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Fall 2013

Wise decision to add rental

Equipment repair business sees opportunity to diversify with the addition of Bobcat compact equipment and attachments

Keith Garner of Precise Rebuilders most
recently added a Bobcat T650 compact
track loader to the company’s rental fleet.

Keith Garner of Precise Rebuilders most recently added a Bobcat T650 compact track loader to the company’s rental fleet.

For almost two decades, Keith Garner has operated Precise Rebuilders, a company based in Lexington, Tenn., that rebuilds alternators, starters and generators. When the price of components began to impact profitability about six years ago, he started to look for a way to diversify. Around the same time, the only equipment rental store in town was going out of business.

The timing could not have worked out better, and neither could the results.

“I thought rental would be a nice fit for us because we are so proficient at maintaining equipment,” Garner says. “It certainly has been a good decision.”

Choosing equipment carefully

Garner carefully selected the equipment for his rental business after researching products on the Internet, attending rental shows and surveying his rebuilding customers. His research has paid off in spades.

“Early on, I began looking for skid-steer and compact track loaders,” he says. “I found that Bobcat® products were at the top of most people’s list for being user-friendly and maintenance-friendly. Once I added them to my rental fleet, I found that to be true.”

Diverse Bobcat lineup

Currently, Garner has a pair of compact track loaders, including a new M-Series T650, a skid-steer loader, an MT52 mini track loader and two compact excavators. He also has several Bobcat attachments for use with his Bobcat tool carriers.

Garner’s store, which is located on one of the main streets in Lexington (pop. 8,000), attracts customers from throughout Henderson County as well as a couple of neighboring counties. The nearest equipment rental store is about 40 miles away. A bypass road that is planned to move highway traffic around the town figures to be good for his business — it will come within 300 yards of the store.

“A lot of our rental customers are long-time users of our rebuilding services,” he says. “As they go in and out the front door getting their own equipment repaired, they see we are in the rental business. I did not foresee that happening as much as it does, but the overlap has been very advantageous.”

Contractors, homeowners and farmers are the leading groups of renters, notes Garner. Most rent for a day; he very seldom gets long-term business. The Bobcat mini track loader with trencher attachment is popular with farmers installing cattle watering stations. They also rent one of his larger loaders twice a year to clean out cattle stalls.

Although Garner originally believed that rental would be good for his company because employees were so proficient at maintaining and repairing equipment, that hasn’t been much of an issue with his Bobcat machines.

“They have been very reliable,” he says. “At times our customers refer to them as ‘indestructible,’ and I agree. They rent as well as anything we have, which is a testimony to their versatility, durability and usefulness.”

Garner has never traded in any Bobcat equipment, preferring instead to sell them himself.

“The resale value has always been excellent,” he says. “Typically a Bobcat machine will pay for itself after about a year of rentals and we keep them for an additional two years, a very profitable two years.”