Making comparisons: Helping rental operators know where they stand

Greg Hutchinson of Economy Rental Centre in Leamington, Ontario, Canada; Craig Creamer of ABC Rental Center in Rosedale, Md.; Brian Jenkins of Dallas Party Tent and Event in Arlington, Texas; James Morden of Rentshop in Alliston, Ontario, Canada; and Andy Jones, CERP, of Red Hat Rentals based in Fairfield, Texas, are owners of very different rental operations throughout North America. Yet all have one thing in common: They wanted to know how they compared with the industry regarding employee wages and compensation packages.

Hutchinson, who has been in the equipment rental industry for five years, admits to “not having a clue” as to how he compared. Creamer thought he was doing a good job, but he wasn’t sure. The same goes for the other rental operators listed above.

“I wanted to see how our employee compensation compared with like employees in our region and nationally,” Jenkins says.

“Until I had something to compare to, I just didn’t know where we stood,” Jones adds.

To learn the answers, all turned to the 2012 Compensation and Benefits Report offered by the American Rental Association (ARA).

“We have 14 full- and part-time employees, including me,” Hutchinson says. “I wanted to participate in the survey and receive the report to get a better picture of the industry and see how we compared. The Compensation and Benefits Report gave me so much feedback. It was great.”

What he discovered was that “I am treating my employees fairly,” he says. “That is comforting.”

Craig Creamer, who has 13 employees, including himself, thought he was providing his employees a good wage and fair benefits — health insurance, life insurance, long-term disability and an IRA plan in which he offers an employee match. “I found out [from the report] that we were pretty much in line across the board,” he says. “It confirmed that what I thought was fair seemed to be what is considered
fair across the industry with businesses of similar size and asset mix.”

Morden agrees. “The report and the findings give me the confidence that our direction is right — that we are in the game and playing it right,” he says.

Jenkins was pleasantly surprised to find that “we are in the top 5 percent as far as what we pay our tent installers, that we are in the top 25 percent for what we pay our sales personnel and are within the average for our warehouse personnel,” he says. “That was really good to know. I was glad that we did not fall below average in any category. This affirmed that we are paying our employees fairly.”

Jones says he found out he was not as “far out of norm” as what he thought he was. “I am going to use this as a guide to do a complete review and see where we might need to adjust,” he says.

Jenkins also says he discovered that it might be more beneficial to hire a full-time employee instead of contracting out for certain services. “The information we discovered will help us strategize on future steps,” he says.

All felt the information was beneficial. “Sharing information is gold,” Morden says. “The more information you have, the better you can predict where wages need to be. It’s a huge value in understanding your business.”

“It’s another tool to learn how we are doing,” Hutchinson adds, noting that “it is foolish not to take advantage of it.”

To purchase a copy of the report, go to the “Shop ARA” section of and select “Compensation and Benefits Report 2012.” The premium selection is the online version. The standard is a hard-copy offering. The cost is $150 for ARA members and $450 for nonmembers. For more information, call ARA Member Services at 800-334-2177.