The market outlook for the industry is positive, with demand for equipment rental continuing to be strong. The recently released ARA Rental Market Monitor™ economic forecast projects a 7 percent year-end rental revenue increase over 2012. This brings the projected 2013 industry revenue to $33.5 billion in the U.S., and the addition of Canada raises the North American number to $38.1 billion. The succeeding years have projected revenue growth to nearly $52 billion for North America by the end of 2017.
While we take one year at a time, these projected numbers reinforce the increased reliance on rental as a preferred business option with continued growth of rental penetration. This is good news for the industry.
We know the industry will experience growth, but one question is whether we will have the interest of future generations to lead, manage and staff the business of the industry. This topic comes up in conversations frequently as the workplace environment continues to change with the times. Certainly challenges continue to evolve in the business every day, but let’s not count out the opportunity that far outweighs the challenges we face.
From my vantage point with the American Rental Association (ARA), I share with you the challenges, the many opportunities within this industry and the excellent career path that equipment rental affords for individuals. I’ll be the first to tell you that the “people-side” of the industry will do just fine in years to come. This is a growth industry with unlimited potential that will continue to attract talented individuals who want to excel.
ARA recently transitioned the Next Generation of Rental Owners to the ARA Young Professionals Network to encompass individuals 18 to 40 years of age to network with each other and encourage them to remain in a rental career path. The network is offered as a benefit of general membership at no cost and is administered by the ARA Foundation. ARA provided a variety of ways for individuals to opt into the network, receiving an immediate response of over 750 individuals from the U.S., Canada and seven countries from Australia to Brazil that wanted to participate.
This overwhelming response is a strong positive message — good news — for the future of our industry. ARA is providing a network membership directory to participants and an online member forum for communication exchange, and is directing them to ARA state associations to become personally involved in the association. In addition, all participants will receive early notice to register for the Young Professionals Network Reception to be held at The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., along with an educational seminar targeted to their interests. Networking events for the future will be planned by the ARA Foundation.
Members of the Young Professionals Network represent the future of our industry, those with the drive and determination to step into ownership and management positions that will shape the workforce and future of the industry. Our role as ARA and the ARA Foundation, and as their peers, is to provide opportunities for them to excel within all facets of the industry.
ARA and the ARA Foundation have placed a high priority on the Young Professionals Network because we, like you, realize the important role that people represent to the future of the industry. We want those who follow us to succeed and contribute their time and talent to the evolution of equipment rental and to fill the shoes of leaders before them at ARA. This issue of Rental Management features several members of the Young Professionals Network. We can expect to hear more in future years from each of them.
The Rental Show 2014 is quickly approaching, with registration beginning in early September. This year you’ll have the show Planner available to you in September to finalize your plans for Orlando. The program will have something for everyone in your business, with features on equipment, education and networking to benefit you. What better news for you than sunny Orlando in February? Save the dates, Feb. 9-12, 2014.
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.