Case Studies

Tates Rents Inc.

Community-oriented equipment rental serving Idaho contractors for 70 years

Family-owned and -operated Tates Rents Inc. has been in business since 1946. The legacy brand began as a scaffolding and home improvement equipment provider for homeowners and builders in Boise, Idaho, and has since expanded both internally and geographically. With 10 locations and approximately 100 employees, Tates Rents is the equipment rental company of choice for contractors in western Idaho.

Today, 60 percent of the company’s revenue comes through professional contractors, while the remaining 40 percent originates from the homeowner market. With 30 delivery trucks in the fleet, Tates Rents offers efficient delivery. “We’re a very reactive company,” says Joe Plehal, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “That’s what sets us apart from other equipment rental companies. We’re a family-owned business so we have the ability to be nimble and react to demand.”

Tates Rents’ attention to customer needs has been a driving force behind the business’ success over the years. Homeowners and contractors alike know they can count on the Tates Rents team to supply them with the equipment they need — when they need it.

Family values

After seven decades, Tates Rents still offers the personalized service that customers have come to count on. “It keeps us in touch with our community and our roots,” says Plehal. “It’s nice to serve and give back to a community that has supported us for 70 years. There are a lot of people in our area doing great things and we’re happy to be part of that.”

Because of the company’s relationships with customers and the community, most business is repeat or comes via word-of-mouth. “The Tate family is very conservative when it comes to advertising,” Plehal notes. “We seldom do billboards; we don’t pay for big ad campaigns. We rely on the fact that our name is out there in the community and that we are doing everything we can to make sure our customers have a wonderful experience. I’ve been here for 10 years and it has been pleasant for me to follow previous employees’ footsteps.”

In western Idaho, Tates Rents is a household name. Plehal recalls his business classes at Boise State University, where professors used his now-employer in examples and story problems. “The business is well-recognized here in the Treasure Valley for doing things right for so long,” he adds.

From a company structure standpoint, the business focuses on people, customers and its equipment. “With that comes a lot of trust and strong relationships,” says Plehal. “The owners’ trust for employees has been a major contributor to these relationships — the Tate family trusts the people behind our counters to do anything they want with a contract, no questions asked, to find the middle ground with customers and make every experience a positive one. That trust and respect really works well for us on so many levels. It is important that we help our customers complete their projects safely, on time and within budget. We’re in it together and that keeps us both profitable.”

Many of Tates Rents’ employees have been with the business for decades — some as long as 40 years. The sales team is not driven by commission. While many companies grow by creating a need in the market, Tates Rents’ policy is, “Everything you want, only when you need it.”

Growing to serve customers and communities

The Tates Rents team has been working overtime to pull together a new and improved larger store location in Boise. The new facility, several times larger than a standard location, is opening just in time for the company’s 70-year anniversary in 2016.

“Right now we’re in a transition period,” Plehal elaborates. “We’ve gone from a scaffold rental and mom-and-pop rental center to a larger business that facilitates rentals to both commercial and our residential neighbors. Our area has seen a large influx of commercial and residential growth — we are busting at the seams at our stores, leading us to bigger facilities and bigger yards. This project started when we moved our Meridian, Idaho, location to a larger facility.
It worked well so we’re doing another to keep up with demand. These larger locations make it easier for us to serve our customers and still deliver the same legendary service to homeowners and construction workers alike.”

This growth is driven by demand. As the company has expanded to meet the needs of the general equipment rental market, it has also incorporated some niche markets to serve the needs of existing customers. The concept behind the new and improved larger store is to build in efficiencies. Formerly, specialty products were housed at different locations. The new “super” store will offer all of the more common equipment inventory as well as specialty items.

As the business keeps up a steady pattern of growth, Plehal is thrilled to note that expansion means more resources to give back to communities. Recent community involvement includes annual participation in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure as well as an event called Helping High, a fundraiser for an organization that puts on a prom for homeless teenagers. Tates Rents also provided lifts for route setting for a national rock climbing competition, which the business sponsored. These are just a few of the hundreds of events that Tates lends a helping hand to. “I am honored to be part of a company that is so rooted in the community,” Plehal adds.

Even with a new “super” store location, the company maintains a familiar profile: Tates Rents Inc. is a family business that values community, relationships and quality.

Published on: February 1, 2016



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