Let’s face it. In stronger markets, buying is possibility the better choice. However, don’t underestimate renting as a business-saving option. Renting allows companies to avoid increasing capital expenditures, save money on preventative maintenance and repairs services as well as ensures that equipment doesn’t become technologically obsolete.
Once the decision to rent has been made, what next? There are multiple companies that offer rental equipment. But what kinds of things should you look for in a rental company?
According to national and regional rental expert, Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation (HERC), there are a number of things to consider, all of which can impact the renter’s bottom line. As a national rental agency, Hertz formulated their industry’s best professional practices. In fact, that’s what has kept them in business for 50 years. Steve Varty, Hertz’s Williston branch manager, and Spenser Bedore, Hertz’s Industrial Sales Representative, offer the top 5 questions to ask when selecting a rental company.
- What’s the history and reputation of the rental company?
How long has the company been in business? Do they have a good reputation? These are the questions to ask since they reveal the rental company’s track record. If a company’s been around for a decade or longer, it’s because they understand and work well with their customers. According to Steve, “There’s a reason Hertz is coming up on its 50th anniversary of business this year. It’s because we’ve worked hard to make sure our client’s needs are met.”
Is the company a regional or national chain? Let’s be clear. There’s nothing wrong with regional rental companies. In fact, some are quite good. The main difference is national chains generally have more resources at their disposal. For example, since Hertz is a national chain, it benefits from having 350 locations nationwide. With 25 million dollars’ worth of equipment on their lot, the Williston branch is Hertz’s 5th largest branch. The probability that a rental company of this caliber will have the right equipment at the right time is highly probable. “Situations can change quickly in the oilfield, so having a rental company that can respond quickly saves money in the end,” notes Steve.
- Customer Service: How well do they understand and respond to customer needs?
Does the company understand their market? Can they anticipate customer need? For example, winter is coming, which for companies working outdoors, means heat. Any rental company worth their salt has their lots filled with industrial heaters. For example, Hertz makes sure to stock over 3 million dollars’ worth of heaters. According to Spenser, “It’s tough here come winter, so anything that helps protect laborers working in extreme cold is vital. The only issue is to make sure you rent them on time. Foresight really pays off. Though again, a good rental company will bend over backwards to get you one if it slips your mind.”
- How to Assess the Quality, Diversity and Availability of Equipment?
How new are their models? What preventative maintenance measures do they use? When reviewing equipment quality, favor late models, brand recognition and consistent, appropriate maintenance. Obviously, late models are attractive since equipment can become technologically obsolete in as few as 2-5 years. Reputable brands to look for include John Deere, Bobcat, Case, Komatsu and Terex.
How diverse is their equipment stock? This is another benefit to renting from a national chain. According to Steve, “Among other things, Hertz offers multiple sizes of transportation vehicles from pickups to passenger vans to bulldozers. We even have a school bus.” A school bus? Yes, because diversity counts. What if the company doesn’t have the right equipment? Steve states, “If they don’t have it, then a good rental company can get it.”
Other common equipment that rental companies should offer are service pump and compressors, power generator services and a plethora of small tool equipment. It all adds up. Hertz has a whole division of small tool equipment, everything from small tools for refineries, impact guns and torque wrenches. “We offer tool trailers, stocked tool trailers with everything in it, hydro test pumps, etc. What you’re looking for is a one-stop shop. The last thing you want to do is rent from multiple companies. Who has the time to track all that? ” says Steve
- How does the company respond to equipment repairs and preventative maintenance?
One of the downsides of purchasing equipment is being responsible for all preventative maintenance as well as equipment repairs. It’s important to ask rental companies what they charge for maintenance services. Are they included in the rental fee, or are they additional? Are renters covered for the entire term of their rental agreement or only part of it?
According to Spenser, “We take care of all the maintenance, so if you rent it for one week or 12 months, the oil changes and all that kind of stuff are taken care of. If you rent it and it breaks down, then I can just bring you another one and swap it out. This way you have less downtime because downtime is money in this field.”
How does the company respond to in-the-field equipment repairs? Does the company have a 24/7 service hotline with mechanics on the ready? For those working in the oilfields, this is a must. Time is money, and any downtime in the field could spell disaster.
Is it a person or a computer who answers the phone? According to Steve, “We feel it’s important to be able to reach a real person when calling in a repair or urgent need. We want our clients to feel taken care of, and computers can’t always understand all the circumstances they’re facing.”
- Pricing: How much are they willing to negotiate?
Truth be told, while oil prices per barrel are still in the lower double digits, every company could use a break. Is the rental company pricing standard for the region? Try calling a few different rental companies to compare. You’ll have more luck discussing costs when you know the competitor’s rates. Try asking companies if their prices are fixed or negotiable.
Steve notes, “We care about our clients. We want them to succeed as their success translates into ours. I believe in that kind of relationship.” Steve will even put his money where his mouth is. Mention this article and receive 10 percent off the book rate of your next order with Hertz. “If working with us doesn’t convince you that we’re worthy of being your go-to rental company, please call me. I want to know where we went wrong so we can make it right,” says Steve.