Heavy Equipment Rentals

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION FOCUS HELPS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COMPANY EXPAND

Sep 20, 2010

Reliable, productive Komatsu equipment is essential

A little more than a decade ago, New Zealander Hayden Porter heard from an American friend that southern California’s construction market was booming. Porter thought it could be a good time to add a new location to his company’s heavy equipment rental business. So he flew to Los Angeles from his native country to scope out the area and he determined the information he got was solid.

Starting with a handful of machines, Porter opened Heavy Equipment Rentals (HER) in Murrieta and began serving the area with short- and long-term machinery rentals with a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction. The simple philosophy has helped HER grow to two locations, now in Corona and Pacoima, that carry more than 250 pieces of inventory to fit a wide range of needs.

Large earthmoving machinery is HER’s sole focus, and the company carries a large and diverse range of equipment types, including excavators, graders, trucks, dozers, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders and mobile crushers.

“Our growth has been steady, because our aim is simple,” said General Manager Kent Porter, who oversees HER operations now that his brother Hayden has returned to their home country. “Customer satisfaction drives everything we do. The goal isn’t to be the biggest rental house on the block, but we do strive to be the best and have a larger selection of heavy equipment for customers to choose from.”

Experience paves the way

That’s been the Porters’ aim since day one when Hayden opened HER’s initial location in 1999. He firmly believed he could succeed in the competitive southern California marketplace because his family had plenty of experience in equipment rentals to tap into. They’ve been renting equipment in New Zealand since 1945 under the name of Porter Hire.

Porter Hire is that country’s longest-established and largest independent rental company in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s now part of a larger entity known as the Porter Companies, which also encompasses four other equipment-services components.

“Our businesses were able to build and grow because we take the time to understand our customers’ needs,” said Kent. “We’ve applied that same business model with HER, and it’s served us well. Not only have we grown in terms of the volume of equipment in our inventory, but the service we offer as well.”

Service includes pick up and delivery of equipment with a fleet of lowboys. Customers can also come to one of the company’s yards and drop off or pick up a machine themselves. HER supports equipment with field service trucks that can handle routine and emergency on-site service.

“We make sure our machines are maintained at proper intervals, so customers can rest assured they’re getting equipment that’s reliable and won’t cost them significant downtime,” said Kent. “If service is needed, we can dispatch highly skilled technicians to practically any location within a couple hours.”

Reliable, productive equipment is essential

Service technicians are part of an overall group of nearly 30 employees who work at HER’s two locations. Among the staff are seven field sales coordinators, including Sales Manager Todd Hoskins. The sales team works with customers, most of whom are repeat renters, to ensure they have the proper machines for their jobsites.

HER’s machinery fleet includes several pieces of late-model Komatsu equipment purchased from Road Machinery, LLC. Porter noted that HER began carrying Komatsu right from the outset. HER has excavators up to the PC800LC-8 (nearly 185,000 pounds) and wheel loaders as large as the 353-horsepower WA500-6, along with dozers, trucks and crushers.

“Our operations in New Zealand and Australia have carried Komatsu equipment for a very long time, so we had a familiarity going in,” noted Porter. “It’s quality equipment that’s very reliable, so it fits in well with our goal of providing customers with machinery that’s productive.”

With its own technicians, HER handles nearly all service and repairs on its equipment, but calls on Road Machinery as needed for additional help. “We rely on Road Machinery for more technical issues,” explained Porter. “If I need something, I know I can call Account Manager Matt Brast, Product Support Rep Brian Swoboda, or anyone else at Road Machinery at any time. Our customers work all over southern California, and Road Machinery has several locations, so they can get to customers anywhere relatively quickly.”

Commitment to full service

HER has grown considerably since setting up operations in southern California, and Porter expects the growth to continue.

“Many of our customers only need a machine for a short period of time, so it makes sense to rent versus buy,” Porter pointed out. “I believe that’s always going to be the case, not just now when the economy is down. Our historical data points that out. HER’s goal is to be their rental house of choice, and we can do that by offering a full-service commitment to them. That commitment has brought us to this point, and will continue to carry us forward.”