Jay Thaker is the Siteworks Systems rental marketing manager at Toro. Jay brings experience in marketing strategy and execution, channel development, and product development. At Toro, Jay is responsible for marketing through the rental channel and the development of rental products. He also has a responsibility for Toro’s small construction product line, including the e-Dingo™. Additionally, Jay leads the expanded marketing efforts of Toro’s electric product development projects and works closely with national accounts to ensure Toro products meet their expectations.
Q: What are your thoughts on the current overall health of the rental industry?
A: We stay closely connected with our rental representatives and take cues from them when it comes to assessing the overall health of the industry. They’re our strongest connection to rental stores and their customers, and when they are energized and excited, we are too. That’s certainly the feeling that we’ve had in the first part of 2020. However, there’s a lot of year left, and all of this is subject to change, but generally speaking, there’s a lot of excitement over our new products. We believe that not only are we providing our rental reps with more products to sell deeper into our partner rental organizations, but we also believe we’re providing rental stores with more options for their customers. Our general thought process is that when manufacturers focus on bringing innovative, yet practical solutions to the rental market, everyone wins.
Q: What do you think the future of the rental industry will look like? What are some upcoming trends you anticipate?
A: Technology with a purpose has been big for rental stores and their customers so far this year, and that aligns well with our strategy as a key equipment manufacturer in the rental segment. Rental store owners are meticulous and resourceful straight-shooters. They know exactly how many hours they have to rent a machine before they begin to see a profit, and they can see through technological gimmicks or innovation for innovation’s sake. We believe that providing solutions to the rental segment have to come with a high degree of practicality baked into them. If the technology is too complicated, rental stores won’t see the ROI they need to justify their capital equipment investments. If the technology is too basic, it’s easy for equipment to be commoditized and unable to differentiate from competitors. We believe the sweet spot is when we can bring a good idea to the table to solve an actual challenge for a good part of a rental store’s customer base. For example, the brand new e-Dingo™ 500 is a battery-powered compact utility loader that doesn’t sacrifice quality or performance..
Q: What are Toro’s plans for the rental channel?
A: For us, it’s a pretty simple formula that we believe will continue to work well for us in the future. We listen to the pain points of end-users and channel partners, and customers. We then give that feedback to our extremely talented team of engineers and product development folks, and let them do what they do best—develop products that are going to solve a problem and provide an impressive ROI for our rental store partners. A good example of this is the award-winning TRX walk-behind trencher line. We listened to the experts and learned that several rental stores have experienced a decent level of damage to their pedestrian trencher units, due to differing terrain and, in part, due to the inexperience of the operator. Misuse of the equipment can decrease trencher performance and potentially damage the engine or traction units. In really severe cases, it can result in an unusable piece of equipment. Our solution? We took the guesswork out of the operation of pedestrian trenchers with our new Intelli-Trench™ technology. This feature automatically delivers the right amount of power to the trencher chain based on the type of terrain and conditions of the ground. We effectively solved a widespread challenge in this product category in this industry. We’re going to continue to do more of that.
Q: How do you think the economy will play into the health of the rental industry?
A: The economy is ALWAYS a factor in the overall health of the rental industry. When there’s less confidence in the economy, people are less likely to make investments in capital equipment and renting becomes a more appealing option in some cases. When there’s a boom in the economy, some rental store customers will choose to instead purchase that same piece of equipment that they had been consistently renting. I am personally not a futurist or economist, but specifically for 2020, there will be some very high-profile elections taking place near the end of the year. Elections, regardless of political parties or incumbents, typically bring a degree of economic uncertainty with them, which can bode well for the rental industry. We’re optimistic that whatever happens this year on the election front, our products speak for themselves. There will always be a need for equipment built specifically for the rental industry, and we believe we have the very best options available on the market today.
Overall, the future of the rental space continues to look promising. Especially with the integration of technology and all-electric equipment, like the e-Dingo™ 500 with its power and performance which provides ease, efficiency, and precision.
For More Information
With roots dating back to 1914, Toro is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment including turf and landscape maintenance, snow management, rental and construction equipment, and irrigation solutions. Through a strong network of distributors, dealers, retailers, and rental stores in more than 125 countries, Toro helps customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, construction sites, and agricultural operations. For more, visit www.toro.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, March 2020
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