Reaching the middle market

How would you like to have your store stocked with the highest quality light equipment and have exclusive access to the industry's leading brand of large diesel pumps, all while enjoying a relationship with a manufacturer that has a vested interest in the success of your business?

That's exactly what John Michael Paz, president and owner of Godwin Pumps of America Inc., shown in the photo above, wants for small- to medium-size independent rental businesses, and he has a plan to make it happen.

Paz calls it his "Middle Market Strategy" and his goal is to give the "little guys" or, more precisely, independent rental businesses with $3 to $20 million in volume, a leg up on the competition by supplying them with his line of light equipment, which includes new Wet-Prime, gasoline-powered contractor pumps as well as generators and light towers. By becoming a Godwin dealer, these businesses also gain exclusive access to Godwin's bread and butter, an inventory of more than 4,000 large Dri-Prime diesel pumps.

Paz says his strategy creates a win-win situation. "We want to build a relationship with the small guy on the light line to drive business back to the big diesels," he says.

According to Paz, the term "middle market" refers to the size of the rental business he's targeting but also to the geographical location of the stores he hopes to sign on. With 24 company-owned stores around the country and 25 distributors with hundreds of locations from coast to coast, Paz hopes to get to those businesses located in the gaps. The key to making this plan work, he says, is to build relationships with the rental businesses.

"People buy from people," says Paz. "Right now, there is that middle market on the outer edges of our salesmen's territories. We know there is a big diesel demand in that strata. Those stores don't want to invest in big diesels, but when they want to rent one out, we would make it available on a re-rental basis."

Paz says it's the relationship built between Godwin personnel at the company-owned store and the manager at the rental house that is ultimately what would make the logistics of the situation work, such as transporting the equipment from one location to the other and so on.

In this way, a smaller rental business can offer its customers a big-ticket item that is not available to the larger rental companies that have taken over much of the market in the past 10 years.

Entrepreneurial spirit
When you look at how he and Godwin Pumps came of age, it's no surprise that Paz has a soft spot for smaller, independent rental businesses.

Godwin Pumps Ltd. was founded in the United Kingdom in 1886. In 1976, the Paz family became the sole distributor of Godwin pumps in the United States and Godwin Pumps of America was born. The company was started with six employees, five of whom are still with the company (the other is retired). It was around this time that John Michael Paz came on board, working his way up the company ladder from salesman to president/owner.

Meanwhile, the rental market had exploded in the mid to late 1970s, creating ample opportunities for expansion. Godwin bought its first company-owned store in Maryland in 1989, and almost 20 years later, Godwin has become a name synonymous with quality and immediately recognized in the global pump market. Paz notes that Godwin's business is growing 15 to 20 percent each year, but like a tree growing taller, the trunk must also grow bigger to support the weight. As such, he's looking to expand Godwin's market saturation geographically as well as vertically.

"To cover more ground, we want to get into that strata where we can work with the up-and-coming rental businesses that want exposure to Godwin products," says Paz.

A relationship with Godwin Pumps is more than access to high-quality equipment, Paz says. It also offers rental businesses the ability to tap into Godwin's extensive knowledge of the science of pumping. Surprising to Paz is the number of manufacturers supplying pumps to the market that don't have a deep understanding of hydraulics and pump technology, something Godwin prides itself on.

"We're not just renting pumps, we're renting solutions and in the pumping business, those are engineering solutions," Paz says. "Our motto is: We're not only the best at what we do, we're the only ones who do what we do."

In summary, to make his "Middle Market Strategy" work, Paz hopes to reach small- to medium-size independent rental businesses with his plans to give them a leg up on the competition with a product they can call their own. If interested in learning more about Paz's strategy, please contact him at ph. (856) 467-3636 or email