignore the wisdom of friends this: Take a deep breath and listen! with professional backgrounds provSometimes we all just need to get out ing they know what they’re doing. It of our own way and heed the advice of actually took the hand of fate to get me those who know better. Being open to to pay attention to potentially more it is half the battle. Stubbornness will effective methods for executing my only lead you down a very deep pothole project, which is what happened when toward a lesson learned too late. ■ I sat down by chance next to Martin McManamon, highway commissioner for the Wayne Township Road District



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Publication Staff Publisher Eric Servais Editor Jenny Lescohier Columnist

Dick Detmer

Senior Production Manager

Cindy Rusch

Art Director

Kayla Brown

Audience Development Director Wendy Chady Audience Development Mgr

Angela Franks

Advertising Sales (800) 538-5544 Kris Flitcroft, Vice Chair Sean Dunphy Nikki Lawson Erica Finger Amy Schwandt Denise Singsime Tom Lutzke Digital Operations Manager Nick Raether Digital Sales Manager Monique Terrazas Editor Larry Stewart Managing Editor Kimberly Hegeman Change of Address & Subscriptions — PO Box 3605, Northbrook, IL 60065-3605, Phone: (877) 201-3915 Fax: (847) 291-4816 • List Rental — Jeff Moriarty, SVP, Business & Media Solutions Infogroup, Phone: (518) 339-4511 Email: Reprints — Erica Finger,

AC Business Media Inc. Chairman President and CEO CFO Editorial Director

Anil Narang Carl Wistreich JoAnn Breuchel Greg Udelhofen

Published and copyrighted 2018 by AC Business Media Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION POLICY: Individual subscriptions are available without charge in the U.S. to rental centers, equipment distributors, and other businesses with rental departments. To subscribe please visit Publisher reserves the right to reject nonqualified subscribers. One year subscriptions for nonqualified individuals: U.S. $35.00; Canada and Mexico $60.00; and $85.00 all other countries (payable in U.S. funds, drawn on U.S. bank). Single issues available (prepaid only) $10.00 each. Rental (ISSN 1067-0904, USPS 686-370) is published eight times per year: January/February, March, April, May, June/July, August/September, October/ November and December by AC Business Media, 201 N. Main Street, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538. Periodicals postage paid at Fort Atkinson, WI and additional entry offices. POSTMASTER: Please send change of address to Rental, PO Box 3605, Northbrook, IL 60065-3605. Printed in the USA. Canada Post PM40612608. Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: RENTAL, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Vol. 40, Issue 5, June/July 2018

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Construction costs increased for the 19th straight month in May, according to business information provider IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) and the Procurement Executives Group (PEG). The current headline IHS Markit PEG Engineering and Construction Cost Index registered 63.8, 2.0 points higher than in April. Both materials/equipment and labor sub-indexes came in above 50, indicating rising prices. Price increases for materials and equipment were more widespread in May; the index posted a gain of 1.7 points, reaching 67.4. Prices were up in all 12 categories. The three steel categories – fabricated structural steel, carbon steel pipe, and alloy steel pipe – moved even higher in May, indicating that steel price increases are being widely felt. Along with higher steel costs, concrete prices pushed significantly higher in May with the pricing index increasing 3.6 points to 61.1. The indexes for turbines and electrical equipment fell in May, but remain above the neutral threshold of 50. “The unemployment rate for construction workers fell to 5.8% in the first quarter, a full percentage point lower than in Q1 2017,” said Emily Crowley, principal economist – pricing and purchasing, IHS Markit. “Survey data suggest that subcontractors are having



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difficulty finding workers and that tight labor supply is a challenge throughout the construction industry. We expect to see continued increase in construction labor costs over the coming years as employers compete for workers and invest in training new employees. Cost escalation will be strongest in the US West Coast and Gulf Coast regions.” The current subcontractor labor index expanded at a faster rate this month compared to last; the index increased 2.6 points to 55.5, marking the tenth straight month of increasing prices. Labor costs continued to increase in all U.S. regions. After moving into positive territory in April, the labor cost index for Western Canada returned to the neutral threshold. Similarly, the index for Eastern Canada returned to the neutral threshold in May from negative territory in April. The six-month headline expectations for construction costs increased for the 21th consecutive month: the index moved up 5.2 points to 74.9. The materials/equipment index jumped 4.9 points higher to 77.1. Expectations for future price increases were widespread, with the index figures for every component moving further into positive territory. Price expectations for sub-contractor labor came in at 69.8, a 5.9-point climb following a 4.1-point climb in the previous month. Labor costs are expected to rise in all regions of the U.S. and Canada. FOR THE FULL REPORT, PLEASE VISIT FORCONSTRUCTIONPROS.COM/NEWS/21006312

ENERGY DEPARTMENT RAISES DIESEL AND GASOLINE PRICE FORECASTS The U.S. Department of Energy’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook projects the national average retail cost of on-highway diesel, including tax, will average $3.13 for the second quarter, up 6.7% from the forecast made a month earlier. The average retail cost of on-highway diesel is expected to increase even more than the month-ago projections in the third and fourth quarters, 9.5% and 9% higher, respectively, to average prices of $3.17 per gallon in the third quarter and $3.16 in the fourth quarter. The average diesel price for all of 2018 is forecast to be $3.12 per gallon, 6.4% higher than the projection from a month earlier.

The Energy Department made similar revisions to its forecast for regular gasoline. It’s projected to average $2.79 per gallon for all of 2018, 5.4% more than the department was calling for a month earlier. Growth in the average prices of Brent and WTI crude oil are expected to average 10.5% and 11.6% higher in 2018, respectively, than expected in the forecast a month earlier.

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New Construction Starts Fell 13% in April

The value of new construction starts in April fell 13% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $674.3 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The decline follows the 11% gain reported for March, which was the highest level of construction starts over the preceding six months. The loss of momentum in April was widespread, involving each of the three main construction sectors. Nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities/gas plants) plunged 22% after its 74% hike in March that featured the start of the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline expansion in West Virginia and Virginia, as well as several large highway projects. Nonresidential building retreated 12% due to a slower pace by its institutional and manufacturing segments. Residential building dropped 9% with reduced activity for both single family and multifamily housing. During the first four months of 2018, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $223.5 billion, down 7% from the same period of 2017 (which included very strong amounts for airport terminals and natural gas pipelines). On a 12-month moving total basis, total construction starts for the twelve months ending April 2018 matched the dollar amount that was reported for the twelve months ending April 2017. April’s data lowered the Dodge Index to 143 (2000=100), down from a revised 165 for March. Taking the average for March and April produces an Index reading of 154, slightly above the 152 average for January and February, although still below the 161 average for the full year 2017. “The construction start statistics can be volatile on a monthly basis, and given the wide swings present in March and April it’s probably best to take the average of the two months in assessing the current health of the construction industry,” stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “The average for March and April shows that construction starts so far in 2018 are proceeding slightly behind last year’s average pace. Even with this modest slowdown in early 2018, there are several factors in the current environment that should help construction activity to stay close to recent levels. Job growth continues to be strong, with the unemployment rate at the lowest level since 2000, which should limit any upward movement by commercial vacancy rates this year. In its latest quarterly survey of bank lending standards, the Federal Reserve indicated that lending standards for nonresidential building projects eased slightly on net during the first quarter of 2018, following the tightening that took place from late 2015 through 2017.

ABC: Each $1 Billion in Construction Spending Adds 6,300+ Jobs Starting with the annual construction spending data for 2017 ($1.23 trillion), the estimate assumes 4% growth (to $1.28 trillion) for 2018, 4% on top of that (to $1.33 trillion) for 2019, 3% growth above the 2019 construction spending level (to $1.37 trillion) for 2020 and 3% growth above 2020 construction spending (to $1.42 trillion) for 2021. Based on a model developed by Markstein Advisors to estimate total private construction employment demanded, excluding the self-employed, derived from the amount of construction spending and to estimate total private construction employment demanded, excluding the self-employed, based on construction spending, the model says every $1 billion in extra construction spending generates an average of at least 6,300 construction jobs. The employment projections assume that the administration’s $1.5 trillion proposed infrastructure plan, if enacted, will result in $50 billion in additional construction spending in 2019 on top of the baseline construction spending forecast; $150 billion additional spending in 2020; and $200 billion more in 2021. Thus, demand for additional construction workers above the baseline estimate for each year would be 323,000 in 2019, 960,000 more workers in 2020 and 1.3 million more workers in 2021.




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MOST SMALL BUSINESSES DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE NEW TAX LAW As President Trump and congressional Republicans travel around the country touting the impact of the tax reform package enacted last year, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), a leading advocate and resource for the self-employed and microbusinesses, released a new, national member survey gauging the impact the tax reform law is having on small business owners. “It is crystal clear from our survey that an overwhelming number of small business owners and self-employed Americans still don’t understand how to make this new tax law work for them,” said Keith Hall, president and CEO of NASE. “The tax reform package signed into law last year is based on Americans reinvesting savings back into their business operations and helping to spur overall economic growth. Small business owners must first have a full understanding of how this new tax law will impact their bottom line.”

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The NASE survey was conducted online in the month leading-up to the recent April 17th tax filing deadline, with 389 respondents from across the country. An overview of the results from the survey include:

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• An overwhelming 83% did not have a complete understanding of the impact the new tax reform law would have on their business • Over 90% of respondents felt the government did not adequately prepare them for the new tax system. • Survey takers were split on if they expected to pay MORE or LESS in overall taxes in 2018. • Almost 60% of those who took the survey responded they felt their taxes would be more difficult to complete in 2018 because of the new tax law.


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• Over 90% indicated the government can still take additional measures to ease the tax burden. “The small business community is rapidly trying to educate themselves on how to make the new tax policies translate into savings and growth. However, additional IRS guidance is necessary and the government can take additional steps to effectively communicate the impact of these new laws on millions of small business owners in every city and state throughout the country,” Hall concluded.

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MARKET WATCH By Rod Dickens, contributing editor

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE WEB? Rental professionals from around the country reveal how they approach their digital presence and social media

NEW HAMPSHIRE: GENERATING SALES THE FACEBOOK WAY Bad Facebook publicity hasn’t dampened this reader’s enthusiasm for using the social media giant. “Facebook saves advertising dollars and it’s a great way to connect with customers. I’ve even helped customers get work through it, work that ultimately generated revenue for us,” said Kevin Cate, owner of Hooksett RentA-Tool in Hooksett, NH. The store, located midway between Concord and Manchester, has been in business six years, employs three people, and rents equipment to both contractors and homeowners. “We’ve had a Website for five years and have been on Facebook since we opened the store,” added Cate. “A website is a prerequisite today, but ours is used primarily to encourage

customers to call or visit our store. It was not designed to interact with customers like some that allow orders to be place right online. We feel that talking with customers, either by phone or in person, helps clarify what they truly need to get the job done.” Facebook is where his store communicates with customers, displays images of new products, and even post videos provided by equipment suppliers. “All our customers are on Facebook, and we’ve connected with several landscaping groups and nearby cities. In one instance, a customer saw a city inquiry for some landscaping that was posted on Facebook. The customer won the bid and eventually rented some equipment from us to help get the job done,” said Cate.


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As he pointed out, the rental business is very fluid. Facebook provides an opportunity to communicate with customers quickly and easily. “We try to post something new at least twice a week,” he added. “It doesn’t cost us anything, either. I don’t have the time or the advertising budget to keep updating a website.” Cate mentioned the state’s economy is doing well. Unemployment is extremely low and single and multiple family housing construction starts are up. In other words, there’s enough work to keep customers busy and more than incentive enough to keep communicating with them via Facebook.

PENNSYLVANIA: THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM A R Rental Center has had a website for several years, now. In fact, the general rental

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“I BELIEVE HAVING A WEB PRESENCE WITH EXCELLENT GRAPHICS AND IMAGES OFFERS MORE VALUE TO OUR PARTY CUSTOMERS THAN OUR EQUIPMENT CUSTOMERS.” store, located in York, PA, has gone through three generations of websites, according to company Operations Manager John Makrias. “We developed the first one ourselves. It was adequate at the time, but we wanted something better, so we outsourced the design for our second one to an advertising agency. Their version looked slightly better on layout, but it was worse on functionality and imagery because they did not understand our industry. “Then we brought in my sister Kayla Dizio to develop a new site. She’s not only very knowledgeable about websites and social media, but she also understands the industry and is a professional photographer.” Kayla and John were both raised in the business. Their grandfather started the company 50 years ago, and their father currently owns it. “Being a general rental store, we provide both party and equipment rentals,” John explained. “During the recession, we started to focus more on the party side. Customers weren’t renting tools and equipment, but they were getting married. Since then, we’ve gradually been building our equipment side. Still, party represents nearly 80 percent of our rental sales. “I believe having a web presence with excellent graphics and images offers more value to our party customers than our equipment customers. Images are very important for people staging events whereas contractors and DIY’ers looking for a specific piece of equipment are more interested in a general description of what’s in your inventory.” Kayla agrees. “Currently the special events and party side of our



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website has more images than the equipment side, but we’re working on the latter, as well,” she said. “We completely redid the website two years ago, adding more images, more products, and making sure there’s a call to action and contact information throughout.” She continued, “We’re also on Facebook and Google Plus and try to post something at least once a week. Currently, we’re gearing up for the busy season and doing some hiring, so it’s difficult to devote as much time as we would like to social media.” Both sides of A R Rental’s business, equipment and party, look to benefit from a revitalization going on in York. “Older neighborhoods are being renovated and there’s just a lot of energy in town created by a younger generation,” John noted. “Construction is up and so are new venues and events that help the party side, enough work to be sure to keep our 11 employees busy.”

ILLINOIS: WEBSITE, YES; FACEBOOK, NO Reed’s Rent All & Sales in Kankakee, IL, has been a family-owned business since 1947. Located 60 miles south of Chicago, the equipment and party general rental store (85 percent equipment; 15 percent party) employs upward of 10 people during the busy season, serving both the homeowner and contractor markets. “Our store had some Facebook presence a few years ago when an employee took an interest in it,” explained company co-owner Jim

Reed. “We haven’t picked it up since that employee left. I have some buddies who are on Facebook, but I just don’t seem to have the time or interest to start it up again. “However, we’ve had a website almost since we’ve had a computer. The site works well for us and we get compliments from customers about its ease of use. What we don’t do on the site is take reservations. Instead, we prefer to be hands on and communicate directly with customers about their equipment or party needs.”

“…WE’VE HAD A WEBSITE ALMOST SINCE WE’VE HAD A COMPUTER. THE SITE WORKS WELL FOR US AND WE GET COMPLIMENTS FROM CUSTOMERS ABOUT IT EASE OF USE. WHAT WE DON’T DO ON THE SITE IS TAKE RESERVATIONS.” His website does have one unusual feature. It directs customers to the company’s second business, Reed’s Canoe Trips down the nearby Kankakee River. “We’ve been offering canoe trips since the late 80s,” Reed noted. “It started when we just rented a few canoes and it grew, to the point we separated the trips from our rental business more than 10 years ago.” Today, the canoe trip business employees 10 to 12 people and even keeps some of the rental employees busy during July and August, ferrying customers to the river and back. “On some Saturdays, we may have 100 canoes and 40 kayaks in the water,” said Reed.

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Whereas the canoe business has blossomed, the rental business has yet to get back to where it was prior to the recession. As he pointed out, some areas of the Midwest are not recovering as quickly as the East Coast and other parts of the country.

IDAHO: SHIFTING AWAY FROM PRINT When Tates Rents in Boise, ID first hung its shingle as Safway Scaffolding Company in 1946, the internet and social media were about as imaginable as landing on the moon. Seven decades and three family generations later, the rental company has nine rental tool locations throughout the state, employs close to 100 people, and relies on its website and other digital resources to help get its message to current and potential customers. “We recently retained an advertising agency to develop a new website for us,” said company Operations Manager Haley Hennessey. “Customers primarily use it to get directions to our locations and view our rental selections. The site is integrated with Point of Rental, so it’s updated automatically when we add new inventory. At this point, customers call to reserve items, but we are working on plans to allow them to reserve online and track their equipment.” Hennessey noted the website is especially valuable to homeowner customers who are less familiar with

their store than contractors who likely already have a relationship with stores and salespeople. She also uses the site to post monthly instructional videos such as a recent one on “how to operate a boom lift.” In addition to having a website, Tates Rents is active on both Facebook and Instagram. “We try to post something new at least every other day to keep people interested. That could be anything from company news, including images of events, new equipment, and new hires or promotions, to position openings. Instagram is more image oriented, but we generally post the same news on both platforms,” added Hennessey. The company has also shifted it phonebook advertising to Yelp. “We want to be where people are,” Hennessey emphasized. “Potential customers like to read reviews before deciding where to rent and Yelp provides that opportunity.”

WASHINGTON: WEBSITE COULD ALWAYS BE BETTER When asked about his company’s Website, Pacific Rim Equipment Rental owner Lee Forte said it could be better. What he would like is more information about the tools and equipment the Seattle, WA, store rents. “Specs, access to operator’s manuals, more information about generators, including application and wattages, would all be helpful to customers,” he emphasized.




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“OUR WEBSITE LISTS OUR INVENTORY AND RENTAL RATES AND INCLUDES OUR NEWSLETTER, IN WHICH WE HIGHLIGHT NEW EQUIPMENT, SPECIALS, AND OTHER COMPANY NEWS. WE POST INFORMATIONAL VIDEOS, BUT THAT TOO IS LIMITED BY HOW MUCH TIME AND ENERGY WE HAVE.” Forte, who also owns AA Tool & Equipment Rental in Auburn, WA, mentioned Pacific Rim isn’t involved in social media tools such as Facebook and he rarely has time to even answer all the emails the store receives. “Our Website lists our inventory and rental rates and includes our newsletter, in which we highlight new equipment, specials, and other company news,” said Forte. “We post informational videos, but that too is limited by how much time and energy we have.” Pacific Rim Equipment Rental has been in business 10 years and the owner has been in the industry for more than 40 years. The store does approximately 80 percent of its business with contractors and the remainder with homeowners. It employs eight full-time employees who are kept busy by a market that Forte indicated “is doing very well.” ■

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UPWARDLY MOBILE The global powered access rental market is booming, with the sector once again outstripping wider construction and sustained recovery in places such Brazil that suffered during economic downturns, according to the latest market analysis from the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF). At the end of 2017, the worldwide rental MEWP fleet size reached an estimated 1.35 million units, compared to 1.25m estimated at end 2016 – a year-on-year increase of around 8%, according to IPAF’s Powered Access Rental Market Report, exclusively compiled by leading global research intelligence company Ducker Worldwide. The US rental market continued to power ahead, growing by around 4% in terms of fleet size with the total number of units surpassing 580,000. Rental rates continued to increase slightly and in terms of outlook similar growth is expected for 2018. Meanwhile, the Latin American MEWP rental fleet grew as a whole but more slowly than in most other markets. Positivity was underpinned in particular by the sustained recovery in Brazil, which prior to 2016 experienced several difficult years during which the market declined through a period of economic and political turbulence. IPAF’s Powered Access Global Rental Market Report is compiled each year by Ducker Worldwide exclusively for. The report is available to order now, last year’s version can be purchased at a 50% discount and older editions can be downloaded free from

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B y J e n ny L e s c o h i e r, e d i t o r

Driveway repair project gets more involved than expected, but friendly expert advice ensures an acceptable end result

u “Assisting” with this project was family friend Josh Rutherford, 20. By assist, I mean he basically did everything. Many of the tasks involved were simply outside my physical capabilities.



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Renters’ Review 2018:

BEWARE THE ‘YOUTUBE EFFECT’ — A Cautionary Tale Editor’s Note: Following is the latest installment in our annual series Renters’ Review, where members of the staff at Rental magazine rent equipment and report on the experience.


or this year’s Renters’ Review, I decided to investigate repairing my old and very uneven asphalt driveway. It has numerous depressions and “birdbaths,” as they say in the business, with the worst concentration located close to the entrance to my garage, where an accumulation of snow and rain in the winter months contributes to a good size ice skating rink, making a trip to take out the garbage risky business.

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I imagined the depressions in this spot, contained within a roughly 8by 4-foot area, would be easy enough to fill with cold patch asphalt, and in researching how to tackle the project, I stumbled upon some YouTube videos of people doing just that. And it looked easy! The next step was finding a new rental source that had a plate compactor available.

point of reference. As expected, I was told they aren’t open on weekends and when I explained the project I was doing and asked if renting a plate compactor made sense, I was given a noncommittal answer and the statement, “I’ve personally never worked with asphalt, so I don’t really know.” Next, I called a company I’d never heard of. Its website was somewhat uninspiring, but informative enough, and I could see they had a plate comReassuring rental pro pactor in their inventory. So I called I Googled “equipment rental” in and spoke to a fast-talking gentlemy area and came up with a good list man who listened as I told him about to work from. As is usual and cusmy project and then gave me his two tomary for Renters’ Review projects, cents. He said doing an overlay might I contacted a national chain first, as a work okay, but that I should be sure to clean the area thoroughly before patching and that x To begin the driveway repair project, the outcome might benewe rented a plate compactor and cut fit from adding sub base off saw, and purchased four buckets of in the deepest spots to premium cold patch asphalt. Despite our make the asphalt adhere calculations and what the package said about coverage, we had to go back for a better. Overall, I was LOT more asphalt to finish the job. encouraged by his perspective, so I reserved the machine for the following weekend. One aspect of this company that gave me pause was that I couldn’t find an address on the website. The city was noted, but that was all. When I asked the gentleman I spoke to where



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he was located, he explained he operates out of a self-storage facility and he would meet me there at 8 a.m. on Friday. Storage unit? I thought. Hmmmm….



depression was flawed. “You can’t do that,” he said frankly. “You really should cut out the old asphalt first. The patch needs welldefined sides to adhere to.” “But, but, but…,” I said. “I saw a Helpful hardware man YouTube video where they did it and Next I needed to obtain my mateit looked really easy and turned out rials, i.e., cold patch great.” asphalt, and I went Jim shook his head where I always go, and asked me if I had a which is Ace Hardware, minute and led me to his located two blocks office, where he told me from my house and about a growing frusowned and operated by tration facing hardware my friend Jim Goyer, stores, and likely rental second-generation centers as well. hardware professional. “You can call it the I told Jim what I ‘YouTube effect,’ or even was up to, and he told the ‘Pinterest effect’,” he me he could get me all p The spot we resurfaced explained. “People see was a depresssion, or the cold patch I wantthings on video or online “birdbath,” about 3 inches ed, but that my plan and they think it looks below grade. The asphalt of doing an asphalt easy, and they get a false itself was also eroding and overlay on a driveway breaking off on the side. sense of their abilities.

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER After reserving a plate compactor and cut off saw from my rental source, whose only address was a self-storage unit, I went to pick the equipment up at the appointed time I set with the owner. While the storage unit aspect gave me doubts at first, once I arrived on the property I could see this was a more than legit rental outfit. The owner met me at the gate in his shiny, new truck with colorful logo. He led me back to his unit, wherein was stored a very wide range of inventory, including a Bobcat skid steer and mini excavator, Toro Dingo mini skid, Wacker Neuson light equipment, an assortment of lawn and grounds equipment and more… basically everything the DIYer or smallto mid-size contractor might need. For my project, this owner wheeled out a Wacker Neuson WP 1550 plate compactor as well as a Wacker Neuson BTS cut off saw. Both looked to be like new. The owner walked me through the rental contract and equipment operation, and then it came time to get the machines into my little Subaru Crosstrek. He assured me before I left home that they would fit in my car, and they did. The following day, I met the owner to return the equipment, again at an appointed time, received a friendly greeting and questions about the outcome of my project. Since I had no complaints about the equipment, or any aspect of the rental, I was on my way back home quickly. We don’t name the companies we review in this feature, but I’ll be sure to recommend this company to friends who live in the area.



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What’s worse is they don’t want to hear it when you tell them it won’t work. “The thing is, YouTube videos are often produced under ideal working conditions, which is rarely the case in most DIY projects. It’s misleading.” He continued, “To make matters worse, DIYers will often watch a video, get an idea for how to do something, and then order all their equipment and supplies from Amazon. But guess who they call when things go wrong? They want our advice for free.” Only a generation or two ago, the hardware store was the first and often the only stop for people tackling household projects. All the supplies were available in one place and the staff always knew how to advise customers on the right way to do something. The same is true in rental, of course, an industry built on the idea of providing customers with solutions. The advent of big box retailers and Amazon have affected consumer behavior, and while hardware store and rental center personnel are still there to help, businesses are feeling the pinch of these alternative channels for getting things done. And Jim was right, I had been inspired by a video and I did push back when he told me my plan might be flawed. Still, I wasn’t interested in cutting into my asphalt driveway. It seemed dangerous, complicated and fraught with potential damage, threatening to create more expense than I’m willing to put into my driveway right now. But later that day, I spoke to a friend who works in construction and he said the same thing Jim did. “You can’t do that…” You can imagine how the rest of the conversation went.

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SPECIAL REPORT To assuage my doubts, I called the manufacturer of Aquaphalt, the premium cold patch I planned to use on the project, and was told “Yes, you can apply an overlay to a driveway depression. Just use a coarser grade (Aquaphalt 6.0) first, and top off with a layer of finer grade (Aquaphalt 4.0).” The trick, they said, was in “feathering” the top layer into the old, existing asphalt. That’s all I needed to hear. I was going ahead with my original plan.

There are no coincidences The very next day, I was at a client’s open house luncheon when I randomly sat down at a table with a group of guys. I said hello, and we made small talk while we ate. As we got deeper into our chat, I found out

these guys were from none other than the Wayne County (IL) Township Road District. I even happened to be sitting next to Highway Commissioner Martin McManamon. What luck! I told them all about my plan for my driveway repair and their reaction was unanimous. They essentially all exclaimed, “You can’t do that!” when I explained my idea of overlaying my driveway depressions with cold patch. “You need to cut the old stuff out first,” McManamon said with conviction. I told him how I was afraid of going past a point of no return with this project, doing real harm to my property and having no recourse for repairing it. I also mentioned it would only be myself and a family friend doing the project and neither of us

had any experience with cutting into asphalt. “It’s easy,” McManamon said. “A cut off saw will go right through it and then you can just pick the asphalt out piece by piece. It’ll come right up with a shovel or pick.” Not knowing very much about the structure of asphalt driveways, I had imagined the old asphalt would be several inches thick and melded into whatever sub base was under it. “No, it’s only a couple inches thick and it lays right on top of the gravel or whatever sub base,” McManamon said. “Trust me, it’s easy. If you want the repair to last, you’ll cut out the old stuff first.” I left the event feeling very anxious about how the project would go. Either I do it the way the video said,

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and risk it being completely ineffectual, or I do what the professionals say, and significantly complicate the scope and expense of the project, risking (I thought) serious property damage. There was something reassuring about McManamon’s confidence, however, so it was then I decided to go the full distance on my driveway repair, come what may.

I’m not cut out for this As mentioned previously, my partner in this project was family friend Josh Rutherford, 20. A big strapping lad tipping the scales at about 200 lbs., I figured he would handle the “heavy lifting,” so to speak, but that I would do the majority of the work on the project. From the minute we got the equipment home, I knew I needed to

u Just like the experts said, cutting the old asphalt was like running a hot knife through butter. Editor’s note: Josh should have had his dust mask on, as well as gloves.

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SPECIAL REPORT u Digging up the old asphalt after it had been scored with the saw was quick and easy for Josh, but not so simple for me.


p The plate compactor made fast work of tamping the sub base and cold patch. Great tool!

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knew I couldn’t be much help with that. In the end, Josh just lifted the thing out of my car and that was that. (Enjoy your youth and strength while you can, kids!) Next was cutting into the old asphalt. I should add that when we went to the hardware store to get our asphalt, Jim warned us about starting the saw. The rental company supplied us with a Wacker Neuson BTS cut off saw, which he explained has a compression release button and if you forget to press it before starting, the machine just won’t go. Despite this warning, we were completely mystified when we could not start the saw just a little while later back at my house. So mystified, in fact, that we called the rental company I rented it from. The owner took my call right away and walked us through the procedure (again), gently pointing out the compression release button. Suddenly, it all clicked with what Jim had said and we were good to go. The saw started right up and Josh began cutting. Just like McManamon said, cutting the old asphalt was like running a hot knife through butter. And Josh took to the saw like a duck to water. When I tried, however, not only could I not start the saw (it felt like my arm wasn’t

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p The premium brand of cold patch asphalt didn’t come close to covering the area the package said it would, so we wound up buying much more to fully fill the hole we had made.

quite long enough to pull the cord effectively), I couldn’t easily maneuver the 25-lb. machine once it was running. Humbled by my lack of upper body strength, I let Josh do his thing. He had all the cuts made in no time and proceeded to shovel the old asphalt out with similar ease. Again, I was of little use there, so I stuck to

operating the video camera (watch the video at www.forconstructionpros. com/video/21008065). Once the hole was cleared of the old asphalt, we could see sand and gravel beneath. As Jim instructed us, we compacted it with the plate, leaving us with a roughly 3-inch depth to fill. The plate compactor worked like a dream. It started with ease, and was much quieter than I expected. While handling the saw was tough, I had no trouble using the plate compactor. It made easy work of tamping the surface to an even level.


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u Several buckets of Aquaphalt were far from enough to fill our 8- by 4-ft. area, so we bought 12 bags of the cheap stuff to finish the project. Not an ideal method, but we got it done.

It’s not my fault, it’s asphalt Before we knew it, it was time to dump the patch material in. We had purchased four buckets of Aquaphalt, each claiming to cover a 5- by 5-ft. area at a 1-in. depth. Upon pouring it into our hole, however, it was immediately obvious this was not the case. We knew Jim had two more buckets back at the store, so we ran to buy those, added them to the hole and were still ridiculously off the mark in terms of coverage. At this point, it seemed as though my worst fears were coming true. I now had a large, deep hole in my driveway and had already spent a small fortune on the premium asphalt to try to fill it. My blood ran cold as I had visions of a hot mix crew redoing my driveway to the tune of $5,000. Josh and I considered the options and decided the best course of action was to buy a bunch of the cheapest asphalt we could find and fill the rest of the hole with that. We found an online calculator for figuring asphalt coverage and it looked like we needed 12 50-lb. bags (at $8 each) to fill the rest of the hole. At that point, I just wanted it done. The calculator was right, 12 bags filled the hole perfectly, but we just made it, with not a piece of aggregate to spare.


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What’s the take-home?


For starters, cold patch asphalt doesn’t behave as you might expect, but is probably not really intended for large patching projects like this anyway. Live and learn. Second, despite the unusual showroom, the rental business we used was top notch. High-quality, new equipment, plus efficient and responsive service. Who could ask for more? The answer to that last question is… as efficient and responsive as this rental professional was, he still didn’t display the level of know-how and insight provided by my friendly hardware store. If you’re serving the DIY

market, there’s really no substitute that kind of service. Many rental companies offer it, many don’t, but it should always be the ultimate goal. Thirdly, at nearly 50 years old and not much bigger than the average 12 year old, it’s finally sinking in that I really am physically incapable of certain things. Aside from research and discussion with experts, there wasn’t one step of this project I could have completed on my own. This is no surprise, of course, since it’s been a perennial message from our Renters’ Review features all along: Rental companies need to help customers realize their capabilities but understand their

HIGH RATING FROM CONSUMER REPORTS DOESN’T EXCUSE LACK OF COVERAGE I needed some cold patch asphalt to repair my driveway depressions... where to begin? What are the choices? How do the different brands perform and what do they cost? According to my online research, Consumer Reports rated a new product, Aquaphalt, the best in terms of performance (which it should be, considering it costs several times as much as the typical bag of cold patch). Mysteriously, a 3.5-gal. bucket of Aquaphalt retails for $49.99 at Ace Hardware, but sells for $99.99 at Home Depot. Amazon sells it for $74.70. I bought mine from Ace. “It’s easy to use and the top choice of all the materials if your repair involves an edge or having the material built up into a curb. The choice of four different aggregate sizes also lets you choose the best size for your particular driveway repair. Aquaphalt was the most resistant to shear, with just surface discoloration as its coating was removed beneath the car’s turning tire, and it best resisted penetration from a probe,” said Consumer Reports. Encouraged by this report, I decided to test this new product as part of this project. I believed that since it was going to cover such a large spot in a high-traffic area, the superior performance would be worth the investment. As its name suggests, and unlike others on the market, Aquaphalt requires water to activate cohesion. Having now used both the premium Aquaphalt as well as the cheapest cold patch I could find on the market, I can honestly say that Aquaphalt clearly creates a smoother, harder surface within minutes of compaction. It does not, however, cover nearly the area the packaging says it will. A 3.5-gal. bucket claims to cover a 5-sq.-ft. area to a 1-in. depth, and I would venture it might cover half of that. The cheaper, traditional product does a better job of covering the space it says it will, however, the finished result is not as hard or as smooth. My new friend from the Wayne Township Road District, Highway Comissioner Martin McManamon, did warn me: “Don’t spend your money on that expensive stuff, just get the regular cold patch. It’ll work fine.” For projects like mine, where we needed quite a bit of asphalt, I now tend to agree with him. For small potholes, though, I would not hesitate to invest in Aquaphalt.



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SPECIAL REPORT THE RENTAL INDUSTRY IS BOTH BOLSTERED AND HINDERED BY THE ADVENT OF THE “YOUTUBE EFFECT.” AMATEUR VIDEOS ARE INSPIRATIONAL AND CAN ENCOURAGE DIYERS TO VISIT YOUR RENTAL STORE TO TRY THEIR HAND AT PROJECTS PREVIOUSLY RESERVED ONLY FOR PROFESSIONALS. limitations. Lastly, like Jim said, the rental industry is both bolstered and hindered by the advent of the “YouTube Effect.” Amateur videos are inspirational and can encourage DIYers to visit your rental store to try their hand at projects previously reserved only for professionals. The challenge is in finding a way to gently steer customers

away from tasks they clearly are not qualified for without alienating them or driving them elsewhere. As Jim noted, the “YouTube Effect” is closely related to another modern phenomenon – the “Amazon Effect.” You can easily see how DIYers might watch something done on YouTube, HGTV or Pinterest, and then go straight to their phone to order the supplies off Amazon, at the expense of the rental centers and hardware stores they’d normally visit. The silver lining is when customers come back, knocking on your door when things go wrong, you get to be the hero. It’s one thing to promote the concept of renting, as well all try to do, but we should never forget to also let DIYers know you have expertise in addition to equipment. As I found out,

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Spec Pedestrian Trenchers for Successful Rentals From tracks to tires to boom size and chain configuration, here’s what you need to know when adding machines to your fleet


edestrian trenchers are a staple in almost every rental fleet. Because they are a musthave, many rental operations do not put a lot of thought into how these machines can help them expand their customer base and edge out the competition. To help achieve optimal efficiency with your pedestrian trencher, you should consider machine options that will assist in making your customers even more productive.

Think like your customer With all of the different pedestrian (also known as walk-behind) trenchers on the market, it’s easy to think of these machines as a commodity and shop based on price alone when it’s time to add a new unit to your fleet. However, even though these trenchers might look similar, there can be significant differences in quality, ease of operation and optional features that will help enhance your customer’s rental experience. As contractors are looking to rent a pedestrian trencher, providing a reliable machine with straightforward functionality will satisfy the contractor’s needs. The controls need to be intuitive and operators need to be able to set and maintain a specific trenching depth.



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Selecting trencher sizes One of the first considerations with pedestrian trenchers is what model of trencher will help deliver the results you need. Pedestrian trenchers are typically evaluated by engine size. Units with 13-hp, 20-hp and 25-hp engines are popular sizes for rental operations. Overall, the rental market is trending toward larger, higher-horsepower machines. These units can be more productive in a broader range of soil conditions and can be outfitted with additional boom sizes and chain types. Trenchers with a smaller horsepower are an excellent option if your rental company does not have a large enough customer base to justify the higher price of larger pedestrian trenchers. These models are also ideal for use in locations where the ground conditions are soft and your customers are performing shallow installation work.

Tracks or rubber tires Many of the pedestrian trenchers sold into the rental market today are equipped with tracks. This type provides flotation in soft or sensitive ground conditions. Tracks can allow for maneuverability and depth control in uneven ground conditions.

Boom sizes The adage “one size fits all” does not apply to pedestrian trenchers because no two customer’s needs are the same. Soil condition and trench depth are factors that every customer will need to consider before renting and your rental store needs to make sure you can accommodate. Sending out a trencher that has too long of a boom for a job can compromise the customer’s experience and could affect repeat business. You should stock several trenchers with different chain sizes and chain widths, so customers can get the right configuration for their job. Pedestrian booms typically range from 24 to 48 inches in length, with the 24-inch, 30-inch and 36-inch boom sizes being the most commonly used. The boom size must align with the horsepower of a trencher and the intended application. If your customer is installing an irrigation system, downspouts, cable conduit or even electrical lines, they may not have to trench very deep. However, if they are trenching a waterline in a colder climate or digging footings for a building, they might need a unit with a longer boom. It’s important to keep in mind: It’s better for your rental team to recommend a more powerful ride-on trencher than let your customer rent a pedestrian trencher with a boom configuration that will not perform well for the application.

Chain configurations How wide a trencher will cut is driven by the chain configuration. The type of teeth and teeth spacing can have a significant impact on the efficiency of a trencher.

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The type and size of trencher teeth used on a chain determines how wide a trencher will dig. Most pedestrian trencher chains can be configured to dig between four and eight inches wide. Trencher teeth generally fall into two categories — cupping and cutting. Cupping teeth are designed to efficiently excavate material from the trench while cutting teeth break up or dislodge solid material like rocks. Chain configurations that use cupping teeth, commonly called soil chains, are more efficient in loose dirt and sandy soils. However, when working in conditions such as rock, trencher operators will need a rock chain with carbide-tipped teeth to dig into these challenging ground conditions. You may opt for a combination configuration chain with both cups and cutters as well.

Tooth spacing, or pitch, can also impact the performance of a trencher. Closer tooth spacing is ideal for working in harder ground conditions, while wider tooth spacing is more efficient when working in soft or muddy ground conditions.

Attachment options Your rental company can also help optimize the customer’s experience by offering additional attachments with your pedestrian trenchers. Angling backfill blades that help push spoils back into the trench are a popular option for contractors that can help reduce labor costs. Also, if your rental store serves utility contractors, you might want to consider adding a boring attachment to your fleet. Stocking this niche

product can help increase business from professional contractors by providing an option that other rental companies might not.

Putting it all together When it comes to pedestrian trenchers, your rental company needs to think about their customers to help ensure they have the right options, features and configurations on hand to meet their needs. As with any equipment category in a rental fleet, your customers do not want a pedestrian trencher that might not be able to do what they need it to. They want a unit that will fit their job requirements exactly. Being able to meet those needs will help drive repeat business for years to come. ■

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Sycor.Rental Skyjack ELEVATE Skyjack identified the most important data from its machines, and custom tailored the telematics solution ELEVATE, which provides just that. • Through Skyjack’s strategic partnership with Trackunit, they’ve built a solution that enables customers to increase utilization, better plan service, monitor usage, and bill with optimal precision • ELEVATE follows a mobile-first philosophy and can be applied to your entire fleet • ELEVATE mirrors Skyjack’s philosophy of being simply reliable

Sycor.Rental adds rental and fixed asset management functionality to Microsoft’s leading ERP solution, giving your rental company full control of its entire operation from one platform. • Billing and accounting can be done at the equipment level for individual pieces of equipment, model series, or groups of items at all times • Streamlined, yet flexible processes allow for fast processing times and reduced costs while improving the reliability of your financial forecast

Rental360 Whether rentals are your main focus or a secondary service, Rental360 provides a single “all-in-one” platform to cover and connect all of your business needs. • Advanced billing, credit card processing, equipment management, dispatch, service management, back office accounting, customer management, mobile tracking, and more

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DEUTZ POWER CENTERS BECOME AUTHORIZED GENIE SERVICE CENTERS DEUTZ Corporation and Terex AWP, a business unit of Terex Corporation that includes the Genie brand, have aligned forces to establish DEUTZ Power Centers as authorized service and parts centers for Genie-branded mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs). Staff at DEUTZ Power Center locations in Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, MO and Rock Hills, SC, are trained and equipped to perform service, warranty, unplanned repairs and supply service parts for Genie Z and S booms, GS scissors lifts and GTH telehandlers. “DEUTZ coming on board to support our mutual customers is an extension of the long-standing business relationship between Terex AWP and DEUTZ,” said Bob Bartley, Genie senior director of product support, Terex AWP. “Maintaining equipment to maximize uptime is critical for our rental customers. Adding the highly professional operations of DEUTZ Power Centers to our network will help keep Genie MEWPs out in the field and improve rental dealers’ rental return on invested capital (rROIC).” Terex AWP has fully trained the field and inside technicians at each DEUTZ Power Center, qualifying them to service Genie MEWPs. Each Power Center location has service trucks that can travel to perform on-site repairs, with 24-hour call-out service available. The Power Centers are stocked with Genie parts and can drop ship emergency-repair parts orders. “The natural synergies of having our factory DEUTZ engine service centers perform Genie machine repairs were obvious right away,” said Bob Mann, DEUTZ Corporation president and CEO. “We knew Terex AWP and DEUTZ customers would benefit from a one-stop point of service for their machines, and that’s why we approached themabout meeting their For more information, visit requirements to make our Power Centers into authorized Genie service centers.”

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U.S. Equipment and Event Rental Industry Revenue to Exceed $64 Billion in 2022

In its latest five-year forecast, the American Rental Association (ARA) projects U.S. equipment and event rental industry revenue to grow consistently on an annual basis, resulting in total revenue of $64.1 billion in 2022. While the quarterly updates for ARA Rentalytics have shown minor up and down fluctuations over the past few years, the May 2018 update is the first to project larger increases in revenue almost across the board when compared to the previous forecast. For example, the latest update expects revenue to total $52.3 billion in 2018 instead of the $51.5 billion forecast in February. Overall, the forecast calls for a continuation of rental industry growth that started soon after the recession that has been stronger than the growth of the economy in the United States over that time. “This has been a slow, but durable expansion and rental has held its own in penetration within construction markets and there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that it has gained penetration outside rental markets. The rental industry has been able to not only maintain pace with For more information, visit economic growth, but exceed it,� Hazelton says.

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SoldierStrong, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing advanced medical technologies to veterans, announced that United Rentals, the world’s largest equipment rental provider, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing have renewed their partnership with the charitable organization for a third year. In 2016, United Rentals and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing first partnered on the Turns for Troops program. Since then, United Rentals has donated more than $274,000 to SoldierStrong, which has gone toward purchasing cutting-edge medical devices. This year’s donations will help provide exoskeleton devices to VA Medical Centers in Des Moines, Iowa, and Tampa, Florida.


DISTRIBUTION NETWORK FOR KDI DIESEL ENGINES KOHLER continues to strengthen its distribution network for the company’s KDI diesel engines with the addition of Diesel-Bec, based in Boisbriand, Quebec. Diesel-Bec is a longtime distributor of diesel engines, which will help to bring highly-customized KOHLER diesel solutions to equipment manufacturers in Canada while also enhancing service and parts availability for end users. The new distributor will cover Eastern Canada, including Ontario and Quebec, as well as Atlantic Canada and will work closely with both new and existing KOHLER engine dealers throughout these regions. In the North American market, the award-winning KOHLER Direct Injection (KDI) diesel engines are designed to deliver optimal power and torque while maximizing fuel consumption and limiting emissions.

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ADVERTISER’S INDEX ADVERTISER......................................................................................PAGE Abbott Rubber Company....................................................49 ADI, Inc./Ameriquip.............................................................31 Allen Engineering...............................................................30 Barreto Manufacturing Inc...................................................7 Baseplan...............................................................................25 CK Power.............................................................................37 Dieci United States..............................................................32 Ditch Witch..........................................................................13 EDCO Equipment Development Co....................................43 EZ Oil Drain..........................................................................48 E-Z Trench............................................................................41 General Pipe Cleaners...........................................................9 Ground Hog.........................................................................29 InTempo Software...............................................................45 IPAF......................................................................................17 JLG Industries Inc...................................................................5 Karcher North America................................................. 26-27 Kobelco Construction Machinery.......................................15 LBX Company LLC.......................................................... 38-39 Nexvue.................................................................................47 Orion Software....................................................................44 Perkins Engines Company Limited.....................................51 Power Pusher, Division of Nu-Star, Inc...............................36 Precision Components...........................................................2 ROEDA.................................................................................49 Rotary Corp..........................................................................46 Skyjack Inc............................................................................46 Sotcher Measurement Inc...................................................36 Sycor Americas.....................................................................42 Terex USA.......................................................................33, 52 Thieman Hydraulic Tailgates..............................................42 TVH Parts Co........................................................................24 UP Equip..............................................................................11 Vacuworx Global.................................................................28 Wacker Neuson...................................................................35 Western Global....................................................................23 Windy Ridge Corporation.............................................48, 49



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Dick Detmer


The Impact of Rising Shipping Costs on Rental Companies Newly enacted ELD rules are increasing the costs to the trucking companies that transport your equipment and parts


think the price of shipping equipment and parts purchased by rental companies is going to rise dramatically, and this increase will be intensified for rental companies that are far away from where the equipment is produced or warehoused. Just one factor will be the newly enacted ELD (electronic logging device) rules, which are likely to cause truckers and trucking companies to charge more for their services. What is ELD all about? Truckers have long been required to keep hand-written logs showing the number of hours they spend driving to prove they’re not exceeding the mandated limit of hours. Of course, like airline pilots, it would be unsafe for truckers and others if they do not get enough rest. Put simply, ELD uses GPS technology to electronically monitor truckers to accurately track their road time to ensure they’re not cheating (as some truckers did, of course, with the paper logging). Overly tired truckers are more likely to be involved in accidents with their big rigs. The unintended consequence will be, in my opinion, a significant increase in the cost to the trucking company and these costs are likely to be passed on to the customer – the rental company. One of the rental business owners I recently spoke with told me he recently paid $50 for expedited shipping of a set of clips that cost $2. The part was needed for the rental equipment to operate and the equipment was needed for a reservation. This company is in a relatively remote part of the U.S., but the price was not what



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the business owner was accustomed to paying, and this appears to be a trend. I believe there will be a time in the not too distant future where technologically advanced rental companies will be able to use 3-D printing technology to actually produce some of the vital parts needed for timely repairs. I have been researching this technology for years and have seen massive advances that have commercially viable applications. It’s not just that shipping costs are rising, the time it takes to have equipment arrive to you appears to be increasing as well. Of course, time is more important than shipping costs in some instances so consider this as well.

What can you do? There are some things you can do to reduce the impact of these rising shipping costs. Even though this is a huge topic, here are a few possible ideas and other considerations that might be helpful to start with: ■■ Be certain you have excellent purchasing procedures in place. Being timely and concentrating on efficiency are key to keeping costs down. ■■ Reevaluate your stocking level for key repair parts (and rental equipment as well). It’s possible that having slightly more of a few select parts and certain rental items will make sense in this new higher shipping cost environment.

■■ Consolidate your orders among your different departments and branches when possible and practical. ■■ Consider raising rental rates (in a strategic fashion) to help offset the rise in shipping and other equipment acquisition costs. (An objective, highly experienced rental business consultant can help with this process.) ■■ Of course, be sure to implement better training to help reduce equipment breakdowns and thereby decrease the need to have components shipped. ■■ Consider updating your fleet perhaps a bit sooner than you typically do. This, of course, could help reduce your need for some of the parts you would need to order on older equipment. Perhaps we have been spoiled by relatively low shipping rates in the past and now shipping costs are getting up to what the fair price should have been. But even if this is true, it’s better to know now that these costs are likely to rise significantly. I believe rental company decision makers will be able to plan and make adjustments more effectively if made aware of what trends are likely on their way. ■

Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized consultant, lecturer and writer with almost 40 years of experience in the equipment rental industry, including 30 writing the Eye on Rental column for Rental. For consulting, training or to order one of his books, visit Dick can be reached directly at or at (309) 781-3451.

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Rental June/July 2018  

Rental provides equipment rental owners and managers with information on how to effectively manage assets for maximum results. It also offer...

Rental June/July 2018  

Rental provides equipment rental owners and managers with information on how to effectively manage assets for maximum results. It also offer...