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Linder Throws Hat Into Rental Ring

Sat January 27, 2001 - Southeast Edition
Marc Rapport

Florida contractors have long known they could turn to Linder Industrial Machinery Co. for their long-term heavy equipment needs, and the company now is turning its attention to the general rental market, too.

Linder Rental Co. opened its doors a few months ago on U.S. 41 just south of Interstate 4 in Tampa with an eye to serving the area’s construction and industrial markets (and even the occasional homeowner) with products ranging from lawn mowers to 135-hp (100 kW) generators.

Linder Industrial Machinery was founded in 1954 as Linder, Cox and Co. and services the construction, mining, paving and forestry industries from seven locations around the state.

Linder Rental is a new venture for the Plant City-based firm, which is owned by SMS International, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp., and with its commitment to versatility and service, the young venture already has made its mark.

“We provided the lighting and power for the VIP area at Raymond James Stadium during Monday Night Football,” said Dan DeLeon, manager of Linder Rental. “And we helped solve a slope problem on a Tampa Bypass Canal project with our Vermeer trencher and its side-shift capabilities.”

DeLeon said Linder Rental specializes in general rental across a wide range of products, expanding the parent company’s long-established customer base — leasers and buyers of heavy lifters such as Komatsu dozers, Dressta loaders, Moxy articulated trucks and Gilcrest pavers.

The new rental company opened in August in a 5,000-sq.-ft. building on a 2-acre yard that features retail, warehouse and service space. The staff of seven provides expert service in-house and on the job on a 24-hour basis and delivery is available in the Tampa Bay area, DeLeon said.

Its inventory includes Komatsu backhoes and mini-excavators, MQ generators, Ingersoll-Rand light towers and air compressors, MultiQuip concrete trowels and compaction equipment, Clipper concrete cutters, GME trenchboxes and Power Prime vac assist pumps, along with lighter gear such as riding lawn mowers and augers for fence posts.

“Our equipment is pretty diverse,” DeLeon said. “For instance, we have pumps that can move a million gallons a day and we have them for that small job site, too.”

The company’s equipment and facilities are new, but some old-fashioned business sense also goes into the business mix.

“This is such a competitive market that we need to offer people what they need, for sure, but more, too. We pay close attention to detail and service,” DeLeon said.

“We’re a small company and we don’t have the things slowing us down that a big company might. Being small gives us an aggressive edge we use to resolve problems and challenges quicker.

“We’re not just order-takers. We’re here to pay attention to our customers, to help them solve their problems.

“We like to get involved, and we find that that attitude helps us to help our customers more, and it maintains our business,” he continued.

Those customers range from homeowners with a little land to fence in to big industrial clients like the area’s Cargill fertilizer plant. “We provide the equipment they need during their shutdowns for routine maintenance. That includes things such as pumps, jackhammers and generators,” DeLeon said.

DeLeon said there are plans to expand Linder Rental but nothing has been announced yet. “We want to get this place up and running for a while and then expand,” he said.

“It gives our parent company an added dimension to the business,” said the veteran of 10 years in the construction and industrial equipment rental business. “It expands our customer base, and when the economy goes into a bit of downturn, people will tend to rent more than they buy, and it can help out there, too.”

Linder Industrial Machinery employs about 200 people at facilities in Plant City, Pembroke Pines, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Ocala, Orlando and Tallahassee.

It was founded by P. Scott Linder and James Cox in 1953 and in 1954, came under sole ownership of Linder as Linder Industrial Machinery Co.

The company grew into one of the largest distributors of construction machinery and industrial equipment in Florida, helped by the purchase in 1989 of H.F. Mason Equipment Co., and now is part of Sumitomo.

Customer service has long been its hallmark, as evidenced by the seven straight years Linder has won Komatsu America’s highest honor, the Chairman’s Award, one of only two Komatsu dealers in the country to accomplish that.

“We try to accommodate the customer in every way,” said Jeff Cox, president of Linder. “If a customer wants to do business, we’ll find a way to do business that’s right for him.”

The company also won awards from Komatsu for “Outstanding Achievement — Utility Sales and Marketing,” “Highest Parts Performance,” “Highest Service Performance” and “Outstanding Performance in Retail Finance.”

Linder itself offers flexible credit and financing arrangements, including rent-to-own and leasing plans. Linder Rental, with its array of equipment ranging from lawn-and-garden needs to forklifts, marks the heavy-equipment company’s move into the general rental market.

Linder Rental Co. is at 1022 S. 50th St. (U.S. 41) in Tampa.

For more information, call 813/241-6877.

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