RER's Brandey Smith talks to ADI Inc. CEO Angus Davis about the economy’s impact on the used equipment market, what rental company customers are looking for when buying used and refurbished machines, and the strengths of the Houston-based company’s AmeriQuip lifts business.
RER: I’ve read several reports recently that used equipment sales are up due to the current economy. What are the benefits to rental companies for buying used and refurbished equipment rather than new?
Davis: Yes, used equipment sales are on the rise, but it is mostly on good, working, used equipment. Rental companies are looking at the investments that they can depreciate on their books but don’t actually truly depreciate. We are getting more requests for refurbished and quality, clean, used equipment. The main factors in the customers’ decision once value has been established are how will the machine represent them in the field both by appearance and reliability.
Explain the advantages your websites, Heavy Equipment Guide and Fleet Trade, offer customers looking for refurbished or used equipment.
www.HeavyEquipmentGuide.com and www.Fleettrade.com offer customers two vantage points:
1) They can view all the equipment we have for sale, used as-is, rental ready, third party OSHA inspected and fully refurbished.
2) They are able to list their own equipment for sale in auction or classified format at no cost to them. (Giving them more than 12,000 registered buyers to market to at no cost.)
What differentiates Fleet Trade.com from other used equipment auction sites?
The differences between Fleettrade and other auction sites are fairly significant. With Fleettrade there are no commissions or fees to list equipment. Fleettrade allows the consignor to sell equipment locally or rent the machine while it’s being marketed. With Fleettrade there is no cost of transportation or waiting 30 to 90 days to be paid for sold items. Starting bid prices are set by the consignor so the equipment won’t sell for nothing to a low-ball bidder but at the same time if the price is too high it won’t sell at all.
Fleettrade is basically a free form of advertising. It is also a tool we use daily to look for equipment that we are getting calls for. I would say that with 95 percent of what we sell because of Fleettrade there is never a bid placed. The people call and we tell them they can either bid at the price listed or we can sell it to them for a slightly higher price straight out.
Give me an update on your rebuilding and remanufacturing businesses. Do you still operate six facilities between Texas, Philadelphia and Arizona?
In Texas and Pennsylvania we mainly concentrate on rental ready and third-party OSHA inspected equipment — clean equipment that a company can buy and put to work. In Kentucky, we are concentrating on the manufacturing of Ameriquip Trax and towable units, and the refurbishment of cranes and aerials.
Tell me about the features and benefits of your AmeriQuip lifts. What advantages do they offer rental customers?
Ameriquip lifts have one main feature — they work. Consistently and over time they are work horses. There is a local rental company that just last year consigned its 1992 unit to the auction, retiring it from rental after 16 years. We know of no other towables that have such a track record. The key is that while other brands have some options that we don’t, we have reliability that is second to none. These tough times are cause for business owners to evaluate the cost of doing business. With Ameriquip lifts, there are no computer boards or high-priced controllers, just muscle, steel and sex appeal.
Explain the importance of customer relationships to your AmeriQuip business?
We have taken our time in introducing the Ameriquip product, first putting machines in our own rental fleet to evaluate performance and reliability, and we kept in touch with the people that were in charge of service with the prior Ameriquip’s when developing the product. We are proud to say after renting the machine with good utilization over a year, we had no problems and good customer loyalty. We have a very satisfied customer base of those who have purchased the new Ameriquip product and we are more proud of that fact than anyone could be of the shear number of machines sold. We don’t want to be the biggest, ok who am I kidding, sure we want to be the biggest — but we want to grow at a good pace, never shying away from quality.