The economic news of the industry keeps strengthening, with the latest word from IHS Global Insight that the equipment rental industry is on pace to outperform the gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the United States four-fold this year. In February at The Rental Show, our message was that the industry was outperforming the economy three-fold. Economic survey responses from rental and manufacturer/supplier American Rental Association (ARA) members continue to tell the story of equipment demand. Within the mix are fuel prices, policy and regulatory unknowns, credit availability issues and global politics, and through it all, the equipment rental industry keeps moving ahead, building and meeting customer demand. The growth and reliance upon equipment rental continues to advance.
Nearly 90 percent of rental members responding to ARA’s recent quarterly economic survey indicate an increase in their rental revenue and almost half of them expect double-digit growth this year. Among manufacturer and supplier members responding, 90 percent said they expect sales into the rental channel in 2012 to exceed 2011, with more than 60 percent anticipating growth in the double digits.
IHS Global Insight updated its second quarter 2012 forecast and relayed strengthened numbers for the year on a May 9 webcast presented to subscribers of the ARA Rental Market Monitor™. If you are not already a subscriber to this member service, I encourage you to contact ARA to sign up for access to this valuable rental-specific economic forecasting information. The economics at play around and within our industry are readily at hand through this web-based service.
The quarterly updates provide unique insight on what’s ahead for our industry nationally in the United States and Canada, as well as at the U.S. state or local market area. Note the comments from Scott Hazelton, a senior partner with IHS Global Insight, in this issue of Rental Management starting on page 24 as a sample of the quality economic outlook information ARA provides through the ARA Rental Market Monitor. This information can provide the type of research and analyses to better develop your business plan — rental business and manufacturer/supplier alike.
Recent travels have allowed me to visit with many members who verbally acknowledge improvement in their rental volume. While each of us wants more certainty in the marketplace and general economy, each piece of business is welcomed and it is starting to come along more frequently. There is a backlog in some new equipment delivery for certain pieces of equipment, and rental business owners are coping with and working around that situation.
All ARA members have the upcoming Congressional and Presidential elections in mind here in the United States, and we watch with great interest election results and economic movement worldwide. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of each vote in an election or overstress the value for you to participate in the election process. We can only help shape the outcome if we care enough to act upon our convictions.
The ARA Political Action Committee (ARAPAC) is critical to ARA’s success to communicate policy positions to members of Congress on your behalf. In today’s political environment, ARAPAC is one tool that affords us the opportunity to have dialogue, one-on-one, with key members of Congress for them to advance and speak to our issues at critical times in the legislative process. In these conversations, ARA speaks to the economics our industry contributes to the U.S. economy, within states or Congressional districts.
The more ARA members who join ARAPAC to support the government affairs program, the greater voice ARA can have in Washington, D.C., on your behalf. It costs nothing to join ARAPAC, though you will be requested to personally contribute to fund the donations made to members of Congress who support key rental industry issues.
It’s good to be part of an industry that continues to grow, one that is projected to reach and exceed the previous U.S. rental revenue high of $35 billion from 2007 by 2014. The ARA continually shares these numbers with members of Congress, state legislators, the credit and investment industry, and media and trade press as we strive to increase the visibility of the industry to your customer base and solidify their shift to rental. Together, by keeping at it, we are building the future of this industry. Thank you for your contribution. RM
Christine Wehrman is executive vice president and CEO of the American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. She can be reached at 800-334-2177 or 309-764-2475, ext. 280; fax 309-764-1533; or firstname.lastname@example.org.