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Producers pressing to make equipment purchases

By |  September 1, 2022
Turner Mining Group’s Keaton Turner says equipment dealers are less inclined to rent what little inventory they have left. Photo: P&Q Staff

Turner Mining Group’s Keaton Turner says equipment dealers are less inclined to rent what little inventory they have left. Photo: P&Q Staff

Aggregate producers employed a variety of tactics over the last two and a half years to not only battle the pandemic, but combat a series of supply chain issues that followed.

To counteract supply challenges, some aggregate producers purchased used equipment that cost less and was more readily available. When buying used equipment became less feasible, renting became a popular option to ensure jobs got done.

Recently, though, and as equipment inventories dwindled, producers shifted again to buying what’s available. Equipment dealers, meanwhile, are now in selling mode as opposed to renting.

Keaton Turner headshot

Turner

Keaton Turner, president of Turner Mining Group, experienced this change firsthand. Midway through 2020, Turner Mining Group rented about 80 percent of its equipment. Now, the company is feeling the pinch of having to purchase excess equipment that’s available as opposed to waiting on inflated lead times.

“We’ve had to resort to buying gear that we don’t currently need but will need, because it’s not going to be available,” Turner says. “We probably have an 80 percent-owned fleet, which, for a young company, is a strain on the business that we didn’t necessarily want. We cannot rent gear anywhere.”

Renting is still a possibility for smaller items, but Turner says dealers are less inclined to rent what little inventory they have.

“We can rent one-off little things like skid-steers or maybe a dozer here or there, but if we want to rent five or six articulated trucks or a big excavator, they’re just not there,” he says. “The dealers we deal with are not going to rent them when they can sell them.”

Additional perspectives

Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

Hubacz

Karen Hubacz, president of Bond Construction Corp., says her company is moving away from renting, as well. But rather than buying equipment, she is outsourcing jobs.

“I’m bringing in a separate crushing company to do things for me because I don’t have enough [equipment] to do that,” says Hubacz, who also serves as chair of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association. “It would just be easier for me to just call up an outside company and say: ‘Alright, I have this job, I want you to do this.’ We’ve never done that before. We’ve always done it in-house with our own crushers.”

Johnnie Garrison, vice president of sales at Superior Industries, says he is experiencing this trend as a manufacturer.

“We have a few rental units in stock, and if you look at 2020, rental utilization rates were 90-plus percent,” Garrison says. “Now, there is very little available for that because people are buying to ensure that they’re going to have it. Right now, our dealers typically would have dozens of units in stock for renting. Everything that they have is spoken for. It’s sold, and they have very little equipment available to rent out.”

This shift is due, in part, to a scarcity of reliable used equipment.

“There was a period of time where there was lot of used equipment on the market,” Garrison says. “Right now, you struggle to find any decent used equipment. It’s shifted from if you didn’t have the money, you rented everything, [to] now ‘we’re just buying everything that we can.’”

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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