Case Studies

Champion Rentals Inc.

Serving Houston contractors and subcontractors since 2002

The Horsley family has been in the rental business for more than 30 years. In 1982, James Horsley established Lonestar Rentals, an equipment rental company that he sold in 1997. His employees were working for a conglomerate, so when he established Champion Rentals Inc. (Champion) in 2002, most of his staff followed.

For the last 12 years, Champion has grown, taking over a large share of the Houston construction market. The business has grown and diversified significantly, consistently adding new products and services to the lineup.

Today Champion has become a trusted source for new and used equipment. The business offers a large inventory of equipment for sale, as well as rentals and contractors supplies. Aaron and Jason Horsley, James’ two sons, are proud to be the second-generation operators of Champion.

Together, James, Aaron and Jason oversee a staff of approximately 70 employees. The rental division is the bread and butter of the business, though the team’s tagline is: ‘Everything from duct tape to bulldozers.’ A strong sales and rental crew works closely with clients to fill their needs, whether for a new addition to the equipment fleet, or finding the right fasteners for a drywall project.

Diverse products

Champion’s target market includes general contractors and subcontractors throughout the Greater Houston area. Construction professionals have come to rely on the company for a diverse selection of products to suit the needs of changing project specifications. Whether a contractor needs a forklift, a backhoe or a generator, Champion delivers. With an in-house service department, equipment goes through regular maintenance, ensuring efficiency and reducing downtime for customers.

The business represents several major equipment brands in sales and rentals, including Honda, Yanmar, Stihl, Oztec, Thompson Pump, Robin Subaru, Allmand, MMD, Diamond Products, Husqvarna, APT, Bosch, Makita, Ditch Witch, Toro and E-Z Drill.

“We buy only new equipment and carry only the best products available,” Aaron elaborates. “We are a Haulotte dealer, which is one of the top lift brands in the world. Other brands include Wacker, Airman, MBW, Case, John Deere, Atlas Copco, Dynapac and Gehl.”

Champion provides reliable equipment, as well as the smaller details that help contractors get the job done. The supply end of the business offers ladders, hand tools, moving equipment, paint tools, fans and heaters among a broad inventory. This level of diversity draws business in time and again; creating a one-stop shop for the company’s many customers.

Personal service

While a large selection is certainly a selling point for many of Champion’s customers, it is the team’s high standards for service that keep customers coming back. “We set ourselves apart because of our decision-making power,” says Aaron. “Our family is actively involved in the daily operations of our business. We can address questions or concerns that day, and if a customer has an emergency we can respond immediately.”

The team also works together to serve as a resource for customers. “We get involved directly in projects, by offering advice,” Aaron elaborates. “That is really our specialty. We care about our customers. We want them to succeed so we treat them how we would want to be treated. We provide them with the products and services that suit their needs, because we care about their success.”

A strong family atmosphere has also been a major contributor to the team’s success. The Horsleys know Champion’s employees are the company’s greatest assets. The family takes a lot of pride in working with employees to help each team member grow professionally and the company also offers the needed resources to excel. “We hold high standards because our future is in the development of our staff,” Aaron explains.

Value is a huge factor in driving sales. More than equipment and materials, Champion is selling a promise of performance. The machinery, tools and other supplies the crew offers come with a guarantee of service and quality that is hard to match.

Looking ahead

Success has not come easy. Like many other suppliers for the construction industry, Champion faced challenges stemming from the recent economic downturn. With many large projects put on hold, contractors stopped buying new equipment and frequently were not spending as much money renting. The market is improving, though, and Aaron is optimistic about the coming years. “The economy is getting better,” he explains. “We have seen a lot more work going on. Houston is coming back, though it may take a few more years until we see a full recovery.”

On top of that, Houston is undergoing major infrastructure upgrades. Many projects that had the brakes hit a few years ago are underway now and contractors are getting busy again. Aaron and his team expect to see a steady increase in volume from these projects.

As the business grows, Aaron and his team face a new set of challenges. “Our focus now is our employees,” he explains. “We are working on a program to develop our employees in a way which will help us maintain high standards of service. We are also developing a program to train new people faster and introduce people who have never been in the industry to have a career in the rental industry.”

With revenue on the incline and a growing geographic footprint, Champion is looking ahead to take on new opportunities. The business is strong after more than a decade of service. Texas holds a lot of potential for the crew. By monitoring and managing growth, Champion Rentals Inc. will continue to provide high value products and services to the construction market around Houston.

Published on: March 25, 2015


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