The effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are significantly impacting the equipment and event rental industry. According to a recent survey of the American Rental Association (ARA) membership, rental revenues are declining and are projected to significantly deteriorate in the coming months.
ARA plans free webinars every day the week of March 23 on topics ranging from PPE and safety considerations during the COVID-19 crisis to legal concerns. To register, go to ararental.org/learn.
All party and event rental business respondents to the ARA survey indicate event cancelations leading to a loss of revenue when compared to 2019. Nearly 55 percent report revenue loss in excess of 60 percent, and about 16 percent of respondents report experiencing 46-60 percent loss of revenue. Of these cancelations, the majority are corporate, private, festival and charitable events.
The survey results representing construction/industrial and general tool/DIY members indicate a lesser economic impact, albeit concerning. As of March 16, 37 percent have indicated no revenue loss, nearly 33 percent experiencing up to 15 percent revenue loss and less than three percent reporting loss of more than 60 percent of rental revenue.
“This is a dire time for our industry. We’re putting the needs of our members in the rental community first,” says Tony Conant, ARA CEO, in a press release. “ARA and ARA Insurance have put initiatives in place to ease the financial stress on our members as it relates to membership dues and insurance premiums. Our goal is to continue assisting our members and keep them informed on resources that are available to help them manage through these unprecedented times.”
Some rental operations have temporarily closed, but those that remain open indicate that they are taking every precaution to protect employees and customers by implementing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and extra cleaning and sanitizing of equipment. Many rental operations remain open in order to provide necessary equipment and services for customers that continue work as well as providing tents, tables, chairs and other items needed for drive-through and pickup areas for restaurants, grocery stores, government agencies and more.