12 Largest Equipment Rental Companies in the world

In this article we are going to list the 12 largest equipment rental companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 largest equipment rental companies in the world. Today, we are going to be discussing what is a comparatively niche industry, one which isn’t worth trillions of dollars, and one which many of you may not even know much about at all. Yes, today we are going to be discussing the largest equipment rental companies in the world, which may not belong to the most lucrative industry in the world but still make more than a decent living from their business.

So what exactly is an equipment rental company? Well, a company engaged in the equipment rental industry provides various equipment, machinery and tools for a period of time to the relevant users, against rental payments made for a specific period of time. Mostly, such equipment is provided to construction companies, which is why you may also be interested in the 19 largest construction companies in the world, who are generally the biggest customers of the equipment rental companies. Of course, construction companies are not the only ones making use of these rental equipment; other industries are involved in renting equipment as well. The industry is known by different names and is known as plant hire in the United Kingdom, for example.

You may not be surprised to know that this industry is relatively a new one, with many other industries being established centuries ago. The rental equipment industry is less than a century old and in fact, the American Rental Association was only formed in 1955, 65 years ago. You may also not be surprised to learn that since this is not a huge industry as opposed to say the construction, tech or electronics industries, instead of having giant companies with tens of billions of dollars of annual revenue, the equipment rental industry is full of small and medium sized companies, though recently, some companies have started to achieve significant growth and cross the billion dollar threshold. In fact, most of the companies within this industry have less than ten employees, which for me was quite an astounding statistic.

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As I mentioned earlier, the construction industry is the largest industry reliant on equipment rental companies. The two are intrinsically linked, as increase in construction and especially residential construction, results in an increased demand in equipment rental. And similarly, if residential construction decreases, then that can be really alarming for the finances of the equipment rental industry as well. Of course, nowadays, DIY is one again gaining in popularity as most people are priced out of hiring expensive construction or remodeling companies and have to go at it on their own in order to make the required changes to their houses. Since people don’t engage in DIY throughout the year, buying expensive equipment which will remain in the toolshed for most of the year does not make sense. Instead, these people prefer to rent equipment and hence, go to equipment rental companies, including some of the largest equipment rental companies in the world, for their needs. Other customers of the equipment rental industry include dumpster rentals, sports equipment (particularly expensive equipment that many small teams or clubs may not be able to afford or wish to invest in), moving equipment, audio-visual equipment and office equipment.

This industry has been progressing steadily over the years and an initial report on the industry predicted a CAGR of 5.06% from 2019 – 2026, again showcasing that it’s a relatively safe industry with steady potential over the years. Currently, the industry worth close to $100 billion at a global level and there are several reasons why it is expected to grown constantly, chief among them the growth of the construction industry, especially in developing industries where strong focus is being laid on infrastructure, as links between developed infrastructure and high quality of life are heavily related. Furthermore, greater investment in infrastructure is needed as populations of developing countries grow at high rates.

Of course, the aforementioned rosy outlook was before the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the global economy and affecting severely most industries in the world, crippling growths and plunging most of the countries in the world into either recessions or depressions. There are now around 70 million cases globally and nearly 1.6 million people have died because of the virus, though even this figures are expected to be extremely understated and it will be a while before we find out the true impact of the pandemic. To battle the pandemic, most countries suspended all non essential activities, resulting in lockdowns of billions of people globally, and while businesses which could work from home could still survive, the construction industry came to a grinding halt as you have to be on site. Since the equipment rental industry is strongly linked to the construction industry, it has been hit hard as well. Further, as many companies work from home, office equipment demand has strongly fallen while most team sports have been cancelled or postponed, leading to a decrease in demand for sports equipment. Events have come to a halt as well, and equipment rented out for events is now wasting away in storage. The true impact of the pandemic will only later be known properly.

The largest equipment rental companies in the world are leaders of an industry which is in flux, with more and more competitors entering the industry and making their strength felt. In the top 100 rental companies, 12 were completely new entries, most of which are from North America. Our list is based on the 2019 and 2018 revenues of these companies, taken from a report by International Rental News. 70% weightage has been assigned The top 100 companies in the industry had revenues of over 53 billion euros. So let’s take a look at these industry leaders, starting with number 12:

12. Nikken Corp

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 944

Total revenue of the company in 2018 (in millions of dollars): 905

Nikken Corp was established in the 1960s and has a rental business of more than 1 million items. This Japanese company is fully owned by Mitsubishi Corporation.

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