Renting Equipment Helps Contractor Minimize Costs

Story and photos by Mike Larson, Editor | September 28, 2010

Jim Chesak, commercial sales manager for C&K Services, Inc., Newburg, WI, says that renting equipment for roofing, gutter, siding, and window projects simplifies operations and makes the company operate more efficiently.

“Our crews are trained to perform quality work at the services we provide,” he says. “Renting equipment like aerial boom lifts and all-terrain telescoping forklifts gives us the top-notch equipment we need without making the capital investment to own, maintain and transport a fleet of machines. It lets us concentrate on the work that really provides value to our customers.”

Established Company Serves Wide Area

Those customers are spread all across the southeastern quarter of Wisconsin, ranging from Marshfield in the north, to the Wisconsin-Illinois state border in the south, and from Madison in the west to the shore of LakeMichigan in the east.

Founded in 1979 by Bill Chesak Sr., C&K is still a family-owned business.

Bill Jr. is owner and president, while Jim handles commercial sales and manages projects from the smallest roof to large commercial buildings.

Its customers range from retail facilities and factories to hospitals, clinics, schools, municipal buildings, condos, apartment buildings, and other multifamily housing. And its work includes new construction, repair and renovation.

The company's 52 employees include office staff and six shingle-roofing crews, two flat-roofing crews, three siding crews, one window crew, and two gutter crews.

The company works through the winter, except on occasional days when heavy snow or extreme cold would make work unproductive. One of its services is removing heavy snow from roofs.

Renting Large Equipment Is Productive, Safe, Financially Sound

C&K owns the smaller hand and power tools its crews need to do their work, but the company rents the aerial boom lifts, straight-mast forklifts, all-terrain telescoping forklifts, and occasional scissor lifts it uses for handling supplies and getting workers to high locations.

Says Jim Chesak, “By renting larger equipment when we need it, we get the most modern and well-maintained products equipped with the latest safety features that comply with current OSHA standards. When an aerial boom lift or telehandler arrives on site, we can fire up the engine and put it right to work being productive.”

“Renting equipment gives us the equipment we need when and where we need it, without having to worry about capitalization, interest, amortization, depreciation, maintenance, and repair costs,” he says.

“We also don't have the added cost of maintaining a fleet of trucks and drivers to transport the equipmentbetween jobs and the complication of figuring out the logistics of what equipment is available for each location,”he adds.

“I just call the rental company, and the equipment we need shows up. Renting just simplifies things and lets us concentrate on what we do best,” says Chesak.

Partnering With Reliable Supplier Is Key

C&K rents equipment at least every second week, or more often, so Jim Chesak is in frequent contact with rental companies, most often for telescoping-boom aerial lifts with reaches to 125 feet, or for telescoping-boom all-terrain forklifts (telehandlers) with capacities to 10,000 pounds.

“My main considerations in renting equipment are the quality of the equipment, the level of service and reliability provided by the rental company, and, of course, the rental rate,” he explained.

Chesak says those are also the main reasons his company has chosen to work primarily with one rental supplier. “When you find someone that consistently and reliably meets your needs and is willing to give you outstanding responsiveness, it pays to build a good relationship and work with them as much as you can,” he says. “You may not get the rock-bottom rental rate, but you'll make up for that with better productivity and no costly downtime.”

C&K's preferred rental supplier is Fabco Rents. “I like working with them for all the reasons I've alreadymentioned,” says Chesak, “plus they have stores throughout the area we serve, so they can deliver the equipment we need the same day or overnight.”

“In addition, because of the volume of rentals we do with them, they've agreed to hold rates steady through next June, which allows us to bid jobs more accurately,” he says.

Consistency, Training Beneficial To Performance And Safety

C&K generally tries to rent the same models of equipment for each similar job. That makes its workers productivebecause they can get into a machine and be thoroughly comfortable with its controls and operation.

“The newer machines have operator-friendly controls, smooth operation and more safety devices, but those are no substitute for operator training and a safety focus on the job,” says Chesak.

To that end, C&K trains all of its production employees how to operate the equipment it rents frequently. In addition, it is now also having one person certified on all the equipment, so he can further train and certify all of the company's work crews on each piece of equipmentthey use.

For C&K Services, renting equipment has proven to be a business practice that delivers success both on the job site and on the bottom line.