(L-R): Frank Caporaso, Rachel Caporaso and Vincent Caporaso run CAP Equipment.
Located in the heart of New York City, in Queens, lies a company that rents every type of construction equipment imaginable, from jack hammers and generators to full size excavators and loaders and everything in between.
Founded in 1969 by Vincent Caporaso and run today by son Frank Caporaso, grandson Vincent Caporaso and granddaughter, Rachel Caporaso, CAP Equipment runs its entire operation from one location, which includes more than 100,000 sq. ft. of shop, showroom, and storage.
Before starting the business, Vincent Caporaso Sr. was a heavy equipment mechanic who felt an opportunity lay in purchasing construction equipment uniquely suited for the New York City environment that could be rented to contractors and municipalities. There were certain types of equipment that he knew would match up well to the unique challenges involved in doing construction and municipal work in the largest city in the world. Early on one of those machines was the Dynahoe tractor loader backhoe — a beast of a machine with great breakout force, much larger than a typical tractor loader backhoe. Caporaso felt it was perfectly suited for utility work in the New York City environment.
As the family gained an understanding of the equipment world and the equipment demands of New York, the business began to thrive and the inventory grew. Today, the rental fleet includes close to 200 pieces of large earthmoving equipment and close to 500 pieces of light equipment which is utilized regularly in all five boroughs of the city and much of the Tri-State region. Cap also sells and services light construction equipment and contractors tools and supplies.
“For quite some time we found a strong niche in renting machines and providing a union operator,” said Frank Caporaso. “For smaller jobs, this was a great service for many of our customers. Today, insurance regulations have put us out of that business. But our knack to identify how to best serve the needs of our customers allowed us to show continued growth.
“Today’s rubber-tired excavators have replaced large Dynahoe-type tractor loader backhoes. We have one of the largest fleets of rubber-tired excavators in the northeast. We have a large inventory of all types and sizes of excavators, from ones that fit through interior doorways to 100,000-pound plus excavators with 12,000-pound hammers. Interestingly enough, in a city that is always growing bigger and taller, the trend in the excavator and loader market has been toward smaller, compact machines, and zero emissions electric machinery. Zero tail-swing excavators, ideal for working in tight places, along with tracked and wheeled skid steers, have also replaced much of the tractor loader backhoe demand.”
Much of New York City’s construction and reconstruction work takes place many feet below the street surface. Today’s compact excavators and loaders have revolutionized the way this work is done and CAP Equipment has made every effort to have the right inventory with hydraulic tools to meet those demands, Frank Caporaso said.
Frank Caporaso joined his father’s growing company in 1973, straight out of high school. “Before graduating I worked evenings and weekends and upon graduation joined the company full time while attending college.
“In 1980, the company really started to take off and we saw strong growth throughout the ’80s and ’90s. We have had our equipment involved in nearly every major public and private project in New York City over the last 30 years; projects that include the Triborough Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge reconstruction, the demolition of Yankee Stadium, and the construction of the new Yankee Stadium, and the East side access project to name a few. We have had our fleet utilized in the recent catastrophes that have affected our city, including 9/11, the citywide blackout and hurricane Sandy.
In the Heart of
“Being located in the heart of the city, our location makes us uniquely qualified to quickly dispatch our fleet when needed, 24/7. Transporting anything around New York City is a nightmare. There are specific time frames that equipment must be moved; it all has to be properly permitted and escorted. We make it our business to know the best way and the best time to get our machines delivered to the job site.
“We have learned from our experiences what types of equipment we should have reserved inventories of. Hurricane Sandy created a tremendous demand for pumps, generators, and light towers. Areas of the city were under water, out of electricity, and dark. We have since dramatically expanded our pump, generator, and light tower inventory. One of our biggest challenges during hurricane Sandy was getting fuel. We used some very creative methods to get as much fuel funneled to us to keep our machines running. We were carpooling employees in and out of work. Land lines were all down; our only way to communicate was through cell phones and two way radios.” Vincent Caporaso said.
With the bombing of the World Trade Center on 9/11 CAP Equipment was early on the scene with light towers, generation plants, earth moving equipment, and supplies, to try to aid the rescue efforts.
“This devastation was beyond anything I could have imagined. Huge beams of steel twisted around like plastic straws. You didn’t really want to look beyond where you were stepping because you had no desire to see some of the gruesome things that were around you. We continue to have some of our equipment at the Trade Center site continuously right up to today as reconstruction is almost completed.”
Keeping Up With Technology
Since 2000, CAP Equipment has had to deal with some of the most stringent emission regulations in the world. New York City was demanding a level of emission control that technology had not yet caught up with. Converting existing machines in CAP’s fleet to meet these standards is a never-ending process, according to Frank Caporaso. It has although opened up another avenue of business for us, with the sales, installations, and cleaning of the DPF and DOC emissions devices.
“We have to be sure that any machine we put out on rent meets those standards.”
Another advancement that CAP Equipment has seen in the New York City equipment market is the evolution of specialized work tools and attachments.
“We were one of the first rental houses in the northeast to equip every machine that we owned with a quick coupling system. The variety of attachments being used by our customers is endless and we needed to accommodate them with a way to change out the attachments quickly. Our attachment inventory includes every imaginable buckets, hammers, planers, milling machines, grapples, rock splitters, clamshell buckets, booms, forks and even concrete pulverizers.”
Working for the Rich and Famous
CAP Equipment also has had the opportunity to rub elbows with Hollywood. Their equipment has been utilized in many television and movie sets. Just to name a few, NBC TV’s The Blacklist, as well as the TV series “Louie” did a lot of filming in New York City, and used CAP’s equipment. “I am legend” utilized light towers and message boards for their set props. Men in Black III rented lights, generator sets and earthmoving equipment to be used in building sets. In Men in Black III, a recreation of Cape Canaveral was built on Long Island, complete with palm trees. The sand dune effects, the planting of the palm trees, along with moving thousands of yards of sand were completed with equipment and staff from CAP Equipment.
Working Toward the Future
Today, Vincent Caporaso is working as the company’s vice president and is handling many of the company’s day-to-day operations. Frank’s daughter, Rachel, is the office manager, the company secretary and treasurer.
CAP Equipment is currently moving into the new compact equipment sales arena. One of the lines that is particularly exciting, according to Vincent, is the Wacker Neuson line of compact loaders, skidsteers, dumpers and excavators.
“We are very excited about this product line. The machines are well known and well accepted in the United States and Europe, very well engineered, and extremely strong; strong enough to handle the punishment that New York City hands out. “We won’t sell anything we do not believe will hold up to New York City’s abusive environment. We have put brand new loaders, excavators and dumpers into service on two current tunneling jobs here in Manhattan and are more than pleased with the outcome being working in the worst environment imaginable .We stand behind everything we sell and this equipment is solid.” Besides selling the Wacker Neuson products, we have incorporated them into our rental fleet,” said Vincent.
For more information, visit www.caprents.com.