ARA CEO Chris Wehrman Says the Secular Shift to Renting Continues

The equipment rental industry forecast in the U.S. calls for 8.4 percent growth in 2014, led by a projected growth of 9.1 percent in the construction equipment rental sector as noted by the American Rental Association (ARA).

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The equipment rental industry forecast in the U.S. calls for 8.4 percent growth in 2014, led by a projected growth of 9.1 percent in the construction equipment rental sector as noted by the American Rental Association (ARA) in the ARA Rental Market Monitor data from IHS Global Insight and reported in the December issue of Rental Management. The Canadian equipment rental market is expected to perform at more than double GDP.

The growth expectation for the year follows a very strong 2013 where the U.S. equipment rental industry grew at more than four times the rate of GDP. ARA launched The ARA Equipment Rental Penetration Index at The Rental Show last year and it showed a 10 percentage point penetration growth increase to 51 percent penetration over the past decade.

The key takeaway from all of this information is that we’ve seen a secular shift to rental in our industry. Equipment rental is an essential way business is done in our economy versus a short-term solution.

The members I speak with throughout the year confirm that a secular shift is happening. The ease of renting equipment versus dealing with maintenance, storage and capital expenditure issues make it a preferred option when it comes to a rent versus buy decision.

Our industry has been on a very strong growth pattern for several years now and it’s expected to do so well into the foreseeable future. By 2017, North American rental revenue is projected to rise above $51 billion, which would be the highest dollar volume ever achieved.

The strength of the equipment rental industry directly relates to the strength in ARA membership. Rental business membership is increasing, as is the number of companies selling into the rental channel, due to the certainty that the equipment rental industry provides. ARA has seen sustained membership growth over the last few years and the expectation is for that trend to continue.

This is a leading industry in the overall U.S. economic recovery. ARA places a high priority on our government affairs program in order to shape and influence the issues that are critical to you. We strive to keep members well-informed on current developments surrounding the Affordable Care Act, Tier 4 regulations and tax reform, due to their influence on your business. Our Washington, D.C., office is actively involved in making sure your voice is heard on these and other key issues that continue to develop the potential of our industry and keep the secular shift momentum moving in the right direction.

The dynamic activity in our industry bodes well for The Rental Show 2014 as equipment turnover is increasing and businesses look for new ways to grow top line rental volume and bottom line profitability. There is no better place than The Rental Show, scheduled for Feb. 9-12, 2014, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, to see new products, generate new ideas and learn about the latest equipment rental business trends through educational seminars and town halls. There also are ample opportunities to network with other equipment rental operators and industry suppliers, which offer unique opportunities and insight to differentiate your business that you just can’t gain unless you are at the show. The show remains a “must attend” event.

I’m enthusiastic about this year’s show as the exhibition floor sold out faster than it has in recent years. More than 675 companies will be in Orlando, FL, this year which is 10 percent more than last year. That’s a sizable opportunity for members to find new products, discover new suppliers and find advantages for the specific markets they serve. In addition, more than 170 companies will feature Show-Only Specials, only available to attendees at The Rental Show. A new educational track dedicated to construction rental is being offered and the Inspiration Challenge at Events and Tents will present a dynamic, unique and enjoyable experience.

The show is a celebration of the industry and is geared to maximize your potential. The secular shift to rental is well underway and I believe The Rental Show is an excellent way for you to stay ahead of the curve. The Rental Show is truly the “show for people serious about profit.”

Christine Wehrman is executive vice president and CEO of the American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. She can be reached at 800-334-2177 or 309-764-2475, ext. 280; fax 309-764-1533; [email protected].

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