City Rentals has been serving the Ontario, CA market for 52 years. The independent rental company, lead by Jeff Roberts, offers a little bit of everything for customers – from boom and scissor lifts to party supplies. Roberts, who has been with the company for 44 years, was recently named Executive Director of the California Rental Association (CRA.) ALH spoke with him about his background, the equipment rental market in California during Covid-19 and what his goals and ambitions are for the CRA.
“The city of Ontario decided that because we provide equipment, which a lot is for the supply chain business, that we were essential,” Roberts says when asked how Covid-19 has impacted business. “So, we have been sending equipment to warehouses and logistics centers. We also did have equipment down at our local hospitals.”
These contracts kept the company afloat, and while Roberts admits April business was significantly down for the one-location company, May provided a needed rebound. “It’s been a great month,” he says. “We’re back to where we were a year ago and we’re excited about that.”
Part of the momentum can be attributed to winning back business, a portion of which had been lost to retail giant Home Depot, which invested heavily into the rental side of its business in 2019.
“Over the years, Home Depot has taken away some of the homeowner and contractor business,” Roberts says. “Not only for independent rental yards, but perhaps even the nationals.”
With Covid-19 shortening business hours, and long lines at Home Depot keeping people waiting, Roberts says customers approached City Rentals for their needs.
“We didn’t go out and solicit it, but we were able to pick up some of those customers,” he says. “It was nice to get some of them back and perhaps we’ll be able to keep them on and off.”
To learn more about City Rentals, the California rental market and Roberts’ appointment as CRA Executive Director, read the full interview set to run in the July issue of Access, Lift & Handlers.