Case Studies

Theros Equipment: Leading the Equipment Rental and Sales Industry

  • Written by: Theros Equipment: Leading the Equipment Rental and Sales Industry
  • Produced by: Theros Equipment: Leading the Equipment Rental and Sales Industry
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Joel Theros initially founded Virginia-based Theros Equipment in 1996 as an equipment dealership to sell several lines of new equipment and parts. Eventually, Theros Equipment added equipment rental to its line of services, which quickly became the driving success of the business. Theros Equipment is now widely considered one of the leading providers of equipment in the greater Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia region.

The business model for Theros Equipment came from Joel’s boyhood experience; his father used to own and operate McLean Rentals, for which Joel worked when he was in high school and through his early 20s.

Joel began Theros Equipment with less than a dozen employees. However, within five years, he was able to open up a second shop and start dabbling in the rental business. The company now employs over 60 highly capable employees at its four branch locations.

Theros Equipment’s rental division has grown consistently, as well. Joel anticipates another 7 percent to 8 percent jump in 2013. “Our diverse rental fleet satisfies a lot of different industries,” he says. “The rental side is our barometer for what is going on in the industry.”

The company’s available rental equipment includes: aerial equipment, including booms and scissorlifts; air compressors; concrete equipment; excavators; skidsteer loaders; generators; lawn and garden equipment; as well as forklifts and pumps. About 30 percent of the company’s rental fleet includes equipment used by excavation or landscape contractors, while another 30 percent fulfills needs for aerial work platforms and hi-reach forklifts. The remainder of rental equipment offered by the team at Theros Equipment satisfies the needs of both small contractors and homeowners.

The four Theros Equipment locations in Virginia offer new equipment sales, including Honda generators; Multiquip jumping jacks and tampers; pumps; Husqvarna saws; demolition tools and trench-rollers. The customer service and range of equipment available for sale and rental in the company’s showroom, as well as the convenience of the branch locations, is what sets Theros Equipment apart from competitors in the region.

Keeping a Pulse on the Industry

In order to ensure the company stays ahead of the competition, Theros Equipment is an active member in the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA). “We view HCCA as valuable,” explains Joel. “It is not only for knowing the contractors that make up the membership, but to be a part of the industry and see what makes it tick.”

The HCCA is a northern Virginia-based regional trade association for independent contractors. The association represents underground utility, site developers, heavy construction trucking, product and goods distributers, construction-focused professional firms, public works departments and other heavy construction interests. Joel is currently a member on the association’s education committee, which helps develop curriculum for HCCA training efforts and uses training capabilities as a recruiting tool for new association members.

Theros Equipment has been a consistent member since 1999 and Joel considers the association a resource for his business. Based on what he hears from association members, he can predict what equipment will be in higher demand and cater Theros Equipment stock to that.

“It’s also a valuable resource to attend the meetings,” says Joel. “It allows us to stand in front of members and have face-to-face conversations. It allows members to have closer relationships and understand industry needs.”

Theros Equipment already does work with many HCCA members. However, if a member of the Theros Equipment sales team calls upon a company not already a member, they invite the company to an upcoming meeting. “Right out of the gate being a member of HCCA gives you a networking advantage,” says Joel.

Adapting the Business Model

According to Joel, the past three years have been good for the rental portion of Theros Equipment’s business. Joel attributes the recent success to a trend of many customers looking to short-term rental of equipment as a viable alternative to ownership or longer term leasing. “The cost of renting can be better than buying,” says Joel. He goes on to explain that not only is the cash outlay possibly less, but also there is no upkeep or maintenance or storage cost to the customer when renting.

Rental requests are coordinated with the company’s closest location to the site or through Theros Equipment’s Central Dispatch at 1-888-2THEROS. In addition, both individuals and companies are able to submit a quote request for the needed product in person, on the phone or through e-mail on Theros Equipment’s website. To ensure complete customer satisfaction, rentals are offered on a daily, weekly or monthly basis; all of this equipment can be delivered or picked up.

Joel modified his business model in recent years to push rentals based on the economy. However, he is starting to see an improvement in the heavy construction industry. “We’re optimistic,” he says. “We’re seeing more construction in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Theros Equipment buying directly from manufacturers, as well as dealing with local dealers and carrying high-end lines – such as John Deere, Bobcat, Kobelco and Genie – also helps the business. “We own the equipment,” says Joel. “We capitalize it for a useful life; we rent it and then sell it after a few years.”

As Joel Theros continues to keep an eye on the economy and construction industry, the company will continue to grow its well-maintained stock of equipment for rent or sale. The plan is to steadily grow Theros Equipment’s business base for years to come in the northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Published on: May 15, 2013

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