Will Lowe’s new push turn rentals into a tool for growth?
Lowe’s announced earlier this week that it has its sights set on becoming a significant player in the tool rental market for professional construction trade customers and ambitious do-it-yourselfers working on home projects.
The chain’s tool rental departments will measure about 4,000-square-feet each and will be located in newly constructed space either in the form of an expansion of existing stores or built next to one. The first such location, which opened yesterday in Charlotte, NC, is part of a multi-year effort.
“For all of our customers, having the right tool is key to every project, but they may not always want to purchase a new tool or piece of equipment. Lowe’s Tool Rental helps customers save on the cost of owning, maintaining and storing the tools they need,” said Fred Stokes, senior vice president of pro sales and services for Lowe’s. “As the new home for pros, offering tool rental is just another way we are committed to keeping them working. Whether a pro’s tool fails on the job, needs a repair or they’re looking to try something new, tool rental will allow them to get back to the jobsite faster, saving them time and money.”
Lowe’s tool rental business will include new commercial-grade equipment for a wide variety of construction needs including concrete, drain cleaning, restoration and sanitation tools. Each department will be staffed with knowledgeable associates to serve customers.
Those looking to rent tools with a number of ways to order product including using an online reservation process and in-store kiosks. Digital documents for rentals can be viewed and signed using mobile devices.
The retailer’s push into tool rental puts it into an already big marketplace, estimated to be around $14 billion by the American Rental Association (ARA). Retailers in the home improvement space include Ace, Home Depot, Menards and True Value all currently offer rentals. Many other companies, large and small, specialize in renting equipment to the construction trade including everything from cement mixers to earth-moving backhoes.
John McClelland, ARA’s vice president of Government Affairs and chief economist, told Pipeline & Gas Journal earlier this year said the success of rental companies in the construction trade was due to those businesses becoming problem-solvers for their customers, helping them make more efficient business decisions and reducing the uncertainty that comes with making large capital investments in equipment.
- Lowe’s Launches Took Rental Program Nationwide – Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
- U.S. Equipment Rentals to Top $58 Billion in 2020: ARA – Pipeline & Gas Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Lowe’s making the right move with a concerted effort to establish itself as a viable source for tool rentals with both its professional trade customers and do-it-yourselfers working on home projects? Do you expect rentals both within Lowe’s business category and in others to continue to grow in the years ahead?