In the North American equipment rental industry, there are thousands of options for construction equipment rentals from thousands of large and small rental yards and companies. However, within the past decade a few online equipment rental aggregators or marketplaces have disrupted the multi-billion dollar industry. The most prolific include California based BigRentz, Missouri based EquipmentShare, and DOZR with its headquarters in Ontario, Canada. Other online marketplaces, such as Getable and Kwipped offer construction equipment rental among a larger selection of rental equipment, materials, and services. In addition, there are regional online marketplaces such as RentalYard and Heavy Equipment Rentals of Texas. Finally, some traditional rental companies, such as United Rentals and Sunbelt Rentals offer equipment rental through their online platforms, but are limited to only the equipment they own.
Overview and History
- According to the BigRentz website, it is the largest equipment rental network. They claim they lead “the equipment rental industry by using innovative technology to streamline the rental process for both the customer and equipment rental partners.” The online marketplace matches renters of construction equipment with rental companies of all types of equipment and services.
- The company connects renters to more than 4,000 rental equipment partners with over 10,000 locations found in all 50 states by simplifying “the procurement and logistics challenges of renting construction equipment”.
- Equipment World likens BigRentz to Google, but for heavy equipment rental. The company is described as “a one-stop shop where anybody, anywhere in the U.S. can find the machine they need and rent it. Actually, it’s a bit more convenient than Google. There’s no phone numbers to deal with, no locations to track down. BigRentz does all of the calling and procuring for you.”
- Founded in 2012, the equipment rental marketplace has received 4 funding rounds: the latest two for a total of $25 million from St Cloud Capital and Tokyo based ITOCHU Corporation.
- Pitchbook lists the privately owned company as an “online construction equipment rental marketplace“, that “streamlines the rental process for both the customer and the supplier by simplifying the procurement and logistics challenges of renting construction equipment for customers and drive revenue, broaden their reach and increase their overall utilization for equipment suppliers.”
- In 2012, Dallas Imbimbo partnered with Stephen Jesson and Nick Kovacevich and began buying rental related domain names with the goal of owning the online space in the industry. A 2017 Inc. article explains, “Over the course of the next year, they fulfilled rental orders using local companies in order to validate their concept. They knew they were onto something huge when they started scoring national-level contracts with the top rental companies.”
- BigRentz “offers equipment rental customers the ability to order equipment online, track the order and manage it all in one portal”, which was a brand new concept in the industry at the time.
- Its LinkedIn page provides a wealth of company information and has almost 3,500 followers.
- Full financial details are not provided by the company since it is privately held. However, D&B estimates the revenues of BigRentz at $22 million for 2020.
- Growjo lists the company’s annual revenue at an estimated $26.1 million and it employs approximately 90 employees.
- In 2019, BigRentz CEO Scott Cannon stated in detailing the movement online, “The number of people using phones for sourcing rental equipment on our site went up to 47 percent, an increase of 8 percent from the same time last year”, for first quarter 2019. He continued, “Meanwhile, customers using tablets to source equipment also grew by 5 percent, compared to 1Q 2018. This puts the total percentage of contractors using some sort of mobile device at 52 percent, making it the most popular form for sourcing equipment.” And concluded, “In comparison, our data shows searches via desktop dropped from 58 percent in the first quarter of 2018 to 49 percent this year. During 1Q this year, we also saw direct online booking for all types all equipment increase by 7 percent to 33 percent. That means contractors are sourcing, booking and paying online, without making phone calls.”
- In March of this year, BigRentz merged with Illinois based crane, telehandler and aerial lift rental company Lizzy Lift, but the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The next month, the company closed $15 million in private funding that is facilitating its rental category expansion as well as acquiring Atlanta-based Equipment Management Group (EMG).
- Equipment categories include lifts, forklifts and material handling, earthmoving equipment, compaction equipment, and cranes.
- Big Rentz lift category includes boom lifts, scissor lifts, and single person lifts.
- Earthmovers offered by the platform include backhoes, large and mini excavators, bulldozers, trenchers, payloaders, skid-steers and motor graders.
- In addition, the marketplace rents construction site services equipment, such as generators, trash dumpsters, storage containers, porta-potties, and portable light standards.
The Platform Marketplace
- Searching for a piece of equipment is straightforward since the platform lists pictures of every piece of equipment available in its marketplace. The renter simply chooses the piece of equipment they want, and BigRentz does the rest. After choosing a piece of equipment, the renter receives it at the jobsite.
- After placing an order for a piece of equipment, the renter receives a text and email with a link to the customer portal where details of the rental agreement are found.
- QuickRentz serves as the fulfillment platform, a back-of-house tracking and ordering system. It is basically a queue of all work orders for rentals that need to be filled: matching the renter with a supplier. The platform sends a request to local area suppliers of construction equipment detailing “what machine is needed, where and when it’s needed, and the rate BigRentz is offering to pay the rental house for it.”
- The final step is for the supplier to accept the rental offer.
- For the suppliers of the equipment, BigRentz Chief Technology Officer Liam Stannard explains, “The data that we provide to our suppliers is crucial. They are already able to see their market locally. Traditionally, that would be all they know about other than word of mouth.”
- The platform is able to identify which types of machines are renting well in various parts of the country. It is also able to determine “what machines are most needed by aggregating the reasons why suppliers can’t accept a rental, whether it be rate or supply”, a crucial piece of data that has been absent in the industry via traditional equipment rental methods.
- Stannard also detailed, “From that data, we can see areas where there is lack of supply and we can go back to our suppliers and say, ‘You know, we had a really hard time finding warehouse forklifts in this area, maybe you should consider that data point when you’re doing your fleet planning.”
- Using data culled by the marketplace, “BigRentz can identify machine types in high enough demand to influence future fleet purchases for its suppliers.”
- The company’s CEO, Scott Cannon, explained the online equipment marketplace acts “as a sales and marketing arm for the small, independent rental companies, who don’t feel like they have the budget, the knowhow or the wherewithal to compete with the larger companies online”.
- In addition to the equipment matching marketplace, the rating system used by renters to rate suppliers is allowing smaller rental yards with great service to expand, as more renters employ their equipment through rentals.
- Many other smaller, yet important, details can be found in this interview of CTO Stannard by ForConstructionPros.com.
Overview and History
- Ontario, Canada based DOZR is very similar to BigRentz in that they offer to “compare available equipment rentals from thousands of suppliers across our national network to find the construction equipment that best suits your rental needs.” However, their initial focus was in heavy equipment rentals.
- The company claims to be the “largest online equipment rental marketplace offering equipment from suppliers ranging from large national rental houses to small regional rental companies.”
- The equipment marketplace was founded in 2015 and facilitates “the short and long-term rental of heavy equipment“.
- In a 2016 article, TechCrunch called DOZR an Airbnb for dozers, then detailed DOZR’s $1.9 million in seed funding that helped launch the platform.
- By 2017, DOZR had expanded outside of Canada entering the rental market in New Jersey. Subsequently, they added equipment rental coverage in various large-market locations in Florida.
- The company’s LinkedIn page provides a more company details and has almost 1,700 followers. As well, it lists 41 employees.
- Recently, the company announced the addition of WebStores. The online equipment rental software allows current equipment rental stores to enhance their own existing websites by using the DOZR platform for equipment rentals.
- DOZR also provides a website, DOZR Hub, dedicated to the construction industry by highlighting various construction related topics from equipment renting, ‘Dirt Stories’ blog, ‘How it’s built’, construction tips, and equipment information assistance.
- Even though DOZR is a privately held company and does not publicly disclose their financial information, D&B estimates the company’s annual revenue at $5.17 million, and states DOZR employs 28 people. (Please note D&B misstates the company’s industry.)
- The company’s seed funding of $1.9 million was invested by Fair Ventures in 2016.
- In Oct 2018, DOZR won a $1 million grant through VentureClash. Then in early 2019, the company received an additional $14 million in Series A funding from Base Camp Equity Partners and Juan Carlos Mas.
- DOZR claims their marketplace facilitates a cost savings of up to 40% less than traditional equipment rental methods.
- DOZR has 15,000 suppliers in throughout Canada and the United States, but does not show on their website specific locations of all suppliers or areas covered. Thus, it is unclear if they provide rental coverage in all 50 states. It appears they have substantial coverage in Canada.
- The company expanded into the U.S. in New jersey and Florida. Other U.S. locations covered are unclear.
- Equipment offered through the platform tends to be mostly heavy construction equipment including bulldozers, excavators, payloaders, skid-steers, articulated dump trucks, telehandlers, lifts, and backhoes.
How it Works
- The steps of renting equipment through the DOZR platform include searching for and comparing equipment, booking online, then simply start working (once the equipment arrives).
- In addition, the company “provides heavy equipment rentals for a wide variety of contractors in the construction and agricultural industries”.
- A unique feature added on DOZR’s platform is the ability to view a video of the piece of heavy machinery that may be rented. CEO Kevin Forestell explained, “With video Dozr will be able to show the condition of equipment as it leaves and as it comes back to a renter, or even how it is used when it’s on the job site.”
- Another important aspect of the DOZR marketplace includes insurance coverage for the equipment rentals. Traditional rental houses and BigRentz require contractors to have (or obtain) their own company insurance to cover equipment rentals.
Overview and History
- EquipmentShare “rental yards in 35 cities across the U.S. provide construction professionals with heavy equipment rental services, smart jobsite solutions and asset management products.”
- The company offers construction equipment rentals, software that allows the ability to track equipment, and owning equipment through purchases.
- The Missouri based online platform was founded in 2014 and is “dedicated to helping contractors with technology enabled services that impact contractors’ bottom line. EquipmentShare enables the measurement of the construction environment with its Track technology. This data is used to provide insight and control over a historically chaotic environment that is in desperate need of this holistic solution.”
- EquipmentShare’s website and mobile app allow construction related contractors to locate and rent equipment for jobs from one another, instead of renting from more expensive traditional providers, “or in lieu of buying large, expensive equipment that they may not need on a regular basis”.
- The company’s telematics system “allows them to automatically gather data about their equipment, whether it’s parked, being used on a job, or rented out. The data are displayed on a digital dashboard that’s easy to read on a mobile device or PC.”
- “EquipmentShare’s enterprise suite is OEM-agnostic and can track any piece of equipment, regardless of brand, to help fleet managers monitor assets, prevent theft and machine misuse, track employee hours and shifts, increase machine utilization, and digitize maintenance and work orders to avoid unplanned downtime.”
- In addition, the company created a robotics division that explores autonomous equipment capabilities. “EquipmentShare’s approach to construction automation differs from other solutions present in the heavy equipment space. EquipmentShare’s Robotics platform enables existing machines to become self-operating and does not require the purchase of additional autonomous assets.”
- Its LinkedIn page provides many company related details and has over 31,000 followers. The page lists 749 employees of the company.
- D&B estimates current annual revenues of the company at $44.63 million.
- However, GrowJo reports an estimated annual revenue of $212 million and funding rounds of $97 million.
- The privately held company is listed as having received approximately $58 million in multiple funding rounds from 21 investors.
- Early company funding rounds included $2.1 million from multiple investors in 2015; $5.5 from Romulus Capital the following year; and $26 million in early 2017 from Insight Venture Partners.
- PitchBook shows there have been at least 8 funding rounds, although it does not disclose the details of each through its free-version.
- The company employs almost 2,000 people, according to one of its co-founders.
- EquipmentShare offers equipment rentals in 27 states and 1 location Aukland, New Zealand, among their 52 physical facilities.
- Its service centers are located in Texas, Florida, Missouri, and New Zealand.
- EquipmentShare offers a full line of heavy construction equipment for rent, including earthmoving machinery, compaction, telehandlers and lifts, power generating equipment, and material handling and storage.
- In addition, they offer rentals for the landscape industry, tractors for agriculture, climate control apparatus, compressed air compressors, concrete tools and equipment, power tools, hydraulic equipment such as pumps, lighting, welding related equipment, and safety and communications equipment.
- The platform also connects renters with event planning equipment suppliers.
How it Works
- The online construction equipment marketplace is high-tech. Its platform “gives users real-time data about the location and usage of their various machines or vehicles they’re renting out.”
- They act as an asset management platform for suppliers that wish to rent out their equipment. The company allows contractors to browse equipment, pay for the rental and track all aspects of the equipment’s delivery and pick-up.
- Equipment Share’s platform collects data across its vast network of equipment serving as predictive analytics for contractors and pinpoints when equipment is set to breakdown or requires particular maintenance.
- Uniquely, EquipmentShare “sends technicians out to install the ES Track system on contractors’ equipment to get them started. The system, and installation service, has helped contractors get ready for a new federal regulation set to take effect later this year, called the ELD rule, which requires drivers to use “electronic logging devices,” to record driving time, hours of service and more about their fleets.”
- Related to the technology itself, EquipmentShare’s 3 tech offerings “are powered by a software platform that gathers and updates data in real-time about the available equipment, tracking their location and status, and IoT to monitor the equipment to provide preventative maintenance. Their platform was built cloud-first in AWS using many of the native services like Elastic Beanstalk in their software development workflow. The monolithic nature of the application started to cause issues including test isolation, and branch contention.”
- One investor stated, “There was a barrier on the supply side to get owners of fleets of equipment to part ways with it for a time. If they can see their equipment in real time and how it is getting used, if they can know that people are using it properly, safely and all, you remove that.”
- Founded in 2010, Getable’s purpose is “to make it easier to connect contractors with the equipment they needed to get a job done. It offers free-to-download apps that enable construction crews to track equipment in the field that they already own, and to manage orders for equipment that comes from third-party rental agencies.”
- “The app gives contractors more choice for vendors to rent from, enabling them to choose based on an existing relationship, negotiated pricing, or volume-based incentives. Getable takes a 10 percent commission on any equipment ordered through the app.”
- It is described as the Uber for equipment rental. The company initially concentrated on West-coast markets, then expanded in the U.S.
- The online platform “brings together multiple rental options for building materials, such as cranes, vehicles, excavators or rammers, and enables users to compare and get the most advantageous rates. They carry out digital marketing actions on behalf of brands, include an insurance policy and charge a percentage for each rental made.”
- Their story explains they are “a leader in lead generation for the construction equipment rental industry, and in 2014 expanded to include services for homeowners and property managers.”
- San Francisco based Getable’s annual revenue ranges between $2.35 million and $15 million, as well as receiving over $10 million in funding.
- While not only focused on construction equipment, their rental equipment lines include traditional heavy machinery, such as loaders, excavators, backhoes, lifts, and skid steers.
5. United Rentals
- Legacy rental company United Rentals offers a complete line of construction related equipment throughout 49 U.S. states and 10 provinces in Canada. All of their locations, 880, are company owned and provide equipment owned and serviced by the company.
- “Founded in 1997, United Rentals is the largest equipment rental company in the world, with a store network nearly three times the size of any other provider and locations in 49 states and ten Canadian provinces.”
- Their online platform offers equipment rental from dozens of construction related equipment lines.
- The company’s 2019 annual revenues were $9.35 billion, they employ more than 19,000 people, and include over 1,000 branches located in North America and Europe.
- The other legacy construction equipment rental company is Sunbelt Rentals.
- Providing equipment rental in both the U.S. and Canada, South Carolina based Sunbelt has hundreds of physical locations, mainly in the Eastern United States.
- “A huge rental equipment company in the US, Sunbelt specializes in the rental and retail sale of industrial machinery, construction equipment, vehicles, pumps, aerial platforms, power generators, portable air conditioners, scaffolding, traffic safety products, compressed air equipment, and tools through roughly 425 rental locations in about 40 states, including 525 full service stores and 30 inside Lowe’s stores. Founded in 1983, the company serves customers in commercial, residential, municipal, and service industries. Sunbelt is a principal subsidiary of UK-owned Ashtead Group.”
- Its 2020 annual revenue is estimated at $2.31 billion and employs almost 8,500 people.
- They claim to be the “premiere rental equipment company in North America by offering a highly diversified product mix including general construction equipment, industrial tools, pumps, power generation, climate control & HVAC, shoring solutions, scaffolding, and remediation and restoration equipment.”
- Sunbelt Rentals has more than 550,000 pieces of equipment and tools located throughout their network of service and rental centers.