In 1979 Chuck Ulmer, a mechanic by trade, started his first business focusing on construction equipment and engine repair. After a decade repairing machines in Sicklerville, NJ, he flipped his business model from construction equipment repair to equipment rental – and Construction Equipment Rental was born. Ulmer’s first investment in the rental business was Hyundai construction equipment. Today, Ulmer continues to purchase Hyundai equipment to fill a rental equipment niche.
“In the early ’90s, local equipment dealers were only offering monthly rentals. I saw this as a huge opportunity, so I purchased a few pieces of Hyundai construction equipment and started offering contractors daily, weekly and monthly rentals,” says Ulmer. “It also made perfect sense to go in this direction since we could repair and maintain the machines ourselves, to save on equipment downtime and overhead costs.”
Ulmer’s first year of renting equipment was a success. The second year, his company doubled its profits – and by the third year, the company surpassed both the first- and second-year profits by a healthy margin.
“We found the rental niche at the time and took advantage of it,” says Ulmer. “We started out with two pieces of Hyundai equipment, and at the height of the business we had 32 pieces of Hyundai equipment in our rental fleet.”
Unfortunately, dealers caught on and started offering daily, weekly and monthly rentals. Ulmer decided it was time for Construction Equipment Rental to find another rental niche. He saw a void in the rentals of demolition equipment, as well as those for attachments such as concrete pulverizers, claw forks, shears, grapples and hammers.
“Dealers were pushing for demolition and other attachment rentals at the time so we purchased a few demolition attachments and would also build attachments for specific applications such as claw forks for the wheel loaders to move pipe, logs, etc.,” says Ulmer. “Ninety percent of our fleet had attachments.”
Construction Equipment Rental was successful, but once again, other local dealers quickly caught on and began offering a range of equipment attachments. Ulmer decided to make yet another big move. He adjusted his business model again, this time becoming a “re-rental” company using a dealer instead of renting directly to the end user. He also reduced his fleet size by selling half of it to a local dealer, and he now specializes in environmental and demolition equipment re-rental.
“We are focusing on filling the niche for renting environmental and demolition equipment,” says Ulmer “Our fleet consists of long front, crawler and wheeled excavators with a range of attachments.”
To make this move, Ulmer again turned to Hyundai, working with Harter Equipment in Millstone Township, NJ. Construction Equipment Rental recently purchased three R290LC-9 long front excavators, a R210W-9 wheeled excavator and a R145LCR from Harter Equipment to round out its re-rental fleet.
“The new Hyundai 9-Series excavators are very easy to service and add attachments to. They’re also a pleasure to operate and come with more standard features than you know what to do with,” says Ulmer.
“We found over the years that Hyundai always provided a great price and value,” continues Ulmer. “They manufacture a nice piece of equipment that doesn’t break down. And to back up that point, we’ve used our Hyundai warranty once in over 20 years. That says a lot about the manufacturer and its equipment.”