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Focus - Service Providers - Servicing ahead

image Grant Dillon, District Manager, We Rent It, Buda, TX

AUSTIN - How would you describe the state of the construction industry in general terms? I’m cautiously optimistic! The Texas markets have shown steady growth over the years and seem to continue showing this growth.





Have you experienced an increase in business?  Slowdown?
    We have seen an increase in business.  The industry seems to be bouncing back from the slowdown from the past several years.

What factors are driving this increase/slowdown?

    We benefit from a good market.  Central Texas is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Multi-family housing, schools, medical facilities and general construction projects have impacted our growth. Of course, building customer relationships are what we depend on to sustain our long-term success. 

How has this increase/slowdown affected your company and how you conduct business? 

    The increase in business has allowed us to hire more people and buy more rental equipment. It has also allowed us to open new locations like our new location in Georgetown. Our process of how we con-duct business is the same, just on a larger scale.

What are the “hot button” issues in your industry?

    Rental Rates are always a “hot button”.  While the cost of doing business increases every year, rental rates are slow to rise. We’re doing more volume, but putting less to the bottom line.
    Profit margins are tightening up.  We have to do more to make less, whether it is regulations, the cost of new rental fleet or just the cost of employees.  The cost of hiring quality staff has gone up significantly.
What are the major changes in the industry in recent years relating to the type of work you do?
    I would say the most noticeable change is the fact that there are so many companies renting equipment.  Our industry has more competition than ever.  When I first started in this business, there were three or four companies and now there are twenty or thirty.  You can’t drive more than a few miles without seeing an equipment rental company.

What is the most significant challenge your industry faces? Labor shortages? Cost increases?
    Overall the cost of doing business make it much more difficult to produce profits.  Hiring qualified service minded people in all areas of our business is always a challenge.

What are the cost increases relating to your industry?

    Fleet. The cost of construction equipment has risen every year and rental rates have remained basically the same for the past 10 years.  
    The cost of hiring good quality people is an ongoing increase.  You have to be willing to pay for your assets and our people are our asset.  Training, insurance, and general wages are up across the board. 

How are you dealing with these challenges?
    We try to increase utilization and drive revenue. We are trying to buy equipment at a lower cost of ownership and items that give us a better return on investment.  In addition, we are trying to create strategic alliances with our vendors to improve our buying power.

What is on the horizon for your industry? 
    Equipment telematics are improving.  This allows us to track the location and condition of our equipment.  We are also investing in electronics for our sales staff to improve communication.  In addition, we are also investing in product training for our mechanics and sales staff.

What are the rewards of the industry?

    It’s fun!  Our business is fast paced and never boring. It’s a TEAM effort.  It takes everyone playing his or her role to make our organization a success.

What are keys to being successful in the industry?
    Hiring and retaining quality people is a huge key and, of course, a competitive spirit, servant’s heart, passion for excellence, and flexibility to change.
    We have opportunities every day to create value and make our customers’ buying experience positive.  I believe in building trust with our customers through effective communication and delivering on our commitments is essential for success.  As we continue to grow and change, our priority will always stay the same.  We want to provide our customers with quality equipment and exceptional service.
    Originally owned and operated as Allied Equipment Rentals, We Rent It (WRI) in Bryan, TX is a Texas independent construction equipment rental company with six locations.  Dillon joined the We Rent It team in 2014 during the acquisition of Longhorn equipment as District Manager of the Austin and San Antonio markets.  -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net