Rental Snapshot: Live in Texas & Give in Texas

Zack Smith has grown Buffalo Equipment Rental from just an idea to a successful family-operated rental business. He shares with us his biggest challenges, his ideal dinner guests, and more.

Rental Snapshot Zack Smith of Buffalo Equipment Rental
Buffalo Equipment Rental

Rental: How did you first get your start in the rental industry?

The rental industry wasn’t my original path. I left West Texas A&M University with a degree in Ag Education and every intention of finding a position as an ag teacher. One of my mentors saw potential in me for business and encouraged me to go that route. It was easy for me to take his advice, as he was building quite the construction business for himself. This led me to Warren CAT in Amarillo, Texas, where I accepted a job as the rental branch manager. I had a great experience there and got a look at the ins and outs of a larger company, as well as made connections that resulted in some of my closest friends to this day. After a year of working at CAT, I was approached by a much smaller, locally owned rental company, Rabern Rental, for a job in outside sales. I quickly agreed and went right to work. I went from making reports and attending Zoom meetings to meeting locals of the industry in Amarillo. Small businesses like Rabern have their growing pains, but I liked that numbers and units spoke for themselves and teamwork was a lifestyle. I put in hundreds of thousands of miles in just a few short years, but I had an amazing support team to back my every move and that was the greatest start anyone could have in this business.

Rental Snapshot Zack Smith of Buffalo Equipment RentalBuffalo Equipment Rental

Rental: Can you give us some insight into your current company?

In early 2021, my wife and I decided to pack up our young family and move from West Texas to my hometown of Weatherford, Texas, just west of the DFW metroplex. Our vision was to start our own equipment rental business named Buffalo Rental, with an aim to serve homeowners and small business contractors. We found a great location on the Fort Worth Highway that had once been Action Rental. We poured concrete and put our kids’ handprints in the wet cement alongside those of the Action Rental family who came before us. We ordered equipment to fill an empty yard and updated the store. So much sweat has gone into creating our version of the American Dream, and we love that we can do it in Parker County. Today, Buffalo continues to serve the county and surrounding communities with a fleet geared toward the homeowner and local business contractor. We are blessed to have so quickly found our niche in our community and have tripled in size in a short amount of time. Even more importantly, we made it our mission to reinvest in the community that continues to support us, following our central idea to “Live Here and Give Here.” It’s what we want Buffalo Rental to be remembered for, and it’s how we live our daily lives as a family.

Rental Snapshot Zack Smith of Buffalo Equipment RentalBuffalo Equipment Rental

Rental: What have been some of the challenges and successes you’ve had since you've been in business?

Due to both our rapid growth and supply chain issues, equipment availability has been a huge challenge for us. The demand from our customers for certain rental equipment is great, but our business can only grow as fast as our vendors can pump out the requested iron and get it delivered. No doubt my tendency to assemble a fleet of similar products has made this even more difficult. Though this doesn’t necessarily solve our problem, we’ll continue to move forward in this manner due to the successes it allows. First, it makes repairs, maintenance, operation, and customer education more streamlined. Less time is spent working on equipment, less in-stock parts are required, and employees have a more in-depth knowledge of our product. This all contributes to our main goal – the safest and most positive customer experience possible. Working under this rationale has also afforded us very strong and loyal relationships with our vendors. They take care of us because our loyalty extends to them as well. Looking back over the years, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Rental: What's a tool or technology that's changed your business for the better?

Thankfully, rental software has come a long way in the past decade. In our day-to-day, Point of Rental has simplified operations tremendously. I have been impressed with all the software they have to offer, as well as their customer support. Rental Snapshot Zack Smith of Buffalo Equipment RentalBuffalo Equipment Rental

Rental: If you could have dinner with 3 famous people, who would you choose and why?

President George W. Bush – President Bush was the first U.S. President that I was old enough to really watch and somewhat understand what was going on during his presidency. I want to know what it was like to be in that Florida classroom on that fateful day in September. I wonder how he was able to immediately know who to listen to and how to maintain situational awareness throughout the following weeks. September 11th and the days after are amongst the most momentous days of our lifetime, and he remained conscientious in those key moments.

President Abraham Lincoln – President Lincoln had the integrity to create a more civil society by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and knew that he would likely sacrifice his own life by doing so. He made mistakes, as all leaders do, yet followed up by intentionally making the ultimate sacrifice in order to better our country’s future. That level of selflessness comes from a unique mind, and I would love to hear where he was mentally in this moment of futuristic clarity.

Elon Musk – Elon is not only a fellow Texan but an unprecedented mind in business. While he did eventually obtain his degree following the famous Stanford drop out, Elon is absolute proof that you don’t have to finish college to be successful, you just have to be completely devoted to creating your version of success. I think this is extremely important in our industry and for our employees to understand. While I do believe in public education and all it, along with my college experience, provided me, it’s important for people to remember that you don’t have to take a traditional path in order to be successful.