A Look Back at History and Preserving Your Company’s Legacy

Some of you started the rental company while some of your parents, grandparents or other relatives were the founders. It would be great to capture all of these wonderful success stories to preserve them for future generations to learn from.

There are so many fascinating and moving stories of how all of you had your start in the rental business. Some of you started the rental company while some of your parents, grandparents or other relatives were the founders. It would be great to capture all of these wonderful success stories to preserve them for future generations to learn from.

Recently one of my second generation rental business owner customers showed me an old photo album of the company’s grand opening and newspaper clippings of their company’s early years. My customer, who now has two children of his own, was only about two years old and was sitting on his tricycle in the grand opening photo. It is so touching to think of how hard his mother and father worked and the risks they took to start their own rental business. It is also very moving to see how diligently the present generation is working to preserve and build upon the foundation their family started.

These photos and the news clippings are priceless reminders of the courage and determination of rental business owners of the past and present – and are an inspiration for all of the future rental business owners to come. So, be certain to preserve your company’s history.

Many who are reading this column are laser focused on the current conditions and challenges surrounding their rental company. Of course, all rental business operators need to take care of the here and now. However, one should spend considerable time planning for the future while at the same time drawing strength and wisdom from the past. Indeed, history can be a wonderful teacher even though some business owners might be inadvertently disregarding valuable lessons from the past.

Since this month’s issue of this magazine is the Editor’s Choice Awards issue, I thought it would be fitting to also mention some thoughts concerning suppliers of rental products.  remember learning in my early years of working in the rental industry the importance of choosing the right suppliers for rental products. Here are just a few reminders for your consideration:

  • It's important to be loyal to reliable suppliers of great rental equipment. In those early years there were choices of companies to purchase certain equipment from but not as many choices as are available today. With all of the suppliers competing for the capital you have to invest in additional inventory, sometimes it is tempting to switch manufacturers because it costs less. But quality does matter in operating a successful rental business and often great quality requires a higher price for you to pay for your rental products. So, reward your chosen suppliers with your loyalty through continued purchases.
  • There are some companies (and certain products) that have stood the test of time. Some of those rental products have been strong revenue generators for rental companies for more than 40 years. If there were to quantify the revenue, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how many total rental dollars have been generated at rental companies by a single model of a small but popular rental item (like a powered snake, large electric concrete breaker or a floor sander)? Could it be that tens of millions of dollars or perhaps even as much as $100 million of rental revenue has been generated by that single model? The point is that certain items (with relatively minor modifications) have served rental companies very well indeed. The rental items and the suppliers of those rental products deserve applause for their exceptional service.
  • The sales personnel for the suppliers of rental equipment and related products can make a huge difference in deciding which supplier company gets the order. Some of them are so great at all the tangible and intangible ways they can help you to become more successful with their products that a wise rental business operator wouldn’t even consider shopping around for another supplier.
  • Another lesson learned is the indispensable role of parts and service personnel at the supplier company. They help make the rental product even more rentable, reliable and profitable. Great suppliers know the importance of their parts, service and shipping personnel and you know that these individuals really care. They are often the unsung heroes and certainly deserve recognition for their contribution to the effort as well.  

So, remember and preserve your rental company’s history. Even though the American Rental Association is about to celebrate its 60th anniversary, let’s also celebrate all of your individual success stories and the rental businesses that you and your family members have built. There is so much to be thankful for in our industry.