558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
The right tools for the job
Economy Rentals provides a host of choices for spring cleanup
Jon McIntosh and his father, Don McIntosh own and operate Economy Rentals
March 11, 2013
Jon McIntosh, who with his father, Don, owns the local rental company. “In the winter time, when it’s cold outside, nobody wants to do anything. I don’t even want to do anything. Of course, there’s still a need for certain things, like if your septic (system) plugs up, you can’t wait ‘till spring.”
With spring right around the corner, McIntosh said his hot rental items will soon be roto-tillers, trenchers, lawn care equipment, and the like. Things like floor sanders, paint sprayers, trailers and boom lifts, though, are in demand pretty much year-round.
If the job is a bit more than a sprinkler installation, you might need a bulldozer. Economy Rentals has one. Maybe you could use a backhoe. McIntosh has one of those, too. Their inventory runs the gamut from a 34,000-pound excavator to the smallest, and most obscure of tools.
“We have a lot of specialty tools,” he said, “things like PEX crimpers, for PEX pipe (cross-linked polyethylene tubing). It’s like a hundred-dollar tool. You need it once when you’re doing your plumbing, and then you don’t. You’ll probably never use it again. “
Needing a tool only once is definitely a good reason to rent one.
McIntosh recounted that when he and his father needed a piece of equipment, but couldn’t find one to rent locally, they decided Prineville needed a good rental company. With solid business backgrounds and mechanical knowledge, they opted to give it a try.
They started small.
“We just did it as we could,” he said. “In the years when things were real good, of course, we grew pretty fast. We leased a lot of our equipment — kind of a lease to own type of thing — and grew really fast. At one point, we had close to a million dollars’ worth of inventory. Lately we’ve been kind of skinnying down because there’s not the demand like it used to be.”
McIntosh said their purposeful downsizing is what has kept them afloat during these hard economic times. Their foresight to sell off some of their equipment and pay off all the leases on their remaining inventory was key. Had they not, he said, “There’s no way we’d be here today.”
“Back in ‘08, ‘07, it was pretty evident that our (national) economic problems weren’t just going to go away,” he said. “There’s going to be a long-term problem, and that’s how we’ve been looking at it.”
The type of equipment rented mirrors the economy. In the better years, he said, heavy equipment used in building and earth moving, along with other contractor-related tools — made up 60 percent of their business. Today it’s only 20 percent, with the rest primarily homeowner-related.
“Now our most-rented equipment is more household things,” said McIntosh. “We do a lot with scissor lifts and boom lifts. Again, not as much as we used to, but there’s still a market there. If people want to save some money and trim their own trees, they come here because we’re the only one that has lifts in this area.”
It’s always a challenge to keep stuff running, he said, and it’s critical to stay on top of the needed maintenance. One of their greatest struggles is trying to convince customers that yes, they are expected to take reasonable care of the equipment they rent.
“I can remember we had just finished painting a 40-foot boom lift and just put the new stickers and decals on,” said McIntosh. “Somebody took it out, rented it over a weekend, painted their house with it, and got paint all over it, and didn’t want to pay us for it. They just figured that was part of the rent.”
McIntosh, who moved here 12 years ago after selling a Portland-area business, said they’re just doing their best to serve people and make them happy, to the best of their ability.
“You can never make everybody happy,” he said from the perspective of a seasoned businessman, “but we sure try. It’s a small town and we know word travels fast. We certainly have been appreciative of the support we’ve had. At the same time (since they’ve been in business) there’s been at least three other rental yards that I know of that have come and gone.
“I’d never go back (to Portland). I have no desire to go back. I love this town. It’s a nice place to raise kids.”
Located in Prineville at 1190 N.W. Lamonta Rd.
Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon.-Fri., and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.