It's a Tale of Two Selling Seasons in Vermont

“In the beginning of the year, rentals were very slow,” said Michelle Parker. “In fact, by the end of the second quarter, we were down 50 percent from the year before. Then it turned around.

Vermont

Looking back at 2017, Pete’s Equipment rental manager refers to a year split between two selling seasons. “In the beginning of the year, rentals were very slow,” said Michelle Parker. “In fact, by the end of the second quarter, we were down 50 percent from the year before. Then it turned around, just as if customers were trying to make up for lost time. Skid steer rentals jumped and we’re looking to finish strong in both rental and equipment sales, even exceeding last year’s sales.”

The difficult start, she pointed out, was caused by a rainy and muddy spring, during a time when heavy trucks and trailers are not allowed on local roads, from March to May.

Pete’s Equipment is in Morrisville, VT, just a few miles north of Stowe. The company has been in business more than 40 years, selling and servicing heavy equipment, tractors, and forestry equipment. It also rents mini excavators, man lifts, telehandlers, chippers, skid steer loaders and rollers.

“We’re a small store, employing only seven people, but we’re very busy, added Parker. “On the rental side we stick to renting large equipment and leave the smaller tool market to a company, also family owned, that shares a drive with us. Early on, we had an agreement that they would rent the smaller items and we would concentrate on larger equipment.”

When asked about expectations for 2018, Parker emphasized the jury is still out. She noted that Pete’s Equipment and Sales is very diversified and traditionally doesn’t have a down time like most rental stores, in part because forestry equipment sales help carry them through the long winters. But what happens at the end of 2017 with health care and tax reform will likely have an impact on most small businesses, not only in Vermont but across the country.        

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