The odds are that fleet planning looks quite a bit different for you this year than it has in the past. The industry “normal” used to look predictable, with rental companies able to order new equipment from manufacturers expecting lead times of just a few weeks. During normal years, most orders are placed in January or February (which is when the ARA show and other large trade shows are normally held). Also in normal years, that’s usually plenty of time to receive machines for springtime. Unfortunately, the rental management landscape has been anything but normal since 2020. So, what proactive steps can you take to ensure you have the equipment you need for the busy fall months?
Barreto Manufacturing, Inc. just wrapped up the 2022 CRA Rental Rally Tradeshow, hosted by the California Rental Association. After speaking with our customers, we came up with a few key ideas to help you plan your fleet in the coming months.
1. Pre-order for your success
We don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but the current state of supply and high order volumes just aren’t conducive to manufacturers being able to produce at their preferred pace. Are manufacturers working as fast as they can? Without a doubt, and we will continue to fulfill every single customer order to the best of our ability. Is there anything we can do if you need a trencher in two weeks? It’s highly unlikely we could meet that deadline due to current order volumes.
At Barreto, our policy is “first in, first out.” We deliver equipment in the order it was received, regardless of order or customer size. So, the solution is to be proactive. Don’t put off that order you’ve been meaning to put in - call us, place the order, and we will be the first to let you know when to expect your machine. No down payment is required at the time of the order, you’ve saved your spot in line, and you can always change your mind with zero risk in the meantime. Sounds like a win!
2. Anticipate your business needs
Have a machine that looks like it's on its last legs? Looking to expand your fleet offerings to include tillers or mini skids? Place an order! We know it’s hard to predict where next year’s fleet finances and budget will be, but trust us, looking ahead to the needs of next year (and the year after) will ensure you get the equipment you need when you need it.
3. Keep tabs on the industry
According to the American Rental Association (ARA) Economic Impact Survey, a quarterly survey conducted since March 2020, the industry is expected to keep a strong upward trajectory in 2022 and possibly beyond. Considering the current expectations for rentals and infrastructure growth, it’s wise to keep an eye on the industry and connect with resources that help you do so. The ARA is an excellent resource for industry news, and you can check out their article here that discusses the survey results.
Another great resource is their recent article called “State of the equipment rental industry” that proposes ideas on navigating issues like labor shortages, budgets, and supply chains. Industry challenges are everywhere – from the need to implement and improve digital strategies for inventory and data, to logistic constraints around transportation and labor – it’s best practice to check the pulse of these topics regularly.
4. Be flexible
In order to get the equipment you need during a time of supply chain challenges, it might be beneficial to be open to alternative components on machines like engines, tracks, or cutting systems. For example, engines are a critical topic right now. If the engine option you initially planned on isn’t predicted to be available for many months, consider switching up your selection to the option with the best lead time. This way you are still gaining quality equipment while upping your odds at timely delivery.
5. Complete your fleet
A full fleet is a successful one. Given the predicted demand for construction and your estimated business needs, don’t let a gap in your fleet be a gap in your operations. Do you rent trenchers, but not tillers? Consider adding key pieces of equipment that users desire and that fit seasonal trends. Seasonal changes prompt rentals of certain pieces of equipment, like log splitters for fall preparation or walk-behind tillers for spring garden planting. Do your research on the demand for your area, and acquire the equipment that customers request.
Despite the challenges, the 2022 rental landscape is looking bright. Whether through quality equipment or customer service, it’s a joy to serve our customers. So, plan ahead, be proactive, and know that we are welding as fast as we can!