This is the ninth year that Rural Lifestyle Dealer has compiled and shared the most comprehensive look at equipment trends in the rural lifestyle market. We summarized the findings from our 2015 Business Trends & Outlook Report in our winter issue — sharing that nearly 84% of the responding dealers expect revenues to be as good as or better than last year. The complete 39-page report is now available, breaking down forecasts for U.S. and Canadian dealers as well as comparing optimism among AGCO, Case IH, John Deere, Kubota and New Holland dealers. (Email me to get a copy.)

This is the first year we asked dealers about rental opportunities — a revenue stream that dealers are split on. About 45% of dealers say they rent equipment, while about 54% don’t. This dichotomy shows rental offers real opportunity for some, while others may be deciding that a new business model and potential liability risk might not be worth it.

First, these statistics from the American Rental Assn. (ARA) show the opportunity for rental. The January ARA Economic Survey says that nearly 90% of those responding expect rental revenue to increase this year, with more than 40% of respondents anticipating double-digit growth.

RLD dealers listed these categories as the top 10 for rental in 2015, outlining ways for you to add or expand rental at your dealership.


Product Categories Rented (% of Dealers)


Tractors (40-100 HP)



Skid Steer Loaders



Tractors (<40 HP)






Post-Hole Diggers



Utility Vehicles



Front-End Loaders






Rotary Cutters





Opportunity often doesn’t come without risks and this recent article from ARA details one real-life scenario: “One landscaping company owner rented a riding mower on a long-term verbal contract. The first mower had engine problems and it was exchanged for a different mower by the rental company. The second mower’s original seat had been replaced with a suspension-type seat for comfort. The change affected the contact between the seat and its kill switch. A young man employed by the renter was operating the mower one afternoon. He claimed the mower went out of control, throwing him violently off the unit. He then landed on the ground with his right foot lodged under the blade shroud causing the majority of his foot to be severed…”             

It’s not a matter of saying “accidents happen” when it comes to equipment that came from your dealership and injuries that could have been prevented. Before you take on rental, do some homework and ready your dealership. Check out our story on the rental market in a previous issue (‘For Rent’ for Profit), including how to protect your dealership with the proper rental processes and insurance coverage. Learn what dealers have done to be successful in this growing segment.

And, be sure to check out the education and business resources from ARA. Tom Hubbell, ARA’s vice president of marketing and communication, told RLD: “The good thing is that dealers already have the equipment, the people to maintain the equipment and the facilities to be in the equipment rental business.”

Share your stand on rental. Is it an opportunity for you in 2015?