Still “generally a great time to be in rental,” says ARA

By Mike Brezonick09 March 2023

Equipment rental revenue in the U.S. surpassed its pre-pandemic highs in 2022, ending the year as a $56.1 billion industry, according to new figures from the American Rental Association (ARA).

In 2023, the United States equipment rental industry’s growth will soften, but still grow, ARA said in its latest forecast. Year-over-year growth in 2022 was around 13.5% and year-over-year growth is expected to be around 5.3% in 2023 and 1.9% in 2024. Despite a slowdown, positivity is evident among ARA members with large and small operations.

Photo: United Rentals

“In speaking with rental companies across the United States and Canada, despite some unprecedented headwinds, their businesses are strong,” said Tom Doyle, ARA vice president of program development. “It’s generally a great time to be in rental.”

ARA’s third annual construction equipment survey, released in January, showed fleet growth in all 30 product groups. Rental companies in North America that responded are estimating a 58% increase in new equipment purchases. Of those respondents, 79% said their orders included mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and 59% said their orders included earthmoving equipment.

Growth will also slow in the U.S. for general tool rental revenue in 2023. This will be driven by weakness in the construction markets, especially residential. Year-over-year growth in 2022 was 6.5%. In 2023, 2.8% growth is estimated and in 2024 growth is estimated at 2.9%.

Federal policy and investments will continue to affect the rental industry, from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts to the tax policy of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to $185 billion available for new projects.

“The outlook for equipment rental continues to be positive,” said John McClelland, Ph.D., ARA vice president for government affairs and chief economist. “With significant funding for infrastructure coming in 2023, the demand for equipment will continue to grow.

“In addition, more funding is coming from the Inflation Reduction Act as we begin to build out the electricity infrastructure for both vehicles and equipment.”

In 2022, Canadian equipment rental revenue totaled $4.5 billion. Overall in 2023, stagnant growth is anticipated with a rebound expected in 2024. Projected 2023 rental revenue for Canadian construction and industrial equipment is $3.8 billion, with slow growth from 2024 to 2026.

Projected Canadian general tool rental revenue in 2023 is $969 million, a decrease of 1.5% from 2022. However, a strong rebound of 4.7% growth is expected in 2024 to reach more than $1 billion in revenue.

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