Companies in this industry rent and lease equipment to commercial and industrial entities for use in business operations. Major companies include US-based Hertz and United Rentals; UK-based Aggreko, Ashtead Group (owner of US's Sunbelt Rentals), and Speedy Hire; and Japan-based Century Tokyo Leasing and IBJ Leasing.
Demand is driven by business and industrial activity, particularly in nonresidential construction. The profitability of individual companies depends on the merchandising mix and cost of financing rental inventory. Large companies have economies of scale in buying equipment and having multiple outlets to share equipment. Small companies can compete effectively by providing specialty products for a local market and by offering superior customer service. The US industry is concentrated: the top 50 companies account for more than half of revenue.
Major rental and leasing product categories are heavy construction equipment (35 percent of revenue); aircraft, steamships and tugboats, and railroad cars (20 percent); and office equipment and computers (5 percent). Other rental product categories include machinery; lawn and garden equipment; audio/visual, motion picture, and theatrical equipment; and medical equipment.