In a highly competitive rental market, service makes the difference. Fast service combined with reliable equipment — like JLG's SkyTrak telehandler — explains why many Texas contractors select Equipment Depot when they need to rent equipment. Being a consistent top 10 performer in the United States for SkyTrak, Equipment Depot awes many other dealers and rental houses.
Originally named Central Texas Clarklift, Equipment Depot was founded in 1975 by Don Moes. The company expanded its offering to include telehandlers and aerial lifts in 1981, and in 1996 renamed the company Equipment Depot. Currently, Equipment Depot has 13 branch offices in Texas: Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Irving, Austin, San Antonio, Beaumont, Sherman, Angleton, Corpus Christi, Donna, Laredo, and its headquarters in Waco.
Vice president James Goldsmith might just be the whiz kid of the rental industry. In 1977, he began his career with Equipment Depot as a sales representative. So he learned early on that when a machine is down, the contractor is losing time in meeting the deadline. And, time is money. A contractor who is losing money is not a happy rental customer. Knowing how to keep his customers happy earned Goldsmith a promotion to branch manager in 1985, and another promotion in 2006 to vice president of Equipment Depot. Goldsmith was ready to share his service philosophy and industry knowledge.
JLG's products have proven themselves to be very reliable and a good return on investment, professes Goldsmith. But even the most reliable machines can break down from time to time. "What makes us different from the other dealers and rental houses is that when a machine does break down, our goal is to have a technician on-site within one hour after the call. That's the reason many contractors prefer renting from Equipment Depot," explains Goldsmith.
Because JLG products are such a good return on investment, Equipment Depot's inventory includes 750 JLG products: 400 SkyTrak telehandlers, 250 scissor lifts and 100 boom lifts. Goldsmith says, "SkyTrak is the most frequently rented product. When contractors want to rent a telehandler, they don't come in and ask for a telehandler, they specifically ask for a SkyTrak. What makes SkyTrak so popular is that it is easy to operate. When JLG bought SkyTrak several years ago, I was concerned that JLG would change SkyTrak's easy-to-use features. However, my worries were unfounded. JLG took ownership of SkyTrak telehandlers and enhanced them and made them even better. SkyTrak telehandlers add value to our business," professes Goldsmith.
Goldsmith sees the construction boom in the central part of the state as a current trend in Texas. He also sees more contractors are renting machines instead of buying them. And when contractors rent equipment, they rent it for extended periods of time, adds Goldsmith. He states the reasons are many that renting has increased in popularity.
"Contractors don't have to perform routine preventative maintenance on the machines. They don't have to haul the equipment from their headquarters to the construction sites, which can be a long distance. They don't have to buy equipment they need only on an occasional basis. We offer them versatility to choose the right machine for the job," explains Goldsmith. The combination of the construction boom and extended rentals has placed a strain on Equipment Depot's inventory. Thus, Goldsmith recently ordered 100 new JLG products — about 90 SkyTrak telehandlers and 10 boom lifts just to keep up with demand.
Although Equipment Depot's profits have been increasing for the last 10 years, Goldsmith has challenges. "Buying the best equipment at a reasonable price is a challenge. Having trained techs, good parts supplies and good warranties are also challenges," says Goldsmith. But he is quick to point out that JLG does a good job in all those areas. "JLG has been a very good key supplier to our company," he adds.
One thing Goldsmith doesn't have to worry about is a loyal customer base. Because of the high-quality service that Equipment Depot offers, the vast majority of its customers are faithful to Equipment Depot, and are not hopping between dealers and rental houses just because of price, explains Goldsmith.
Brazos Masonry is just one of Equipment Depot's many devoted customers. Brazos Masonry was founded in 1989 by Mackie Bounds and James Clay. Since that time, the need to rent reliable equipment has increased each year. "Because of tight deadlines, we need reliable equipment. That's why we always specify JLG products," says Brad Clay, executive director of business development for Brazos Masonry.
"The things I like most about JLG products are the reliability and versatility of the machines. Equipment Depot's customer service, product selection, training, and equipment maintenance agreements are the reasons we rent from them." Currently, Brazos Masonry is doing the stone work at 23 different job sites throughout Texas: Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Waco, Temple, Killeen, Austin, Kerrville, Corpus Christi, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, Longview, and San Antonio.
A current Brazos Masonry job site in San Antonio is in the city's booming northern sector, where Skanska has subcontracted them for the exterior masonry on the new Methodist Stone Oak Hospital and Medical Center. The first phase of this hospital will be about 282,000 square feet and have 130 beds. The adjoining medical center will be about 117,000 square feet. According to Steve Byrd, foreman for Brazos Masonry at this site, the masonry for the hospital and medical center will extend six stories into the air. When the project is complete in April of 2008, a SkyTrak will have delivered about 622,000 bricks and 84,000 pounds of Lueders limestone, which is from the Lueders Basin in Texas.
Without a reliable product like the SkyTrak telehandler and a dealer like Equipment Depot to provide fast service, meeting tight deadlines might not be possible.