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Location, location, location — a mantra used often in business — mattered much in 2007. So did inventory mix. It was not a good year in the earthmoving business, especially in places like Florida and Southern California, and, in general, most of the West and East. Even in the steadier Midwest, there were pockets where the housing slump hit particularly hard and quite a few companies felt the effects of it.

Still commercial and industrial and infrastructure work tracked fairly strongly in most areas, not really hit yet by the effects of the housing slump. But so much construction is related to housing — all the strip malls that cater to the new housing developments, the roads to get there, the schools, hospitals and businesses that would cater to those residents. In many places it hasn't caught up yet. In many markets, 2008 will be the year that it does.

National companies tended to deal with the issue by restructuring their fleets. Companies transferred equipment from slower markets to where there was more demand to a larger degree than ever. United Rentals, for example, altered its compensation structure to offer incentives to branch managers to move equipment out of slower markets. Hertz grew its percentage of aerial equipment and reduced its earthmoving inventory to about 25 percent of its fleet, an all-time low for the company. A number of smaller companies did subtle makeovers to emphasize the commercial/industrial segment of their business.

Despite the general tone of doom and gloom in much of the media — often exaggerated, but not based on fantasy — 2007 certainly won't be remembered as a down year among the 100 largest companies. Not including the additional companies — 101 through 110 — the RER 100 totaled $13,853.6 million in rental volume, or, rounded off, $13.85 billion, a 4.3-percent year-over-year increase.

Excluding companies whose revenue figures are based on RER estimates only, 67 percent of companies on the 100 list this year as well as last had rental volume increases in 2007 compared to 2006. Of those with increases, a surprising 60 percent had double-digit boosts. Still, these numbers are a far cry from last year's listing, where 95 percent had year-over-year increases compared with the previous year, with 70 percent of those in double digits and the overall list jumping 14.5 percent.

The consensus is far more will experience decreases in 2008, although many still expect an increase. The majority of companies expecting increases look for single-digit jumps, but some, especially those that have niches in the industrial and commercial end, still see double-digit revenue growth as possible this year.

Such is the unpredictability of the current environment, that the range of increases and decreases of rental volume among the RER 100 was as wide as it has been in recent memory. Unlike the 2004-2006 period where just about all companies posted increases, this year reported revenues ranged from 64 percent down to 46 percent up.

For most companies, the commercial construction, industrial and infrastructure markets remained vibrant although some companies saw signs of softness, with some jobs held up pending financing, with credit harder to come by, and the sense of economic uncertainty in the air causing investors and banks to hesitate before funding projects. Industrial companies that had considered manufacturing plant expenditures and other ventures were adopting the cautiousness normal for this type of economic cycle.

For many rental companies, 2007 marked the beginning of a tightrope that would have to be walked, that might get narrower and windier in 2008 — the need to be cautious with expenses and cut costs while at the same time look for opportunities to gain market share, either by improving service or making an acquisition or starting a greenfield branch. How to expand and cut costs at the same time? It's a delicate balance to say the least, and those that went for opportunities had to study them carefully — gone are the days of acquisition-mania throwing caution to the wind. Not in this market.

Several themes were constant among RER 100 executives interviewed for this year's 100: constantly refining the business, using information more effectively, maximizing efficiencies. How deep the current slowdown — or recession, if you will — will go is a subject of much debate and nothing even close to a consensus has emerged. But the long-term demographics, in a country where the U.S. Census Bureau expects the population to grow by another 60 million over the next two decades, are seen in very positive terms in most of the country.

“The long-term demographics of our market are quite good: populations will continue to grow, commercial building remains strong, net in-migration to our markets continues,” said Mark Clawson of Diamond Rental (No. 66), speaking of the Intermountain West, but expressing a sentiment shared by people in many regions. “A recession may come but we are trying to take a long view to this business and that helps mitigate the possibility of a relatively short-term slowdown.”

Most 100 executives agree the long-term outlook remains strong. But some are optimistic of a turnaround in the latter half of '08, perhaps with the assistance of the federal stimulus package. Others don't see it until 2009 and others see the slump lasting a year or two beyond. Location has a lot to do with it. A lot of variables are yet to be played out in the financial markets, still uncertain and unpredictable.

Seven of last year's top 10 posted rental volume increases, with NES decreasing because it sold its tank and traffic safety divisions, and Neff, heavily concentrated in earthmoving equipment and located in areas particularly hard hit by housing, posting a 3.6-percent rental volume decline and dropping out of the top 10 to No. 11.

How long, how deep?

Seven of last year's top 10 posted rental volume increases, with NES decreasing because it sold its tank and traffic safety divisions, and Neff, heavily concentrated in earthmoving equipment and located in areas particularly hard hit by housing, posting a 3.6-percent rental volume decline and dropping out of the top 10 to No. 11.

Most of last year's rental volume numbers look good, but no matter how you slice it, we're in some challenging economic times and when a light at the end of the housing tunnel will start to appear is still a matter of debate, as is the question of how long and how deep the overall economic downturn will be.

Whether or not this is a recession is also still being debated. But it hasn't been a long time since the early part of this decade brought another tough economic cycle, and many of the lessons rental companies learned back then should be fresh in peoples' minds.

Fleet management is a critical issue. Managing fleet is vital, and dozens of RER 100 companies have taken sharper control of their fleets to cut costs and maximize ROI. While a few years ago, telematics systems for fleet tracking, theft prevention and remote diagnostics were viewed as expensive solutions only applicable for large companies or for use only with high-capital machinery, this year almost every RER 100 company interviewed is either utilizing GPS or fleet-tracking solutions or is seriously considering them. Dispatching software is being utilized or considered by dozens of companies.

Another aspect is not over-fleeting, especially on equipment for which demand is soft. “The industry overall has done a pretty good job, moving into this slower period, of not overbuying on the earthmoving side,” said Gerry Plescia, Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. (No 3). “From our perspective, it has made a big difference for us to have diversified the business over the years.”

Like so many other companies, HERC has built up on aerial equipment and emphasized commercial and industrial business. “The industrial/petrochemical part of our business, which is the fastest-growing part, has helped us grow in 2007, in spite of that slowing construction market,” said Plescia, articulating views expressed by many RER 100 executives this year.

Some companies are already cutting costs by reducing headcount. While laying off employees is not something the industry wants to see, some companies are already either not replacing staff that leaves or have eliminated under-performing staff.

Many RER 100 companies are already walking the fine line between trying to cut costs and at the same time staying aggressive and looking for expansion opportunities, knowing that economic downturns are often ripe with opportunities to gain market share by increasing sales staff, opening branches in relatively underserved areas, or acquiring smaller companies whose owners are looking to get out of the industry.

“We are trying to be careful with expenses, but we do not want to cut to the point where we cannot still grow the business when things turn around,” said Diamond's Clawson.

“We are trying to cut expenses by 1 percent of this year's sales,” added Keith Olson of Colorado Machinery (No. 83). “We are buying one additional outlet, remodeling one and opening one new facility in preparation for the next upswing in 2009. It is going to be a tougher year, so we have to be more aggressive than ever.”

Aggressive, yet cautious, seems to be the approach of RER 100 executives in 2008. The lessons of downturns past included cut down expenses, don't over-fleet, but try to grab market share when you can.

While the subprime housing crisis caught many by surprise, and the effects of the housing slowdown and credit crunch hit harder and with more far-reaching impact than people anticipated, the current downturn is not a major surprise given the foresight many had in the rental business who knew the boom years of 2004-2006 wouldn't last forever. As Larry Workman of Illini Hi Reach, No. 98, said, “If you did not borrow properly, or make excellent profits in the past three to five years, you will be in a bad place for a while now. Unanticipated fire drills are hard to pull off right now. You should have been ready for this period of downturn some time ago.”

That's why most rental companies now are taking the long-term view. Plan ahead and look at what your company will need in the long-term. The rewards will be there. We just don't know when.


Company Name (Last year's rank)
Headquarters
Top Officer
Website
2007 Rental Volume Millions 2007 Total in Volume Millions Total in Number of Outlets
1 UNITED RENTALS (1)
Greenwich, Conn.
Michael Kneeland
www.ur.com
$2,630.0 $3,731.0 670
Editorial Comments: Although Cerberus backed out of its acquisition of United at the last minute, leading ultimately to its stock price being nearly cut in half, the company, now in its second decade, remains intent on improving operating efficiencies. By changing its structure to add incentives to branch and district managers to share equipment between branches, the company is saving millions. Has de- emphasized contractor supplies in favor of pure rental model. Soon to name a permanent CEO, which could be Kneeland.
2 RSC EQUIPMENT RENTAL (3)
Scottsdale, Ariz.
Erik Olsson
www.rscrental.com
$1,543.2 $1,769.2 473
Editorial Comments: A 12.7-percent rental volume boost. Systems are key to continuing profitability. Virtually eliminated parts inventory and lowered amount of time equipment spends in shop. Improved coordination between branches and layout of stores to decrease accidents. Enhanced shop efficiency and improved currency of preventive maintenance to near 100 percent. Diverse customer base and emphasis on commercial and industrial markets has kept RSC safe from effects of housing slowdown so far. First quarter '08 rental revenue up 7 percent, in line with single-digit growth expectations for the year.
3 HERTZ EQUIPMENT RENTAL CORP. (4)
Park Ridge, N.J.
Gerry Plescia
www.hertzequip.com
$1,410.0* $1,848.0* 282
Editorial Comments: Diversification and growth in industrial/commercial segment in recent years is helping HERC in current market, with industrial/petrochemical segment the fastest-growing part of the business. Has reduced the percentage of earthmoving in fleet to an all-time low, less than 25 percent or lower of total fleet. Solid growth coming from outside U.S., with Canadian and European operations developing well, inspiring company to continue to look for opportunities in other European countries and Asia. Despite economic uncertainties, planning to step up U.S. expansion, recently acquiring a Connecticut high-reach company.
4 SUNBELT RENTALS (2)
Fort Mill, S.C.
Cliff Miller
www.sunbeltrentals.com
$1,406.0 $1,625.0 429
Editorial Comments: Solidified the integration of NationsRent, paring off a few redundant branches. Continues to expand in areas that fit its strategic goals. Brand new website has dynamic equipment search, reservation capability, a request pick-up or service-call function, and a tool to manage and maintain jobsites. Customers can review and reprint open invoices, pay online, save, schedule and print custom reports, and manage their equipment on rent. Expects a flat '08.
5 HOME DEPOT RENTALS (5)
Atlanta
Jim Summers
www.homedepotrents.com
$622.0* n/a 1,211
Editorial Comments: With the slowdown in housing, Home Depot Rentals has slowed down growth as well. Now focusing on operational efficiencies, ways to improve utilization, narrowing assortment of tools not renting, bringing in new tools, customer refinement, narrowing assortment of low-volume tools. Developed more in-depth new model to scrutinize location based on demographics, outlook forecast for upcoming three years, better forecast to meet high-standard profitability model.
6 NES RENTALS (6)
Deerfield, Ill.
Andrew Studdert
www.nesrentals.com
$416.0 $524.0 80
Editorial Comments: Sold traffic safety division in the fall. Revenues include results from divested units through the date of sale — storage tank division for three months and traffic safety for nine months. Revenues down year over year, but debt dropped $200 million and EBITDA increased 8 percent. Company expects solid results in 2008, with cost reductions and focus on core aerial business. First- quarter '08 rental revenue and EBITDA are up, with rental rates up 1 percent and utilization 6 percent, after utilization dropped 1 percent in '07.
7 MAXIM CRANE RENTAL CORP. (8)
Bridgeville, Pa.
Art Innamorato
www.maximcrane.com
$328.0* $385.0* 35
Editorial Comments: Crane business has remained strong as commercial and industrial construction has continued well in most markets. Agreed, at press time, to be acquired by private equity firm.
8 AHERN RENTALS (11)
Las Vegas
Don Ahern
www.ahernrentals.com
$293.4 $342.6 43
Editorial Comments: A robust rental volume increase of 24 percent and total revenue jump of 29 percent resulted from capital expenditures increasing the size of the rental fleet, although dollar and time utilization dropped 4 percent and 3 percent (of aerial fleet) respectively. Sales of used increased because of growth in rental fleet, while company put more emphasis on sales of new units. Activity levels remain solid in most Ahern markets, although some major projects were put on hold. Company's revenues have tripled in five years. Expects to open a few new branches this year.
9 H&E EQUIPMENT SERVICES (9)
Baton Rouge, La.
John Engquist
www.he-equipment.com
$289.7 $1,003.1 63
Editorial Comments: Rental revenues jumped 14 percent in '07, total leapt 25 percent. Service and parts — strong H&E growth areas — had jumps of 19 and 24 percent, with 47 percent in new equipment. Petrochemical, mining, oil patch and energy sectors remain strong markets. Increased spending in Louisiana's coastal regions spur long-term benefits from hurricane protection and rebuilding efforts. Burress acquisition expanded footprint into mid-Atlantic markets; development of Burress rental operations and transition to H&S' integrated model is a growth opportunity. Double-digit growth in EBITDA and gross profit.
10 FINNING (13)
Edmonton, Alberta
Paul Gour/Harry Hoyer
www.finning.ca
$269.9 $2,731.8 34
Editorial Comments: Celebrating 75 years in business with a 30-percent rental volume jump in booming economies of British Columbia and Alberta, fueled by infrastructure needs, upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and continuing Alberta oil sands exploration. Expects similar strong performance in 2008. World's largest Caterpillar dealer added five Cat Rental Store locations in Canada in 2007.
11 NEFF RENTAL (8)
Miami
Juan Carlos Mas
www.neffcorp.com
$266.4 $329.9 66
Editorial Comments: Acquired in June by New York-based private equity firm Lightyear Capital. With 47 percent of original cost of rental fleet being earthmoving equipment, Neff has been challenged by housing slowdown. With largest concentration of branches in hardest-hit states — Florida and California — Neff has been proactive in redeploying equipment in branches with higher demand. Dollar utilization down 3.5 percent from '06. Rental revenue dropped 3.3 percent in '07, with rental rates declining 2.9 percent. Sound like bad news? Gross profits jumped 30 percent year over year.
12 SUNSTATE EQUIPMENT CO. (10)
Phoenix

Mike Watts
www.sunstateequip.com
$247.0* n/a 50
Editorial Comments: Sunstate's Texas market still going strong, and backlogs strong everywhere, but Arizona and California are exhibiting warning signals from the housing slowdown. Weighing the pros and cons of expansion into various markets, with a couple of moves on the drawing boards. Likely to spend less on new equipment and pay down debt over the next couple of years. Watts confident on how company would fare in a downturn. Extensive market area includes California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
13 AGGREKO NORTH AMERICA (12)
Houston
George Walker
www.aggreko.com
$245.5 $337.5 53
Editorial Comments: A 16-percent rental revenue hike as Aggreko continues strength in industrial power market. Opened Edmonton, Canada, branch. Made significant progress in operational excellence. Opened learning center in Pearland, Texas, taught about 95 classes in '07 focusing on technical side of the business, project management, leadership and customer service training. Continued to lower recordable incident rate, improving strong safety record. Completed integration of GE Energy Rentals.
14 ALL ERECTION & CRANE CORP. (14)
Cleveland
Michael Liptak
www.allcrane.com
$210.0* n/a 27
Editorial Comments: Has own lift planning software that facilitates the handling of large jobs such as the recent setting of a 184-foot walking bridge across a Lake Erie bay by a convention center using a 350-ton hydraulic truck crane and another 300-ton crane. Ability to plan jobs, provide equipment and experienced operators enables it to handle various aspects of variety of jobs. Has extensive fleet and training capability and fleet includes boom trucks, aerial work platforms, telehandlers and other material handling equipment.
15 AMECO (17)
Greenville, S.C.
Gary Bernardez
www.ameco.com
$172.1 n/a 32
Editorial Comments: Specialist in site services and fleet outsourcing, with strong rental and distribution component in Canada, Mexico and Caribbean region. Recently opened branches in Fort McMurray, Canada, near the Alberta oil sands, as well as central Mexico and Panama. Site services provides equipment, tools, site planning, equipment maintenance, supplies to help customers reduce costs and duplication. A strong player in Mexico's rental market.
16 PATENT CONSTRUCTION SYSTEMS, Division of Harsco Corp. (18)
Paramus, N.J.
Robert Safier
www.harsco.com; www.patentconstruction.com
$165.0* $255.0* 45
Editorial Comments: Believed to provide the broadest range of rental scaffolding, forming and shoring products in North America. Specializes in product engineering and on-site installations, from simple to large and complex. Recently signed contract to provide more than $3 million of rental concrete formwork equipment and services to contractor constructing 2 million square feet of retail and commercial properties near fabled Hollywood and Vine in L.A., with engineering design done by engineers in San Francisco, Seattle and Miami in electronic collaboration.
17 VOLVO RENTS (16)
Asheville, N.C.
Barry Natwick
www.volvorents.com
$160.0 $268.0 77
Editorial Comments: Exceeded 135,000 customers and one million rental transactions. Concentrating on finding local ownership for franchise program as well as helping current franchise owners add branches, in some cases as many as five. Has stepped up sales training and developed a team for opening a new store with a strong marketing push. Expanding support infrastructure, working to support franchise owners' economic challenges with help on cost reductions, marketing and positioning, moving fleet around and careful financial review.
18 AMQUIP CRANE CORP. (20)
Bensalem, Pa.
Frank Bardonaro
www.amquip.com
$155.0 $155.0 11
Editorial Comments: Acquisition of Bard Capital in June should continue to provide financial resources. Since acquiring the Shaughnessy of NES in March '07, has deployed more than 50 cranes throughout New England, with unprecedented growth in Boston and Rhode Island markets. Has nearly 100 specially trained service technicians and field service trucks, and a $20-million parts inventory. Has in-house tower crane engineering team, and strong shop and fabrication capability. Has cranes working in about 35 states. Rental volume up 15 percent.
19 RING POWER (15)
Jacksonville, Fla.
Randy Ringhaver
www.ringpower.com
$154.0* n/a 14
Editorial Comments: Currently faced with a double curse — being heavily weighted in the earthmoving market, with its primary market area being Florida, one of the epicenters of the housing slump. Reduced fleet by 25 percent, mostly by selling to Caterpillar dealers. Seeing erosion of rental rates in trading area. Doesn't see signs of a positive turnaround before 2009.
20 BRIGGS EQUIPMENT (19)
Dallas
David Bratton
www.briggsequipment.com
$132.9 $500.0* 41
Editorial Comments: Dropped a bit from 2006 because of housing market issues in Florida, Carolinas and Georgia, leading to reduction in construction rental. With nearly $30 million in long-term rental in Mexico, Briggs has become a leading player there. In addition to CEO Bratton, top executives include Mike Winemiller, president of Briggs Equipment Inc., and John Van Ruitenbeek, chief operating officer for Briggs Construction Equipment.
21 PON NORTH AMERICA (-)
Waco, Texas
Don Moes
www.eqdepot.com
$114.7 $445.2 29
Editorial Comments: Previously listed as Equipment Depot (No. 39 last year), Pon, headquartered in the Netherlands has grown its U.S. empire with five companies, all strong in rental, specializing in material-handling equipment. Along with Texas-based Equipment Depot (12 branches), Pon includes Equipment Depot in Illinois; Portman Equipment in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia; Forklifts Inc. in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware; and Levee Lift in Indiana and Kentucky. Been a strong year for Equipment Depot, with a lot of work in commercial, highway and industrial markets.
22 HOLT CAT (23)
San Antonio
Peter Holt
www.holtcat.com
$104.0 $1 billion + 17
Editorial Comments: Increased fleet size in response to strong rental market, and improved management of assets and people. Expects strong year for rental in '08 with a slower sales environment. Company plans to open new rental operations in several existing machine stores. Covers most of Texas except far western part of the massive state. Had a 21-percent rental volume jump in 2007.
23 BATTLEFIELD EQUIPMENT RENTALS (22)
Stoney Creek, Ontario
Randy Casson
www.battlefieldequipment.ca
$96.8 $170.0* 34
Editorial Comments: Another increase for major Canadian Caterpillar rental company, a strong player in Ontario market. Battlefield acquired Sunrise Equipment early in 2007, contributing to its overall revenue. Experienced same-store growth on a companywide basis. Starting 2008 with a solid first quarter with record equipment backlogs.
24 EMPIRE MACHINERY (24)
Mesa, Ariz.
Jeffrey Whiteman
www.empirecat.com
$71.0* n/a 14
Editorial Comments: Not the best of times in Arizona earthmoving market, but Empire is diversified enough with aerial and other types of allied equipment. Now in its third generation of ownership by the Whiteman family, which started the Caterpillar dealership in 1950. Territory includes southeastern California and parts of northern Mexico as well as Arizona.
25 WAGNER RENTS (25)
Denver
Bruce Wagner
www.wagnerequipment.com
$70.1* n/a 18
Editorial Comments: Colorado and New Mexico Caterpillar dealer has a lot of oil and gas work and pretty solid commercial activity in region, helping the company to continue to grow steadily, although slower than previous years. Expects to open a couple more Cat Rental Store branches in '08.
26 MUSTANG RENTAL SERVICES (34)
Channelview, Texas
Brad Tucker
www.mustangcat.com
$65.1 n/a 8
Editorial Comments: A 46-percent rental volume increase for Houston-area Caterpillar dealer with a long-running rental program, thanks to an exceptional year in Mustang's rental business. Emergency power generation rental revenues augment rental volume figures, although it's only a small portion. Owner Louis Tucker now chairman of the board, with his brother Brad taking over as president.
27 RED-D-ARC WELDERENTALS (29)
Austell, Ga.
Mitch Imielinski
www.red-d-arc.com
$62.0* $82.0* 41
Editorial Comments: Opened Red-D-Arc Middle East in Dubai and last month acquired A&N Plant in the U.K. and A&N Europe in the Netherlands, involved in welder rental and manufacturing on worldwide basis. Has fleet of more than 40,000 welders in more than 40 branches in U.S., Canada and Mexico.
28 FABICK RENTS (70)
Fenton, Mo.
Doug Fabick
www.fabickcat.com
$61.2 $137.0 15
Editorial Comments: Handles aerial equipment (JLG and Genie), power generation and allied equipment. Five dedicated Cat Rental Stores but all locations rent. Recently celebrated 90 years in the construction industry.
29 CASHMAN EQUIPMENT (28)
Las Vegas
MaryKaye Cashman
www.cashmanequipment.com
$60.5* $575.0* 6
Editorial Comments: Began construction of new seven-building, “Green” headquarters in nearby Henderson, Nev., just outside Las Vegas. Mike Pack joined the company as president and COO. One of the largest privately owned companies in Nevada.
30 DAYTON SUPERIOR CORP. (-)
Dayton, Ohio
Eric Zimmerman
www.daytonsuperior.com
$59.7 $483.0 29
Editorial Comments: Leading North American provider of specialized products consumed in non-residential concrete construction and the largest concrete forming and shoring rental company serving the domestic, non-residential construction market. Also manufactures concrete construction products used in highways, bridges, airports, power plants and water-management projects, institutional projects such as schools, stadiums, hospitals and government buildings, and commercial projects such as retail stores, offices, recreational and manufacturing facilities.
31 BLANCHARD RENTAL SERVICES (26)
West Columbia, S.C.
Joe Blanchard, president; Bill Gregory, rentals
www.blanchardmachinery.com
$59.4 n/a 7
Editorial Comments: Region felt the weight of the housing slump and resulting downward pressure on rental rates. Still, Blanchard managed to maintain its market share and keep utilization at a decent level by reducing fleet. Doesn't expect any dramatic change for a couple of years.
32 ESSEX CRANE RENTAL (21)
Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Ron Schad
www.essexcrane.com
$55.0* $64.2 19
Editorial Comments: Agreed to be acquired for $210 million by private equity group Hyde Park Acquisition Corp. last month. Serves bridge and road construction, power, water treatment, refineries, and other infrastructure projects, markets still running strong with favorable utilization and rental rate trends. Strong market share in crawler-crane rental segment. Management team, led by veteran Schad, is experienced and capable. Carries extensive parts inventory.
33 LOCATION D'OUTILS SIMPLEX (33)
Montreal
Andre Veronneau
www.simplex.ca
$53.2 $67.0 35
Editorial Comments: A booming aerial market, strong Quebec economy and Simplex' investment in the earthmoving market is paying off with continued growth for Quebec- focused regional giant, which had an 18.2-percent rental volume jump in '07.
34 STEPHENSON'S RENTAL SERVICES (40)
Mississauga, Ontario
Willie Swisher
www.stephensons.ca
$53.0 $60.0 18
Editorial Comments: Better fleet utilization and the addition of revenue from A1 Rentals, acquired in July '06, helped Toronto's leading rental player to a 36-percent rental volume increase. Plans three new branches for '08 and searching for acquisition opportunities in the U.S. and western Canada. Swisher is cautiously optimistic for '08 with significant projects going on, but a bit concerned about early '09. Fuel already well over $4 per gallon in Ontario. Dispatching software has helped control costs, may extend it to pick-up truck delivery fleet. Company was acquired by Edgestone Capital Partners in July 2007.
35 SIMS CRANE & EQUIPMENT CO. (30)
Tampa, Fla.
Steve Stodghill
www.simscrane.com
$52.7 $74.0 9
Editorial Comments: Added new Kobelco 600-ton crawler crane to fleet. Ex-perienced decreased margins and decreased demand, with concentration in Florida market. Expects lower utilization and demand in '08, looking at cutting costs but still looking for expansion opportunities in new geographic regions and product lines.
36 STAR RENTALS (31)
Seattle
Bob Kendall
www.starrentals.com
$51.5 $77.5 17
Editorial Comments: Enjoyed another year of growth. While Northwest hasn't been hit so hard by housing slump, Star still expects a flat '08 and is planning accordingly. Customer backlogs shrinking but still working. Had strong utilization in '07, slightly slowing in early '08, with rental rate declines in the area evident but not pervasive. Planning on expanding into Bellingham market.
37 SCOTT CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT (43)
Monroe, La.
Scott Cummins
www.scottcompanies.com
$49.0 n/a 19
Editorial Comments: Thirty-one-percent rental volume jump for Louisiana-based Volvo dealer benefiting from strong construction activity and the rebuilding of the region's infrastructure post-Katrina.
38 OHIO CAT (35)
Broadview Heights, Ohio
Kenneth Taylor
www.ohiocat.com
$47.8* n/a 12
Editorial Comments: Continued solid performance for Ohio's Caterpillar dealer. Rental revenue increased across all three divisions last year because of increased fleet size. Quantity of core fleet is growing and new products being added to inventory mix.
39 WAJAX LTD. (37)
Mississauga, Ontario
Mark Whitman
www.wajax.com
$47.2 $583.9 30
Editorial Comments: A record year of earnings for Wajax despite currency and commodity price fluctuations and mixed economic performance in a number of markets. A strong Canadian economy helps offset the weak U.S. dollar's effect on Canadian manufacturing and forestry industries. Wajax' diversity helps protect it from market inconsistencies. Acquired southern Ontario JCB dealer and added Tigercat forestry line in several provinces. Expects a solid 2008.
40 IMPERIAL CRANE SERVICES (47)
Bridgeview, Ill.
B.J. Bohne
www.imperialcrane.com
$45.0 $57.0 5
Editorial Comments: Long-time crane and aerial specialist has added hoist division in Florida and already has 25 hoists up. Family-owned for nearly 40 years, with wide range of cranes and aerials up to 135 feet. A 29-percent rental volume increase and 36-percent total volume jump makes Imperial one of the top companies of the year in terms of percentage hike.
41 KELLY TRACTOR (32)
Miami
John Socol
www.kellytractor.com
$44.5* n/a 9
Editorial Comments: Not the greatest time to be an earthmoving specialist in South Florida, but Kelly, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, should be diversified enough to handle the collapse of the region's housing market.
42 HAWTHORNE RENT-IT SERVICE (38)
San Diego
Tom Hawthorne
www.hawthornecat.com
$41.4* n/a 14
Editorial Comments: Also struggling through a major downturn in the Southern California housing market, but diversity and a strong rental presence helps. Company has aerial division and branches in Mexico, Samoa, Tonga and Guam. Veteran Hawthorne inducted in American Rental Association Hall of Fame this year in Las Vegas.
43 COAST CRANE CO. (-)
Seattle
Dan Goodale
www.coastcrane.com
$40.7 $81.0* 14
Editorial Comments: Crane, aerial work platform and forklift rental specialist has branches stretching from Anchorage to San Diego. Strong presence in northwest and western Canada. Company acquired by Seattle-based private equity firm in May of '07.
44 MACALLISTER MACHINERY (42)
Indianapolis
Chuck MacAllister
www.macallister.com
$40.1* n/a 9
Editorial Comments: Well established in rental, has a strong fleet of allied equipment including booms and scissors, deck cranes, light towers, pumps, concrete saws and more to complement Caterpillar earthmoving inventory.
45 ECCO EQUIPMENT CORP. (27)
Santa Ana, Calif.
David Schmid
www.eccoequipment.com
$39.6 $44.3 14
Editorial Comments: A surprising 64-percent reduction in rental volume illustrates how devastating the homebuilding collapse can be on an earthmoving specialist in a barren housing market. Schmid doesn't see improvement in '08. Has branches in Santa Ana, Riverside, Coachella, Visalia, Stockton and Sacramento, Calif., Las Vegas, Arizona and Utah — all hit hard by lack of housing work.
46 MODERN EQUIPMENT (41)
Bristol, Pa.
Dave Griffith
www.moderngroup.com
$39.0 $163.0 22
Editorial Comments: Commercial and infrastructure work has continued to carry Modern in rental, but equipment sales took a big hit, but starting off better in '08. Running the company leaner, but still investing heavily in fleet and new locations. Preparing a new computer system including GPS capabilities. A major mid-Atlantic dealer, with Hyster, JLG, Genie, Terex, and New Holland its main product lines, for rental as well as sale. Although had to drop a bit of head count, ESOP structure keeps employees invested and morale high.
47 ART'S RENTAL EQUIPMENT (48)
Newport, Ky.
Ken Arlinghaus
www.artsrental.com
$35.9 $47.4 12
Editorial Comments: Opened Louisville branch in January '08 and is opening another in that city this month. Continues to expand online rental option, which has more than tripled in usage since 2004, primarily from homeowner customer base. Posted small increase.
48 CONECO EQUIPMENT (52)
Edmonton, Alberta
Kelly Scott
www.coneco.ca
$35.0* n/a 22
Editorial Comments: A lot of heavy construction in British Columbia, with new bridges being built and new road systems, plus major building of venues in preparation for 2010 Winter Olympics. Alberta has been strong for years. Coneco's market has expanded with its January '07 acquisition of Terratech. Canadian economy still strong and not deeply affected by U.S. downturn. Seven dedicated Komatsu Rents branches.
49 YANCEY BROS. (49)
Austell, Ga.
Tom Tucker
www.yanceybros.com
$34.7* n/a 14
Editorial Comments: Solid company in business for more than 90 years, under fourth generation family ownership. Housing slowdown has not spared Georgia, but company has enough irons in the fire to continue to prosper.
50 GREGORY POOLE EQUIPMENT (46)
Raleigh, N.C.
Gregory Poole III
www.gregorypoole.com
$34.1 $375.0 10
Editorial Comments: Housing slowdown has had an impact on the Carolinas and Poole has felt it, but continues what it calls the “basic blocking and tackling” of running a dealership and rental company. Caterpillar dealer in eastern areas of Carolinas and Virginia, a strong player in power generation rentals as well as construction.
51 HOLT OF CALIFORNIA (36)
Pleasant Grove, Calif.
John Johnson
holtca.cat.com
$33.9* n/a 8
Editorial Comments: The housing market has slowed in northern California and the Central Valley, Holt of California constituencies, resulting in a drop in rental revenue. Like a typical Caterpillar dealership, it's built for the long haul.
52 LOUISIANA RENTS (53)
Reserve, La.
Jay Dinger
www.louisianamachinery.com
$33.2 $40.0 8
Editorial Comments: Post-Katrina reconstruction helped spur rental opportunities in 2007 and will continue going forward. Opened branches in Alexandria and Hammond, La. Plans to open another New Orleans location in 2008. Moved generator rental business from the Cat Rental Store to the Power Systems division. A 13-percent rental volume increase.
53 TRICO LIFT (44)
Millville, N.J.
Ken Pustizzi
www.tricolift.com
$33.0 $36.0 6
Editorial Comments: Reporting for the first time as Trico Lift, as Trico's lift division, which constitutes the majority of its rental activity, formed a separate full -service aerial rental company under the leadership of Ken, the younger of the two Pustizzi brothers. Trico Equipment will primarily operate as an earthmoving equipment dealership. Added a fleet maintenance center in New Jersey for advanced equipment life extension and refurbishing. Looking to add branches and expand market territory and penetration. Went 12 consecutive months without lost time or recordable incidents.
54 EMECO NORTH AMERICA (62)
Houston
Clark Moseley
www.emecoequipment.com
$32.8* $79.5 6
Editorial Comments: Canadian business River Valley continued growth in 2007, driven by penetration of the Alberta oil sands and civil construction sectors. Grew size of fleet in Canada as well as U.S., where acquisition of Kentucky dealership gave it critical mass to grow in sales and rental in Appalachian region as well as Houston and Atlanta areas. Added to U.S. sales staff. Potential for growth softened by weak economy, particularly in earthmoving sector, which is Emeco's specialty.
55 CLAIREMONT EQUIPMENT (45)
San Diego
Jerry Zagami
www.clairemontequipment.com
$32.7 n/a 6
Editorial Comments: With heavy equipment sales and rental declining by about 10 percent in San Diego market, a decline was inevitable for this veteran Komatsu dealer with a long-running rental program. However, Jerry Zagami and his brother Ron, who handles the machinery side, have been there before and know how to manage.
56 PUCKETT RENTS (54)
Richland, Miss.
Hastings Puckett
www.puckettrents.com
$31.2* n/a 4
Editorial Comments: Continuing to invest in resources necessary to grow the rental business and improve customer experience. Expecting a flat market in Mississippi in '08 and will try to grow by increasing rental market share. Cat Rental store for Central and south Mississippi. Offers pumps and generators, telehandlers, scissors and booms and ample selection of supplies.
57 B&G EQUIPMENT & SUPPLY (66)
Birmingham, Ala.
Marty Hardin
www.bgequipmentsupply.com
$28.3 $35.8 4
Editorial Comments: Opened fourth location in Nashville recently. Started 10 years ago with 100 pieces if equipment; now has 3,600 units. Offers professional operators for any application. Brands include Multiquip, DeWalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, Makita, Marshalltown, DBI Sala; dealers for Thompson Pump, JLG and Honda. 16-percent rental volume increase is no small potatoes in these times.
58 ADMAR SUPPLY CO. (69)
Rochester, N.Y.
Joel DiMarco
www.admarsupply.com
$28.0 $49.7 5
Editorial Comments: Nearly 20-percent increase for upstate New York rental company. Aerials and forklifts are about 60 percent of its rental business, and GPS machine control is a growing part of the business. Celebrated 35 years in business in 2007 with strong sales of new and used equipment, with used online sales becoming a major portion of business, along with international sales. One of the largest dealers of Kubota mini-excavators and loaders in the northern U.S.
59 NORTH CENTRAL RENTAL & LEASING (72)
Fargo, N.D.
Dan Butler
www.butler-machinery.com
$27.8 n/a 9
Editorial Comments: A 24-percent rental volume increase for North Dakota Caterpillar dealer and Cat Rental player. Plans to open branch in Dickinson, N.D., during 2008.
60 PATTEN INDUSTRIES (57)
Elmhurst, Ill.
Crain Patten
www.pattenindustries.com
$27.0 $46.0 7
Editorial Comments: Cat dealer in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana celebrating its 75th anniversary, all under Patten family management. Strong power generation business catering to Chicago's large industrial market. In the “city of big shoulders,” Patten is one of the biggest.
61 STOWERS MACHINERY (59)
Knoxville, Tenn.
Wes Stowers
www.stowerscat.com
$26.5 $205.0* 6
Editorial Comments: Hanging on through a slowdown period, well enough for a small increase in 2008. CEO Stowers hoping for the market to pick up later in '08. Recently opened branch in Sevierville, where quite a few Stowers customers already are working. Continuing to find ways to expand and grow the business in one of the smaller Caterpillar territories in the U.S.
62 SOUTHEASTERN EQUIPMENT CO. (60)
Cambridge, Ohio
William Baker
www.southeasternequip.com
$26.4 $127.2 19
Editorial Comments: Two acquired Michigan locations in Novi and Holt helped Southeastern grow revenue. Handles Case, New Holland, Terex, Gradall, Etnyre, Bomag, Sullair, among others. A full-service dealer and one of the major rental players in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan.
63 THOMPSON PUMP & MFG. (50)
Port Orange, Fla.
Bill Thompson
www.thompsonpump.com
$25.8 $55.0* 22
Editorial Comments: Has made considerable progress in developing environmentally friendly pumps. Pumpology school is highly respected training facility in pump applications. Not a great year in 2007, but after 37 years of Thompson family ownership, has been through a few cycles and should know how to come back strong from 22-percent rental volume drop.
64 RENTAL HOLDINGS (64)
Chicago
Kevin Rodgers
www.industrialhoist.com;
www.bhairtools.com;
www.deltawirerope.com;
www.247studioequipment.com
$25.6 $69.2 11
Editorial Comments: A 30-percent year-over- year increase for Delta Industrial Services on the Gulf Coast and 24/7 Studio Equipment, which got through the writers' strike and has been rocking hard in the first quarter of 2008, with the company investing heavily in more aerial equipment in early '08. 24/7 doing on-location work in Illinois and Louisiana, where a new Baton Rouge studio brings potential. The rigging business (Delta Wire) is strong with surging oil prices. Rodgers, as usual, is working on some new acquisitions. Expects a solid 15-percent boost in '08.
65 COWIN EQUIPMENT CO. (56)
Birmingham, Ala.
James Cowin
www.cowin.com
$25.5 $100.0+ 8
Editorial Comments: Successful year considering Alabama has been hard hit. Housing construction virtually non-existent in region, commercial is slowing and highway construction, other staple for Cowin, is very poor, affected by politics and increased commodity prices. Downward pressure on rates in area. Carefully reviewing costs, trying to be cautious and flexible regarding fleet and utilization.
66 DIAMOND RENTAL (74)
Salt Lake City
Mark Clawson
www.diamondrental.com
$25.0 $27.5 19
Editorial Comments: Recapitalized the company during 2007, investing in assets not meeting demand in the marketplace. Utilization dropped as consumers and contractors slowed down spending and larger players transferred in fleet. Trying to walk that fine line: be cautious with spending but look for acquisition opportunities to grow the business. But the long-term demographics look good. Concerned about dramatic rate-cutting by big players in the marketplace. Posted a 14-percent rental volume increase.
67 PETERSON RENTS (55)
San Leandro, Calif.
Dan Mitchie
www.petersontractor.com
$24.9* $56.0* 10
Editorial Comments: Covers vast northern California from Santa Clara County north, including southern and central Oregon, a large region hit hard by homebuilding slump. One of five California companies honored by California Integrated Waste Management Board for exemplary waste reduction and resource efficiency. Company revised operating procedures related to vehicle fleet maintenance, office recycling, facilities upkeep and purchasing options, and launched parts remanufacturing option to retool and reuse parts, reducing discarded scrap material. Played major role in massive demolition and replacement of segment of Bay Bridge.
68 UNITED SCAFFOLDING (68)
Baton Rouge, La.
Mike Appling Jr.
www.unitedscaffold.com
$24.6* $105.0* 12
Editorial Comments: A major scaffolding provider with more than $150 million in inventory. Provides sales and rentals, scaffold erection and dismantling, engineering and CAD design, maintenance, turnarounds and safety training. Developed its own jobsite-tracking tool to monitor and improve efficiency. Now owned by Brock Group, a large specialty maintenance contractor.
69 WORLDWIDE RENTAL SERVICES (62)
Aurora, Colo.
Jim Maetzold
www.worldwidemachinery.com
$24.4* $31.0* 5
Editorial Comments: Rental is one division of Worldwide, which purchases large quantities of equipment from completed jobs and then refurbishes them for re-sale. Also operates rentals in South America from Lima, Peru, base. With earthmoving its primary rental staple, slowdown in housing and heavy highway work presents challenges.
70 SPIDER, DIV. OF SAFEWORKS (75)
Tukwila, Wash.
John Sotiroff
www.spiderstaging.com
$24.0 $49.0 24
Editorial Comments: Supplied suspended access equipment and rigging services for the installation of the unique façade on New York's new Museum of Contemporary Art, renting eight swing stages and a variety of outrigger beams. Spider continues to set the bar high when it comes to basket and platform rentals and specially engineered products. Had a good 2007.
71 ACME LIFT CO. (-)
Mesa, Ariz.
Woody Weld
www.acmeliftcompany.com
$23.5 n/a 1
Editorial Comments: The only RER 100 company without an actual yard, Acme Lift re-rents JLG, Skytrak, Lull, and Gradall large telehandlers, 65- to 80-foot scissorlifts, 80- to 150-foot JLG aerial lifts, and Bronto lifts up to 236 feet, renting to retail rental outlets, not to end users. Has purchased more than $30 million in new JLG equipment for 2008 and transports its fleet everywhere in U.S., and beginning to rent internationally as well. The only aerial lift company in the U.S. managed 100 percent via telematics, using SmartEquip for parts and logistics.
72 RED MOUNTAIN MACHINERY (51)
Chandler, Ariz.
Owen Cowing
www.redmountain.com
$22.6 $35.4 3
Editorial Comments: Housing plummeted in all three of Red Mountain's markets — Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Diego/Inland Empire. Making inventory adjustments and cuts in overhead to better match market. Although penetrated mining construction and environmental markets, overall volume still down 26 percent. In 2007, sold spacious Escondido facility and moved into smaller digs in Riverside, and reduced inventory and staff. Still a strong business, but making adjustments to match rental demand.
73 LIFTING GEAR HIRE CORP. (83)
Bridgeview, Ill.
Pat Fiscelli
www.lgh-usa.com
$22.3 $27.5 9
Editorial Comments: Forty-three-percent rental volume boost for hoisting, rigging, handling, pulling, jacking, safety equipment, cable-handling and load measurement specialist, which opened its 10th branch in Kansas City on May 1. Has solid niche not affected by housing slowdown, with most customers having jobs on the books for the year to come. Utilization high in 2007 for core rental product; added fleet to support expected growth. Implementing new dispatching system and looking for technologies for equipment check-in and check-out such as RFID and bar coding.
74 PUERTO RICO WIRE (67)
San Juan, P.R.
Jose Cestero
www.puertoricowire.com
$22.1* n/a 4
Editorial Comments: A major rental player in Puerto Rico, with wide-ranging rental inventory. Bomag, Bobcat, Bil-Jax, Ditch Witch, Skytrak, Kobelco, Godwin Pumps, Atlas Copco are among the manufacturers it represents. Has forming systems and supply divisions as well.
75 WACO SCAFFOLDING & EQUIPMENT (58)
Cleveland
Marty Coughlin
www.wacoscaf.com
$22.0 $68.7 15
Editorial Comments: Sold high-reach division in 2007, which accounts for 22-percent rental revenue drop. In Feb. '08 sold its formwork and contractor supplies divisions, enabling Waco to focus on scaffolding business, which continues to hold its own.
76 HUGG & HALL EQUIPMENT (76)
Little Rock, Ark.
John Hugg/Robert Hall/Jim Hugg
www.hugghall.com
$21.5 $90.0 8
Editorial Comments: Recently opened company's eighth location, in El Dorado, Ark. It may not be a city of gold, but it's one with a lot of industry and Arkansas's leading rental player is well equipped with Volvo, Bobcat, Toyota, Crown, Doosan, Hitachi, Skytrak, JLG, Genie and more. Increase from 2006 is single-digit, but that's no small achievement in times such as these.
77 REBEL RENTS (71)
Temecula, Calif.
Rick Clauss
www.rebelrents.com
$21.4* n/a 9
Editorial Comments: Recognized by Multiquip as one of its top dealers for 2007, the fifth year in a row it was honored by the Carson, Calif.-based manufacturer. Company's How Am I Driving? program has contributed to ongoing safety improvement. Events such as customer appreciation days with vendor participation has helped foster strong relationships with contractors. Major renovation of El Cajon branch a hit with employees and customers.
78 TEMP-AIR (73)
Burnsville, Minn.
Jim Korn
www.temp-air.com
$21.0 $28.0 11
Editorial Comments: Any hockey fans out there? If so, the name Jim Korn might ring a bell. He played in the NHL for 11 years before embarking on a business career. While not likely to check workers into the boards, Korn is an experienced and educated executive, and Temp-Air, acquired by an investment group last August, increased total volume compared with 2006. Since 1965, Temp-Air has specialized in providing custom temporary, portable heating, cooling, dehumidifying, and air filtration rental services to construction, industrial, facilities management, and special events sites.
79 MIDWEST AERIALS & EQUIPMENT (77)
St. Louis
Daniel Tumminello
www.midwestaerials.com
$20.0 $29.5 3
Editorial Comments: Added 450 aerial units. Bought four acres next door, added 8,000 square feet of office and 22,000 of warehouse. Starting parts and service division to service customer-owned units, including quarterly and annual inspections. Will add online parts sales. Expecting strong business in 2008 and 2009.
80 ANDERSON EQUIPMENT CO. (64)
Bridgeville, Pa.
Judy Anderson
www.andersonequip.com
$20.0 n/a 14
Editorial Comments: Veteran Komatsu and Terex dealer added Dynapac products earlier this year to mix that includes Gehl skid-steer and crawler loaders, Tramac breakers, Doosan air compressors and more. A 20-percent rental volume drop.
81 COMPRESORES & EQUIPOS (61)
San Juan, P.R.
Francisco de Armas
www.compresores.com
$19.4 $24.2 6
Editorial Comments: A 30-percent drop in rental volume an indicator of a tough year in slumping Puerto Rico market, although 20-percent decline in total revenue not as severe. According to some economists, P.R. has been in recession for two years. The good news is it could hit its lowest point before everybody else, if it hasn't already. Economic stimulus package might help.
82 ROLLS SCAFFOLD & HIGH REACH (82)
Ventura, Calif.
Michael Rolls
www.rollsscaffold.com
$18.7 $19.5 3
Editorial Comments: A 16-percent rental volume increase for Ventura-based scaffolding and aerial specialist with branches in Riverside and Long Beach. Looking for opportunities to increase market share, considering acquisition opportunities. Building 30,000-square-foot headquarters, expects to move in this fall. A dealer for Genie, JLG, MEC and Snorkel, celebrating 50 years in business.
83 COLORADO MACHINERY (79)
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Keith Olson
www.coloradomachinery.com
$18.2 $143.0 11
Editorial Comments: A 7-percent rental volume increase isn't last year's 38 percent, but Colorado will take it. Made greater efforts to get on jobsites, and energy and agriculture business sectors have been fine. Olson expects those sectors to rise 10 percent this year, but housing to be down 15 to 25 percent and commercial down 5 percent, with utilization likely to drop 10 points. Still, management is aggressive, buying an outlet, remodeling another and opening a third, preparing for upswing in '09. Added GPS will help control costs.
83 AMERICAN EQUIPMENT RENTALS (87)
Providence, R.I.
Chris Tribelli
www.aerentals.com
$18.2 n/a 3
Editorial Comments: A 27-percent jump for this New England aerial specialist. Does commercial and residential building all over New England and has worked on big jobs such as Boston's massive Central Artery project.
85 HALTON RENTAL (78)
Portland, Ore.
Glenn Moragne
www.haltonrental.com
$18.0 $23.3 6
Editorial Comments: Feeling the housing lag in Oregon, but commercial business robust enough to post a slight increase. Oregon Caterpillar dealer with shoring and trench protection products, power generation and the general range of Cat and allied items.
86 BERRY COMPANIES (84)
Wichita, Kan.
Walter Berry
www.berrycompaniesinc.com
$17.2 $202.3 23
Editorial Comments: Family-owned Berry Companies enjoyed a 13-percent rental volume boost in '07. Fifty-year-old parent company now has 7 subsidiaries including SB Manufacturing, which assembles a self-propelled construction broom. White Star machinery division has a 95-year history serving Kansas and Oklahoma. Bobcat, Komatsu and Yale are company's leading brands. Strong player in Kansas, Colorado and Houston area.
87 SKYWORKS (-)
Buffalo, N.Y.
Jerry Reinhart
www.skyworksllc.com
$16.9 $21.0* 6
Editorial Comments: Reinhart's father, also Jerry, was the first major aerial player to sell to United. This Jerry is an aggressive high-reach entrepreneur as well, doubled in size by opening in Columbus, Toledo and Pittsburgh last year, and is preparing a seventh this month (Manassas, Va.), this one in partnership with his dad and brother. Doing a lot of power plant work and keeping a large fleet of aerials rolling. JLG the dominant brand in the Skyworks fleet.
88 CAPITAL RENTALS (80)
Dulles, Va.
Brian Vaughan
www.capitalrentals.com
$16.8 $26.6 8
Editorial Comments: Serves Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Recently opened second store in Manassas, Va. Offers good safety tips on website blog.
89 ROLAND MACHINERY CO. (85)
Springfield, Ill.
Ray Roland
www.rolandmachinery.com
$16.4 $204.0 15
Editorial Comments: A 10-percent rental volume increase for upper Midwest dealer that does 80 percent of its sales and rental with Komatsu and Wirtgen. Celebrating 50 years since founding of the company. Has 15 locations in five states: Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, with new branch opened last year in DePere, Wis.
90 TOPP PORTABLE AIR (-)
Aston, Pa.
Daniel Topp
www.etopp.com
$13.1 $22.5 15
Editorial Comments: Major provider of temporary heating, portable cooling and dehumidification equipment for rental and sale. In 2007, aggressively increased fleet size, inventory and personnel levels and opened branches in Nashville, Jacksonville and Dallas.
90 ALL STAR RENTS (81)
Fairfield, Calif.
Ken de Vries
www.allstarrents.com
$13.1 $13.8 11
Editorial Comments: A 24-percent decrease for major east-of-Bay-Area rental chain suffering through severe dropoff in housing construction. Solano and Sacramento, former big areas for All Star, particularly hard-hit. Even homeowners, which usually saves All Star in a recession is off because homes have lost so much value, owners don't want to spend money on them. Even tax incentives haven't altered need to cut capex, as de Vries doesn't expect improvement in '08. Upgraded computer software for better customer service and efficiencies. Competitive rate environment in region.
92 MIDLANTIC MACHINERY (85)
Hatfield, Pa.
Jim McKeever
www.midatlanticmachinery.com
$13.0 $120.0* 7
Editorial Comments: Rental revenue dropped almost 13 percent, although total stayed constant. Housing is way down all through its mid-Atlantic market area, forcing veteran Komatsu dealer to look at cost cutting.
93 KROPP EQUIPMENT (98)
Schererville, Ind.
Al Kropp
www.kropp.us
$12.6 $15.7 4
Editorial Comments: A 23-percent rental volume boost for strong aerial player with branches in Streamwood and South Beloit, Ill., and Waukesha, Wis. Big in the industrial market with aerials, forklifts, telehandlers and industrial cranes. Developing a seasoned team of professional sales people. Trying to be conservative with equipment and fuel expenditures. Expects a solid '08, but 5-percent industrial and commercial construction slowdown in '09. Developing computerized dispatching to cut costs and enhance efficiency.
93 THEROS EQUIPMENT (88)
Gainesville, Va.
Joel Theros
www.therosequipment.com
$12.6 $31.0 4
Editorial Comments: Housing decline in northern Virginia suburbs of D.C. set company back in a market where too many companies have idle fleet. Still, utilization is good and a lot of commercial work going on in 2008, but rates are depressed. Working hard on training counter personnel on equipment knowledge and central dispatching system. Looking ahead for long-term solutions to software needs.
95 RENTAL ONE (-)
Fort Worth, Texas
Don O'Neal
www.rentalonestore.com
$12.5* n/a 4
Editorial Comments: O'Neal's A-1 was one of largest companies to sell to a consolidator in late 1990s. Back in business with a similar industrial/construction-oriented general rental inventory from electric tools to large earthmoving and aerial, O'Neal, along with son and partner Mike, is already a major player in D/FW area. Opening fifth store in Denton, Texas, this month.
96 NUECES POWER EQUIPMENT (89)
Corpus Christi, Texas
Clifton Bradshaw
www.nuecespower.com
$12.4* $49.5* 7
Editorial Comments: Keeping busy with wide- ranging inventory in south Texas market.
97 NATIONAL LIFT TRUCK (92)
Franklin Park, Ill.
Jim Dietz
www.nlt.com
$12.3 $28.0 2
Editorial Comments: Added a small branch on south side of Chicago, helping to improve coverage into Indiana. Put more effort into long-term rentals in industrial forklift market, which can take up the slack for slowing construction and rentals. Cost of fuel hurting profitability in trucking department, while slow housing construction hurting rough-terrain forklift utilization. Likely to reduce rental fleet this year to boost utilization. Working to improve billing, speed service and parts billing. Is expanding equipment wholesaling, and growing fleet of 40,000+-pound forklifts. Looking to add GPS for larger fleet and delivery trucks.
98 ILLINI HI-REACH (102)
Lemont, Ill.
Larry Workman
www.hi-reach.com
$11.9 $15.0* 2
Editorial Comments: A larger fleet with bigger booms along with work on big projects and new customers fueled Illini's 23-percent rental volume jump. A tough winter, strong rate pressure and fewer big jobs likely to stunt growth in '08, but still expecting a 10-percent jump. Working on internal efficiencies, such as new software, a new sales commission plan with more incentives, online access for customers, cleansing the fleet of under-performing units and revamping of dispatching.
98 PDQ RENTALS (91)
Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Dennis Turner
www.pdqrentals.com
$11.9 $15.8 2
Editorial Comments: A flat year for PDQ, but based on what most Southern California companies are reporting, flat is good. 70 percent of volume is construction-trade related, yet company is still strong with truck and party rentals. A Komatsu Utility distributor and JLG telehandler dealer.
100 MAX EQUIPMENT RENTAL (-)
San Marcos, Calif.
Mason Bailey/Bob McDaris
www.maxequipment.com
$11.4 n/a 7
Editorial Comments: Started in 2000 by college friends. McDaris had management roles with HERC and Neff, while Bailey owned part of building company. Has branches in Oceanside, Parris, San Diego, and three in Mexico. Ranges from small rammers through excavators and 125-foot aerial equipment.
101 CALIFORNIA HIGH REACH (93)
Modesto, Calif.
Roy Airington
$11.3* $12.6* 1
Editorial Comments: One of the leading players in northern California aerial equipment rental market.
102 PIONEER EQUIPMENT RENTAL (103)
Ponca City, Okla.
Larry Redwine, John Redwine
www.pioneerrental.net
$10.8 $15.5 9
Editorial Comments: A 20-percent jump in rental and total volume in '07 and starting '08 with a 35-percent boost through first two months. Added a ninth location in December in Durant, Okla. A 30-percent same-store rental leap for fast-growing Oklahoma company.
103 METROLIFT (98)
Sugar Grove, Ill.
Rick Dahl
www.metrolift.com
$10.7 $16.9 1
Editorial Comments: A 10-percent rental volume increase and 51-percent jump in total volume for Chicago-area aerial specialist who has come a long way from being a used equipment broker. Expects moderate growth in '08, although some new projects may be halted because of credit issues. Uptick in municipal, schools and government work. Working on internal efficiencies, recently installed telematics system. Always trying to speed up response time.
104 ROSS EQUIPMENT (-)
Phoenix, Ariz.
Ross Richards
www.rossrents.com
$10.5 $18.1 2
Editorial Comments: Aerial and telehandler specialist, now dealer for Tusk forklifts and Skytrak. Also handles Carelift, Genie, Gradall, Ingersoll Rand, JLG, Skyjack and Snorkel machines. Keeping busy with wide-ranging inventory in south Texas market.
105 STAFFORD EQUIPMENT (94)
Tifton, Ga.
John Wall
www.staffordequipment.com
$10.3* $155.0* 10
Editorial Comments: Has 10 branches in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, areas hit hard by housing slump, making it a tough go for mostly earthmoving inventory.
106 A TOOL SHED (97)
Campbell, Calif.
Larry Pedersen
www.atoolshed.com
$10.0 $10.0 7
Editorial Comments: Continues to do $10 million a year in region south of Bay Area, hit hard by housing slowdown. Pedersen's sons' roles in business continues to grow.
106 RENTALMAX (96)
Wheaton, Ill.
Terry Hagy
www.rentalmax.com
$10.0 $10.8 10
Editorial Comments: Dubbed as Chicagoland's complete tool and equipment rental centers, RentalMax' inventory includes more than 1,000 tools and pieces of equipment, including moving trucks, dump trucks and cargo vans. Maintains solid online marketing program as well as frequent renter program that earns 5-time renters a Chicago sports team hat. Can they lift the Cubs' curse?
108 COASTLINE EQUIPMENT (94)
Long Beach, Calif.
Del Hosler
www.coastlineequipment.com
$9.9 $100.0* 9
Editorial Comments: John Deere, Tadano and Manitex dealer added Santa Ana location to its bare-crane rental operations. Has Liebherr, Hitachi, Ingersoll Rand and more, with $2 million plus in parts.
108 OXFORD BUILDERS SUPPLIES (104)
London, Ontario, Canada
www.oxfordbuilders.ca
Mike Demelo
$9.9 $14.9 2
Editorial Comments: With branches in London, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta, company has wide range of construction equipment and supplies. Ontario economy has been strong, although winds from south of the border are crossing over. In addition to equipment, supply's concrete-forming materials, lumber and scaffolding. Jumped 14 percent in rental volume, 47 percent in total volume.
110 ENTECH SALES & SERVICE (90)
Dallas
Pat Rucker
www.entechsales.com
$9.0 $57.0 4
Editorial Comments: Rental volume dropped, but total sales and profits rose. Although year started slow, customer base is renting more as they decrease capital investments. Expects an increase in long-term contracts.

*Denotes RER estimate based on regional economic conditions, industry sources and interviews by members of the RER staff. Other revenue figures are based on actual reported revenue for North American operations as of April 25, 2008. Location data are as of April 25, 2008, to the best of the knowledge of the RER staff. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy and thoroughness, omissions sometimes occur. All figures are in U.S. dollars. In the case of some Canadian companies that reported figures in Canadian dollars, the figure listed is based on the average conversion rate for the year 2007 according to the Bank of Canada.

Couldn't Call It Unexpected…

Last year the consensus of RER 100 executives was that 2007 would bring single-digit growth. Although at least 30 had double-digit increases, overall they were right.

Year Rental Revenue (in billions) % Change
2007 $13.85 +4.3
2006 $13.28 +14.5
2005 $11.6 +15.1
2004 $10.08 +12.2
2003 $8.98 +1
2002 $8.86 -6
2001 $9.41 +7
2000 $8.79 +25
1999 $7.01 +59
1998 $4.41 -1
1997 $4.45

Note: With the addition of the extra 10 companies comprising the 110 version of the list, the total volume is $13.95 billion.

Smaller Steps

Although overall the rate of increase was strong among the rental industry's biggest players, the top 10 compositely increased 2.8 percent, the smallest year-over-year jump since 2003.

Year Rental Revenue (in billions) % Change
2007 $9.21 +2.8
2006 $8.96 +13.4
2005 $7.90 +12.9
2004 $7.0 +8.9
2003 $6.43 -0.5
2002 $6.46 -6
2001 $6.89 +6
2000 $6.49 +32
1999 $4.94 +56
1998 $3.16 +36
1997 $2.32 +55
1996 $1.50 +25
1995 $1.20 +20
1994 $998.4 million +25


RER
100 By the Numbers

14
Number of companies topping $200 million in rental revenue. (same as last year)

22
Number of companies topping $100 million in rental revenue. (up from 21 last year)

36
Number of companies topping $50 million in rental revenue. (up from 30 last year)

66
Number of companies topping $25 million in rental revenue. (65 last year)

4,692
Total number of locations of the RER 100. (4,630 last year)

$2.95 million
Average rental volume per RER 100 location. ($2.87 million last year)

$2.77 million
Average rental volume per location for top 10 of the RER 100.

$4.07 million
Average rental volume per location of top 10 companies not including Home Depot.

$3.80 million
Average rental volume per location for RER 100 companies not including Home Depot.

4,747
Total number of locations of RER 110 companies.

$2.92 million
Average rental volume per location for 110 companies.

$11.12 billion
Total volume of the top 20 of the RER 100.

Alphabetical List With Rank
Company Name Ranking
Acme Lift Co. 71
Admar Supply Co. 58
Aggreko North America 13
Ahern Rentals 8
All Erection & Crane Rental Corp. 14
All Star Rents 90
AMECO 15
American Equipment Rentals 83
Amquip Crane Corp. 18
Anderson Equipment Co. 80
Art's Rental Equipment 47
A Tool Shed 106
B&G Equipment & Supply 57
Battlefield Equipment Rentals 23
Berry Companies 86
Blanchard Rental Services 31
Briggs Equipment 20
California High Reach 101
Capital Rentals 88
Cashman Equipment 29
Clairemont Equipment 55
Coast Crane Co. 43
Coastline Equipment 108
Colorado Machinery 83
Compresores & Equipos 81
Coneco Equipment 48
Cowin Equipment Co. 65
Dayton Superior Corp. 30
Diamond Rental 66
Ecco Equipment Corp. 45
Emeco North America 54
Empire Machinery 24
Entech Sales & Service 110
Essex Crane Rental 32
Fabick Rents 28
Finning 10
Halton Rental 85
H&E Equipment Services 9
Hawthorne Rent-It Service 42
Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. 3
Holt Cat 22 Holt of California 51
Home Depot Rentals 5
Hugg & Hall Equipment 76
Illini Hi-Reach 98
Imperial Crane Services 40
Kelly Tractor 41
Kropp Equipment 93
Lifting Gear Hire Corp. 73
Location D'Outils Simplex 33
Louisiana Rents 52
MacAllister Machinery 44
Max Equipment Rental 100
Maxim Crane Rental Corp. 7
Metrolift 103
Midlantic Machinery 92
Midwest Aerials & Equipment 79
Modern Equipment 46
Mustang Rental Services 26
National Lift Truck 97
Neff Rental 11
NES Rentals 6
North Central Rental & Leasing 59
Nueces Power Equipment 96
Ohio Cat 38
Oxford Builders Supplies 108
Patent Construction Systems, Division of Harsco Corp. 16
Patten Industries 60
PDQ Rentals 98
Peterson Rents 67
Pioneer Equipment Rental 102
Pon North America 21
Gregory Poole Equipment 50
Puckett Rents 56
Puerto Rico Wire 74
Rebel Rents 77
Red-D-Arc Welderentals 27
Red Mountain Machinery 72
Rentalmax 106
Rental Holdings 64
Rental One 95
Ring Power 19
Roland Machinery Co. 89
Rolls Scaffold & High Reach 82
Ross Equipment 104
RSC Equipment Rental 2
Scott Construction Equipment 37
Sims Crane & Equipment Co. 35
Skyworks 87
Southeastern Equipment Co. 62
Spider, Div. of Safeworks 70
Stafford Equipment 105
Star Rentals 36
Stephenson's Rental Services 34
Stowers Machinery 61
Sunbelt Rentals 4
Sunstate Equipment Co. 12
Temp-Air 78
Theros Equipment 93
Thompson Pump & Mfg. 63
Topp Portable Air 90
Trico Lift 53
United Rentals 1
United Scaffolding 68
Volvo Rents 17
Waco Scaffolding & Equipment 75
Wagner Rents 25
Wajax Ltd. 39
Worldwide Rental Services 69
Yancey Bros. 49