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Spring 2009

Timing is right to enter rental business

Rental store starts with one Bobcat 743 and grows to dozens of machines

A simple request from a longtime customer of his welding supply company introduced Gary Rosser to the equipment rental business. The timing could not have been better and neither could the results.

Gary Rosser

Owner Gary Rosser grew his rental company from the ground up with Bobcat loaders and attachments.

"Getting into rental was a very good decision," says the owner of Rosser Rental Inc. in Wilmington, Del. "If we had not made the switch, we would be barely hanging on in the welding business today."

Rosser's welding supply company began in 1964. In 1997, one of his customers began installing stainless steel pipe for pharmaceutical and food industry accounts. Rosser was asked to get some equipment for the customer to rent.

"The first item I purchased was a Bobcat 743 skid-steer loader," Rosser recalls. "I liked Bobcat loaders because of all the available attachments. Our rental customer wanted a bucket and pallet fork attachment, then a sweeper. Initially we were only helping one of our good customers by purchasing equipment they wanted to rent from us. However, this supplemental rental business just kept growing and growing."

As Rosser added equipment for rent, he would display it in front of his shop, which was located on a busy highway. "Someone was always stopping in to inquire about our rental machines," he says. "Before long, we were doubling our rental sales every year while the welding business was barely staying even."

After starting in the rental business with a 743, Rosser now has a dozen Bobcat loaders T180 and T190 compact track loaders and S150 skid-steer loaders, plus several attachments all purchased from Burke Equipment.

Attachment rentals prompt repeat business

"Early on, I recognized the value of Bobcat attachments," Rosser says. "They help rent loaders. When a customer returns an attachment, he will often realize how he can use another one to complete a job. That makes him a good candidate to become a repeat renter. There is no doubt that one attachment promotes another."

"Our Bobcat loaders are among the most frequently rented products at the store," Rosser says. "They are out about 70 percent of the time. That's much better than many of the other products we rent."

He says the Bobcat loaders pay for themselves in two to three years. "We keep them for another couple of years and then sell them to the general public, usually receiving about half of what they originally cost. Overall, our investment in Bobcat equipment has been very good."

Read more about the benefits of Bobcat equipment in the rental market on the rental market page.

Bold advertising venture brings in customers

In an attempt to gain more homeowner customers, Gary Rosser produced a flyer promoting his Bobcat skid-steer loaders and attachments and inserted it in the largest circulation newspaper in his state.

The flyer was delivered in late March in the Wilmington News-Journal to 11,000 readers in all ZIP codes within 10 miles of Rosser's rental center. Customers bringing in the flyer received a 5 percent discount.

"It worked so well that we are doing it again," Rosser says. "In addition to business from homeowners, the program resulted in rentals from some landscapers and a roofer that have turned into repeat business. This was a different approach for us and it produced a solid return on our investment."