Posted August 27, 2019

Survey: Contractors expect to increase rental activity

ARA commissions Rental Customer Needs Study, announces findings.

Among professional construction contractors who rented equipment in the past year, a majority expects to increase reliance on rental in the year ahead, according to a comprehensive survey of contractors released by the American Rental Association (ARA).

The Rental Customer Needs Study conducted by RSG, an independent research firm for ARA, found that 93 percent of professional contractors surveyed rented equipment in the last year. Of those who rented, 92 percent planned to rent as least as much as last year and 52 percent expected to increase renting over the next year.

Portable toilets, lifts and scaffolding, backhoes, dump trucks and mini excavators are the most popular rental items among contractors, the study found. Reasons contractors rented included: it made more financial sense than buying equipment (45 percent); they needed equipment for immediate use and did not want to purchase (43 percent); and they needed to use the equipment infrequently or only for a short time period (43 percent).

Contractors who expect to rent more next year will do so because they plan to use what they currently rent more frequently or they plan to take on more quick-turnaround projects, the study concluded.

More than 90 percent of survey participants said rental locations are doing an excellent job of providing their customers with satisfying rental experiences. According to the study, there are five key things that professional contractors want from their local rental company:

  • Attentive customer service
  • Reliable, well-maintained and varied equipment
  • Online engagement
  • Clear communication
  • Rewards

Tony Conant, ARA CEO, said the research findings will help guide ARA members in their mission to deliver a premier rental experience.

 “We invested in this study to better understand the evolving needs and preferences of contractors,” Conant said. “It’s exciting that so many professional contractors are thinking of rental first for their equipment needs. With these new research insights, our rental members will have information and knowledge to better serve the needs of this segment.”

Data for the study came from surveys of various types of contractors including residential building, specialty, non-residential and commercial building, landscape, utility, road and highway construction, site development/earthmoving, and more.

Full survey results are available to ARA members on the ARA website, Nonmembers can download a free white paper at ARA offers a rental store locator t at for association members.