ARA survey finds contractors expect to increase rental activity


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 survey released by the American Rental Association (ARA).

The Rental Customer Needs Study conducted by RSG, an independent research firm for ARA, found that 93 per cent of professional contractors surveyed rented equipment in the last year.

Of those who rented, 92 per cent planned to rent as least as much as last year and 52 per cent expected to increase renting in the next year.

The most popular items for contractors

Portable toilets, lifts and scaffolding, backhoes, dump trucks and mini excavators are the most popular rental items, the study found.

The reasons that contractors rented equipment include, it made more financial sense than buying equipment (45 per cent); they needed equipment for immediate use and did not want to purchase (43 per cent); and they needed to use the equipment infrequently or only for a short time period (43 per cent).

As well, contractors that expect to rent more next year plan to use what they currently rent more frequently, or they plan to take on more quick-turnaround projects, the study found.

The survey also enquired about rental service. More than 90 per cent of survey participants said rental locations are doing an excellent job of providing their customers with a satisfying rental experience.

According to the ARA 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.

RELATED: Canada’s equipment rental revenue forecast improves for 2019

ARA CEO Tony Conant said the research findings 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.

The full survey results are available to ARA members at A whitepaper for non-ARA members is also available online.