Once a homeowner’s rental store, Discount Rental & Sales Inc. has dramatically shifted its focus to a full-scale construction equipment sales and rental house.
Founded in 1990, the transition of the West Palm Beach, FL, company began in 1995 when Richard Walker, Discount’s president and CEO, joined a struggling company as a minority partner. At the time, Discount Rental operated in five locations, but Walker slashed expenses and began rebuilding the company.
“Frankly, the company wasn’t doing so well,” Walker said. “Something had to be done, so I closed locations.”
The move allowed Walker to concentrate inventory from three locations into one and put more emphasis on construction and industrial equipment. In 1995, Discount Rental & Sales’ revenue mix was approximately 90 percent homeowner and 10 percent construction. Today, the opposite is true.
Walker bought out the company in 2001. Since that time, he has focused all of his energy on building a versatile and forward-thinking business. Not only did he shift Discount Rental & Sales from homeowner to construction, he simultaneously switched the company from a primary rental house to a primary sales house.
“Rental is still important,” Walker said. “In fact, rental revenue continues to grow every year, but today our revenue stream basically is the opposite of what it was 10 years ago. When I first started, rental accounted for 75 percent of revenue with sales accounting for 25 percent. It’s pretty much the other way around today.”
Walker said the reason for that shift is simple — he simply responded to market demand.
“We saw the need for a sales, marketing and service company that could meet the needs of a market looking for small to mid-sized equipment,” Walker said. “So we evolved the company from a ’rent it here’ philosophy to a ’buy it here, rent it here, service it here’ philosophy.”
As sales grew, Walker brought on more lines from more manufacturers. In turn, Walker also grew the company’s used equipment fleet.
Today, the company is a mix of new and used equipment sales, liberally spiced with rental, all of which rests firmly on a foundation of service.
“We’re a one-stop shop,” Walker said. “Whatever the customer needs, we deliver it. We provide sales, rentals, parts, service, a full line of supplies and accessories and financing. We offer contractors everything they need.”
In addition to its West Palm Beach headquarters, the company also has locations in Tampa and Orlando, plus a franchise location in Port Saint Lucie. Rich Avon is the president of the Port Saint Lucie location.
Discount Rental & Sales’ Orlando location is the company’s smallest, but Walker said it will occupy a new, full-service facility in late 2006. Also in store for 2006 is a groundbreaking for a new, 26,000-sq.-ft. headquarters to be located next to the company’s existing building.
Discount also has aggressively entered the world of electronic sales.
Its Web site, www.discount-equipment.com, is designed for contractors. It allows contractors to buy new and used equipment and accessories and rent equipment. Contractors also can view specifications, download operating and safety manuals, fill out financial forms and view multiple photos of equipment.
Discount Rental & Sales also has put in place on many of its machines a new Qualcomm global positioning system that simultaneously provides security and service. The Global Tracking System already is in place on many of Discount Rental & Sales’ equipment, with more systems on the way, according to Walker.
“It’s a great tool,” Walker said. “It provides us with enhanced security and service for our equipment, and it also gives us another product and service for our customers.”
Discount Rental & Sales is a progressive company, and its owner prides himself on always looking to the future and doing whatever it takes to stay competitive and on the cutting edge. That said, Walker believes that what is more important than technology is the people who work for him.
“The real strength of this company is the people,” Walker said. “The combined years of experience that we have here is amazing. We have personnel from all parts of the industry including equipment manufacturers, rental houses, equipment dealerships, publishers and technology. They know construction equipment, what it can do and how to service it.”
Discount Rental & Sales personnel include: Glenn Hauser, general sales manager; Rusty Walker, sales manager for Tampa and Orlando; Richard Steward, Tampa rental manager; Allan Galy, Orlando rental manager; Gary Wollersheim, parts and service manager; Charles Gibbins, rental manager; Steve Lillybeck, Web site manager; and Suzanne Howell, controller.
Discount Rental and Sales offers Mustang; Ingersoll-Rand small commercial pavers, dirt and asphalt compaction equipment, asphalt tack equipment and construction tools; Terex loader backhoes and mini excavators; SkyTrac; Stone; Pucket Manufacturing asphalt pavers; Basic traffic rollers and graders; and Stihl. In addition, Discount offers a large selection of used equipment from aerial to dirt equipment and a full line of supply items including hand and power tools and safety equipment.