Trailer Magazine

By popular demand

  • From the July 2018 issue.
By popular demand

As transport equipment rentals business, Rentco, moves into its 25th year of nationwide operations, with a truck and trailer fleet nearing 2,500 units, Bob Shier shares what it takes to excel in the industry.

In 1994, the Shier family realised that there was a gap in Perth’s rentals and leasing market, specifically for prime movers and trailing equipment. There simply weren’t many short-term rental options available at the time to satisfy the operational requirements of start-up transport businesses throughout Western Australia.

That same year, Bob Shier, established a small operation now known as Rentco and led from the front as Managing Director. “The demand for trailers was significant. We were spending a lot of time trying to get the funding needed to support the demand for equipment,” he says – adding that the business grew, opening additional branches in Brisbane, Townsville, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Adelaide.

Bob says that Rentco, from day one, has always been a customer-driven supplier. “We began by listening to our customers’ needs and tailoring well-presented equipment and local supply to their needs – this is why we are where we are today.”

As a testament to its family-focused ethos, Rentco maintains longstanding professional relationships with many of its valued customers, many dating back to the 90s. Over the years, the evolution of road transport equipment has been impressive, especially given the rise of Performance-Based Standards (PBS) and the push for more productive and safer equipment, according to Bob. “In the beginning, it was flat tops, tautliners, skels and drop deck trailers – the fleet now has over 70 trailer variants including Quad-Quad Super B combinations and super lightweight B-double skel sets. Rentco strives to remain at the forefront of innovation by supplying semi-trailers spec’d for efficiency and performance gains.”

Keen for a more global perspective on the commercial vehicle industry front, Bob recently travelled to Europe and the US. “It was interesting to see what is happening overseas because we need to ensure we remain at the forefront of what will happen next in the market,” he says – explaining that while Australia is leading the world in many areas, there are new, smart, technologies and clever ideas that should be implemented locally. “If we are not learning, we are standing still. There are rental fleets in the US totalling in excess of 60,000 trailers, with total trailer rental fleets combined across the US of 250,000. Rentco is heavily investing in technology as the industry demands ‘real time data’, which requires a meticulously-serviced fleet as well as the appropriate technology available to ensure improved safety for vehicle operators.”

Bob says that Rentco provides detailed reporting to empower fleet operators so that they can manage fleet utilisation, ensuring equipment is not sitting idle. “If we are not partnering with our customers to drive cost efficiencies in their business, then we are not doing our bit in the relationship. Rentco ensures equipment services are tracked and are carried out on time and correctly because equipment must be fit for purpose and must be in excellent/safe working condition at all times.”

Aside from developments in road transport equipment design, Bob emphasises that the inclusion of Rentraxx has been big. “The ability to ‘real time’ track our equipment, to be able to integrate our tracking system with our customer’s systems is an exciting proposition – we have completed testing with amazing results and are now fitting this equipment progressively to our entire hire fleet.

Our customers will be able to identify locations of trucks and trailers, routes taken, distances travelled and service alerts, all from their PCs in the office. This equipment can be added to our customers owned fleet as a standalone package if required, we have worked hard and invested heavily in Rentraxx – it will be a value add and will enhance our partnership with our customer base.”

Bob has noticed a change in industry trends: transport contracts no longer seem to be five-year-plus terms. “Manufacturers seem to want short-term contracts to continually test the market for pricing – this makes it difficult for transport companies to source finance for new equipment on short-term deals,” he says – explaining that Rentco builds equipment specific to the needs of the business, including branding. “Rentco is a solution-based, customer-centric family company. Our tracking systems will continue to evolve, and we aim to continue to be easy to deal with while providing cost-efficient solutions.”

Fast Fact
“Our commercial team are industry-proven to have performed and achieved at the highest level, and we select the best of the best and deliver that expertise to our customer base,” says Rentco Managing Director, Bob Shier.

Fast Fact
Rentco’s fleet is diverse, with over 2,000 trailers spread nationally, in at least 70 different variants. With the addition of rigid-bodied trucks and buses in multiple configurations and dual-cab mine spec’d utes, the transport equipment rentals business aims to be a multi-level supplier to the commercial vehicle industry Australia-wide.

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