July 18, 2022
While inflation and fuel prices skyrocket to record highs, supply chain woes plague the economy, and layoffs across multiple industries leave Americans on edge about what lies ahead, businesses who rely on a fleet of vehicles continue wondering what options exist for upgrading vehicles that are due for replacement.
We’ve previously touched on the topic, but there’s one “upgrade” option we have yet to explore: fleet rental. And there’s arguably a lot of upside to considering this option during a time period that’s proving difficult for many consumers and service providers alike.
Premier Truck Rental is a truck, trailer, and specialty equipment rental company located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company builds customized work trucks for construction companies nationwide, offering unique fleet solutions for fleet managers in renewables, pipeline, commercial construction, power T&D, utilities, and more.
Their line of reel, pole, and cable utility trailers, as well as their specialized work truck offerings, allow them to cater to all project types and crew sizes. PTR builds all trucks in-house and to customer specs.
Brandie Cotton serves as the company’s Vice President of Sales and has been with the company for the past six years. Previously, she spent 20 years with NESCO Sales and Rentals, a company providing specialty equipment for those in the electric utility transmission and distribution, telecom, rail, and infrastructure industries.
Cotton has seen firsthand the impact of the pandemic shifting the way businesses of all sizes have addressed their vehicle needs.
“Since the onset of the pandemic and inflation, we have seen an uptick in people renting,” Cotton notes. “Because of COVID-19, we went from seeing companies have four guys in a single truck to one man per truck due to mandates.”
She adds that supply chain constraints accompanied by the pandemic, such as the microchip shortage, have also driven the market to rent because of the availability of units (a result of the chip shortage is a lack of new chassis being available to consumers). Many customers are keeping units on rent longer, knowing that the supply chain issues can continue in the future.
Another economical woe facing tradespeople (in addition to single people and families alike) is the price of new and used vehicles. As we noted in a previous blog entry, with the cost of used vehicles as much or, in some cases, more than a new vehicle, many are questioning whether to buy used, buy new, or not buy at all.
With that in mind, Cotton says that businesses are looking at their fleets differently and finding that renting makes more sense for their operations.
So, what’s the benefit of renting a fleet?
“There are a variety of benefits to renting your units, the first one being the availability and price of units,” Cotton notes. “Because of inflation and the microchip shortage, there has been a truck shortage and many companies have struggled to get units. PTR has been able to get units throughout the entirety of the shortage and pandemic, and our fleet offering continues to grow.”
She says that another key benefit of renting from PTR is their in-house upfitting team who custom-builds units for customers with upfits needed for their job sites. This gives users more variety/options when it comes to what units are available. So, if a particular business or job requires more custom configurations to get the job done, they can have peace of mind knowing that they can have their needs met while still having the option to rent the vehicle.
“Lastly, a benefit of renting your trucks and trailers from us is how fast we can turn around units and deliver them directly to job sites,” Cotton says. “We have availability across the country and can get units to our customers quickly.”
Looking ahead, Cotton doesn’t expect the demand for fleet rental to slow down.
In fact, she sees the market remaining quite strong due to infrastructure bills, the growth of the transmission and distribution market, and the expansion of the renewables sector with wind and solar farms. As a result, she anticipates more companies will turn to businesses like PTR for the foreseeable future.
“Yes, absolutely I see this trend continuing,” she offers. “The advantages of renting are that you’re not locked into owning a piece of equipment and you can return it at any time. At PTR, we don’t have a set length of rental aside from a one-month minimum. If business is good, keep the units. If business is bad, return the units.”
It’s that simple “no obligation” premise that many fleet owners or managers will find appealing during uncertain times, and certainly one that is a viable option for those who are looking to remain functional and profitable without a major commitment.