Sims Crane & Equipment
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Sims Crane & Equipment
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Tommy Sims founded Sims Crane & Equipment (SCE) in 1959 as a small operation in Florida. The business is now in its third generation of family operation. Erika Sims and Dean Sims II both serve as executive vice presidents of the business, with Erika leading the sales department and Dean heading up marketing.
“My grandfather started this company with little more than an old, busted up winch truck and built the company from there,” Dean explains. “He bought his first crane about three years later. We opened up our second office and first branch operation in 1969, in Orlando, Fl. The business worked closely serving construction and maintenance operations at Disney World, which became a major launching point.
“In the 1990s, my father and his brother were partners in ownership,” he continues. “My father, whose name is also Dean, bought out my uncle in 1996. He is now the sole owner of the business. In 2001, we started merging with other local crane companies. We were buying out people who had been in business for 20 to 30 years and were ready to get out of the industry. That resulted in larger growth for us. We now have moved beyond serving as a local company. We are more on the scale of a regional business and serve most of the state. We have ten locations across the state and we operate from Jacksonville and Gainesville south. We occasionally have out of state rentals, but our operators only work in state.”
A Unique Market Share
Dean and his team consider the business mainly as a service operation. “Materials not a major part of it,” he notes. “Mostly we are an operator service and our supply is mostly our time. We sell time, skills and labor. When we purchase new cranes, the supply chain is certainly a factor. Economic conditions play big role in that. When the macro economy is booming, cranes become scarce. The manufacturers we deal with are supplying a global market, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East, India, and South America. These are all growing markets for new equipment. Especially in South America, safety awareness has really grown in last five to 10 years. Those companies are now competing with us for new equipment.
As far as work goes, SCE has established a longstanding relationship with the phosphate industry. “They have sustained our business throughout good times and bad,” Dean explains. “That relationship has allowed us to elevate to the level we have as an industry leader in crane rental in North America.” With revenue on the rise, SCE is making major waves in the local market and picking up unique, challenging projects left and right.
“We just did a job at the Kennedy Space Center where we set retired shuttle rockets outside the visitors center main entrance,” Dean explains. “For us, that is a pretty simple job. Another interesting project was our launch of the Duck Dynasty houseboat on Lake Lloyd, which is part of the infield at the Daytona 500 Speedway. We are making great footprint in Daytona in recent years. There is not a whole lot over one story there except beach condos, but we have done a good job getting into a few different things there.”
Continued Growth from Within
SCE has not made any major geographic expansions in the last year, although Dean and the team remain open to opportunities. “We have right around 250 employees,” he notes. “And we have doubled our market share in Orlando in the last 18 months. We have definitely grown, just not in terms of our geographic footprint. We have purchased more equipment for our existing locations and we have several markets where he have seen major growth.
“Having opened the Orlando location in 1969, the growth we have seen there is really a big deal for us,” he continues. “Jacksonville, Daytona and Fort Myers are newer operations for us. We opened the Jacksonville branch in 2007 and we are seeing growth there too. That is our focus right now, expanding our market share in our existing locations.”
With a wide range of available equipment and skilled operators, SCE is providing leading service. The company is one of the largest of its kind in the United States, and the team wants to continue to reach out to new clients in the region. With over 50 years in the market, Sims Crane & Equipment continues to offer quality equipment as well as experience, expertise and a memorable client experience.
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