The Editor's Page: Changing rental in France

Xavier du Boÿs, in many ways, isn’t the typical leader of a larger equipment rental company. After all, he’s been the head of Kiloutou in France for 12 years now, a tenure longer than many of his peers, and his methods continue to show impressive results.

Kiloutou’s revenues over the past 12 years have tripled, the company now has 400 branches all over France with 3,300 employee and the company’s market share during his leadership has more than doubled from 6 percent to 12.5 percent, making Kiloutou the second-largest equipment rental company in France and fourth largest in Europe.

He’s also a man of his word. He once told those in the company several years ago that if Kiloutou had a very profitable year, they would take selected people to The Rental Show in Las Vegas. Well, 2011 was a very profitable year, so he began the process of creating challenges for employees in order to have criteria to choose the best to come to Las Vegas.

The “best ones,” he said, earned a spot, with 226 employees making the trip in February. While the trip was a reward for best performers, du Boÿs also believes the experience will give the company a return on investment because each person will have seen what is happening in the equipment rental industry in the U.S. and bring new ideas back to France.

What’s also different about Kiloutou is that it operates more as a general rental company, offering everything from aerial work platforms, boom lifts, excavators and wheel loaders to general tools as well as party and event equipment, which is not that common in Europe.

“If you increase the range of products you offer, you increase the range of customers,” he simply says, explaining why the company serves all three segments in France. Also, as he says, Kiloutou doesn’t have a direct translation, but in France, it means “who rents everything,” so they do.

You can read more about du Boÿs and Kiloutou in our interview conducted at The Rental Show in Las Vegas.

Speaking of management styles, in this issue Whitney Carnahan, our features editor, explores sales relationships in our cover story starting on page 26. We often are asked by rental store owners and managers if we’ve ever covered how to hire and compensate salespeople.

What Carnahan discovered is that each company approaches sales in different ways to match the demands in their respective markets, offering packages that might include salary and commission, salary with bonuses and a variety of other combinations designed to keep outside salespeople as well as in-house staff members motivated.

I also want to call your attention to our store profile of Fort Bragg Rent-All & Party Works, Fort Bragg, Calif., highlighting the retirement of Holly Kuchar.

Connie Lannan, a marketing manager with the American Rental Association (ARA), who often writes a variety of stories for ARA publications as well as Rental Management and Rental Pulse, called Mike Sutliff from The Rental Place in Sebastopol, Calif., to talk about why he participates in ARA’s Cost of Doing Business Survey and learned he was buying Fort Bragg Rent-All and Party Place.

Lannan also had previously called Kuchar about the survey and when she called back, they started talking about her 41 years in the business. “I thought her story was really interesting,” Lannan says. We think you will find it very interesting, too.

Wayne Walley is editor for Rental Management, the official magazine of the American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. He can be reached at 800-334-2177, ext. 253, or 309-277-4253; fax 309-764-2747;