Construction equipment has a reputation for being tough and durable. But at Golden Equipment Company in Albuquerque, N.M., the rental fleet of Volvo construction equipment has a softer side — one that has helped children, the homeless, and wounded warriors through the Colors for Our Community program.
The company started the Colors for Our Community program in 2010 as a way to give back to the community. The program raises funds and awareness for a local service organization by putting the charity’s logo on a piece of Volvo construction equipment and renting it out to contractors. Golden Equipment rents the equipment for 12 months and gives 25 percent of the rental proceeds directly to the organization.
Golden Equipment relies on Volvo construction equipment to generate the revenue and visibility necessary for the success of the program.
“Quite honestly our Volvo machines are the only product that have the consistent utilization and rental rate for what we were trying to achieve as far as donation and awareness,” said Michael Bahrmann, vice president, Golden Equipment Company.
The program raises approximately $15,000 annually by renting a Volvo wheel loader or a Volvo excavator adorned with the charity’s insignia — past rental units have included two EC240 excavators, an L120 wheel loader and currently an L90F wheel loader. The frequent requests for the machine and its utilization on high-profile job sites around the state helps to build awareness.
“Ideally, the machine will be working in a public area where people driving by notice [it], and it sparks questions and interest in the charity,” said Bahrmann.
The customized machine is rented at the standard rate as other pieces of equipment in Golden Equipment’s rental fleet. It can be rented for any period of time; however, contractors typically rent the machine for a two-month period of time.
It hasn’t been difficult to find support among the local contractor community for the program. Not only does a portion of the rental fee go directly to an organization that supports the community, but the decision to rent from Golden Equipment also supports the local economy.
“Golden Equipment is one of the only local equipment dealers left in the state, so those dollars keep turning in the community,” said Adam Triolo, CEO of AUI Inc., a contracting and construction company. “That money doesn’t hit the storefront of a big conglomerate and leave the state.”
Triolo is interested in building the state’s economy from a business perspective, and as the past president of the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation board of directors — the charity selected to receive the funds from the 2014 Colors for Our Community program.
The foundation, which provides medical and financial assistance, education and quality of life programs for families of children with special needs, is funded purely through donations and fundraising events — like the Colors for Our Community program.
“Our staff is limited and for Golden Equipment to reach out and do a fundraiser of this magnitude on our behalf is a win-win situation for us,” said Executive Director Jeff Hoehn.
The Colors for Our Community program will provide a generous contribution to the foundation’s fundraising budget in 2014. Because the foundation serves children throughout the state of New Mexico, the awareness created by the program is equally as important as the monetary donation.
“We’re able to expand our footprint by virtue of having this piece of equipment bouncing around the state [with our logo],” said Triolo. “It could end up in Farmington, Carlsbad or Albuquerque, so it’s another good way for us to get our brand out in the community.”
Hoehn added that individual contributions have increased considerably over prior years. And although a direct connection can’t be made, certain conclusions can be drawn.
“I’d attribute a lot of that to programs like the Colors for Our Community program,” he said.
While the end goal of the program is to help the community, it also has been good business for Golden Equipment. The community recognition around the charitable program is smart marketing, and when the charity-emblazoned piece of equipment has already been rented out, a large fleet of Volvo construction equipment is available to help get the job done.
At the end of the 12-month fundraising period, the rental machine simply remains in the rental fleet —but history has shown that it doesn’t stay there long. Bahrmann said each piece of equipment used for the program has eventually been purchased. “They still had all the logos and decals on them,” he said.
Since its start, the Colors for Our Community program has benefited El Ranchito de Los Ninos, Wounded Warriors Project, Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity, and currently the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation. Soon the company will designate another charity for the program, continuing its mission of giving back to the community that has contributed to its success.
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