How do smaller independent rental companies manage economic downturns? Lindsey Anderson speaks with Jim Koontz, president of Michigan-based Aero Lift, Inc., a rental company that also sells, services and provides parts for SkyTrak telehandlers.
Koontz is no stranger to tough times. We first spoke in 2010, following the Great Recession, when he began to diversify his rental business. Back then, Koontz told ALH, “We had just taken in a machine on a trade that had blew an engine and I thought, ‘Man, I don’t want to put any more money into this thing,’” Koontz said. “So, we parked it and scratched our heads. Then that fellow called and asked for a drive line component, and, frankly, that was our ‘A-Ha!’ moment.”
In 2010, the Detroit market had a large SkyTrak population - between 2,000 and 2,500 SkyTraks within a 68-mile radius of downtown Detroit, Koontz says – so it was easy for him to focus on one brand.
“The used equipment business offers a tremendous advantage in that you look at it in the rearview mirror,” Koontz said. “The new equipment dealers are always trying to predict what’s going to happen. They’re always trying to serve the new market and there’s always a race to be new and improved. The used equipment business, you can go out and say, ‘What lives? What do people like? What has customer acceptance?’”
Over the last 10 years, Koontz and the Aero Lift team slightly re-invented their business, by working to become a go-to provider for all things SkyTrak. From engine refurbishment to outdated parts, Aero Lift offers SkyTrak owners the answers to their questions.
In this podcast, Koontz talks about the impact of Covid-19 on his business and how the rental company’s diversification from a decade ago is what keeps them going today. To read the interview with Koontz from 2010, click here. To visit Aero Lift’s website, follow this link.