By Sukanya Ray Ghosh
Local Rental Solutions thrives on trust and reliability.
By Sukanya Ray Ghosh
Located in British Columbia, Local Rental Solutions is a relatively new addition to the Canada’s equipment rental market scene. With two locations in the province, the company’s team comfortably serves all corners of central and northern B.C., including remote areas.
Local Rental Solutions might not have a decades-long history of established service but it comes with a team of experienced individuals. The rental store was born when experienced industry professionals saw an opportunity in the B.C. rental market.
“Local rental Solutions was established in December of 2016. A group of experienced individuals within the equipment rental industry really saw an opportunity or a shift in the market that we wanted to take advantage of. So we gathered a group of local investors to fund our start-up. The business has been growing like crazy ever since,” says Dustin Graham, president of the company. Graham is also Local Rental Solutions’ founding partner and investor.
In every business, the team that operates it is one of the key drivers of its success. According to Graham, the story is no different at Local Rental Solutions. Its team is the reason behind its tremendous growth since it was established.
“I believe that we’ve been able to pull together a very qualified team of local experts. These are people with a deep knowledge of the equipment rentals industry, as well as the local market. Especially because we have strong niches within our business,” he says.
Explaining his background, Graham says that he actually grew up in the equipment rental industry. His family had a rental business that had a customer base of contractors and was focussed on general rentals to homeowners, small business and contractors. Graham had been out of the rental market for about 10 years and spent some time with a retail business that he has since sold. However, he always had an affinity towards this market. After trying out other avenues, he realized his knack for the rental segment. There has been no looking back since.
The rental store currently has a team of around 20 people. The two locations are conservatively sized, being within 6,000- to 7,000-square-foot buildings. Graham adds that he has a farm nearby that helps with overflow storage.
Not just a rental shop
Although it is primarily an equipment rental company, Local Rental Solutions has more to offer. Graham notes that the rental shop also has an exclusive dealership line with Wacker Neuson’s equipment.
He adds, “We are a rental shop. We are an equipment dealer. We are very strong in certain niche areas such as aerial lift equipment, dirt works equipment and material handling. We also specialize in heating solutions and heating equipment throughout northern B.C. and even Yukon.”
As a northern business, heating solutions are quite a significant part of the rental shop’s offerings. Graham notes that they maintain contracting licenses with a team of qualified mechanics, gas-fitters and electricians to enable Local Rental Solutions to provide turnkey installed solutions to small- and large-scale projects.
“Within the heating sector, we’re able to build on rental revenue with other value-added solutions. It is an area where we have knowledge and significant capacity to tackle any size project,” notes Graham.
Having a dealership along with the rental segment of the business is a plus for Local Rental Solutions. It gives the shop additional buying power and adds to the financial strength of the rental business. It helps the shop expand its customer offerings to include the ability to sell or finance new and used equipment, notes Graham.
As for the equipment inventory, Graham says that turnover is evaluated on a case-to-case basis. Each segment or inventory needs to be turned over uniquely. Its not accounting based decision. Graham notes that the priority is to keep the inventory well maintained all the times.
In this highly competitive market, Local Rental Solutions has been able to grow well because of all the people associated with it.
Graham explains that any competitor can hang a shingle and offer the required equipment. But what works well for Local Rental Solutions is the experienced team members, with niche focuses and a top-notch customer service experience that the store is able to provide
“Our people make the difference, the ability to be responsive, nimble and do what’s right for the customers is what matters most. I think that’s what stands out for our clients when they’re doing business with Local Rental Solutions versus other competitors,” he says.
The rental store, like every other business, has had to face the repercussions of the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit in full-swing last year, the shop saw an impact on its revenue stream due to the slack in the market. However, since the construction sector remained essential, business went on. When the second wave hit, there was some further financial impact. However, overall, the shop has fared quite well, notes Graham.
He further adds that the team sees challenges as opportunities to pivot and deliver to the clients. “Even during the pandemic, we saw it as an opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships with our staff internally by improving our safety measures and facilitating continuous communication. At the same time, we were delivering the best service we could to our clients.”
Graham notes that Local Rental Solutions is on an excellent foundation to grow. He does think about determining the next big moves for the business.
A culture of reliability
When Local Rental Solutions was established in 2016, a lot of thought was put into what the store would stand for and what culture it would promote. Even the name has a great deal of significance, according to Graham.
He explains, “Local is really how we want to conduct ourselves within the market, how we want to support the local community and be involved. Rental stands for what our core business is going to be. We love being in the rental market. Solutions is the part that we focus on every day and always keep at the top of our mind. When clients come to us with challenges, we are here to offer solutions.”
Besides a meaningful name, the rental store abides by two taglines. The first one is “The smart choice.” The idea behind this is that the store offers smart choices both internally and externally.
“I like our staff to remember that everybody does have a choice. Clients have the choice whether they want to come here or not and even the team members have the choice to work here or not. It is important to remember that people have choices. It helps keep you focused on the right thing,” says Graham.
The other tagline, “Built on safety, trust and reliability,” is a key foundation piece for the business. Safety is first in everything they do. Trust is critical to maintain relationships.
“You have to be honest and upfront in your business dealings. The moment you are not trustworthy, there is an issue with the relationship, whether that’s between an employer and an employee, between co-workers, or between the shop and its customers,” says Graham.
He adds that reliability is equally important. The store wants the clients to rely on it to deliver solutions with excellence. There is no place for excuses. The team always strives to service client needs properly.
The taglines and messaging are used both internally and externally to great success. “I think that our clients really see that. They see that our team is committed, that we are reliable and we do what we say we’re going to do. It is really about having the right people within the right culture,” says Graham.
This work culture has worked especially in favour of Local Rental Solutions when it comes to building a team. The store has never had any challenge in attracting talent. Most people come in by word-of-mouth through the current employees and clients. And the store plans to continue driving success with this type of local culture.