January 2015

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meet demand and training-up their service technicians. e latter is essential because the complexity of new equipment seems to assure that end- users will continue to rely on service centers for equipment maintenance. "Customers have scaled back their maintenance capability and rely on dealerships a lot more," Porteus said. "Even as we come out of this downturn, I don't think you'll see as many contractors dive back into full service and mainte- nance operations." McKinnon compares the technology situation to opening the hood of his Ford F-150 and trying to comprehend what he sees there. "Today's machines are more sophisticated," he said. "Emissions require- ments have made them more complicated. People increasingly are saying, 'I don't have the skill set to do this. My core competency is as a site contractor, not as a fixer of equipment.'" Another trend that may or may not continue is the renting, rental-purchas- ing, and leasing of equipment. Adams at Linder Industrial Machinery believes leases will become even more popular, along with full repair and maintenance agreements. He expects end-users who relied on rental/leasing during the recession to stay with that model of machinery procurement. But McKinnon thinks outright ownership will make a comeback among contractors. Financing is easier now, he says, particularly for companies that survived the recession with strengthened credit – plus rental companies are raising their rates. "More people are buying now. Contractors are beginning to see a backlog of jobs and they're feeling good about the future. Equipment is a long-term investment and we see the purchasing market grow- ing substantially," McKinnon added. Chris Wood concurs, but with a caveat. "It is cheaper to own than to rent. Every model shows that. But…" he says, "equipment is getting more and more expensive. We're almost to the point where the cost line between purchasing and renting is getting close. We're starting to see that gap close." Whether bought or rented, what equipment is moving in Orlando? Dozers are in demand, says one dealer. Midsized loaders and excavators, says another. Hybrids? Not so much, accord- ing to Wood. "e biggest challenge is payoff. If you're not going to keep it for 12,000 hours, it is hard to justify the cost of a hybrid." On the other hand, Wood says Nortrax sold a lot of hydraulic excava- tors and wheel loaders in 2014. What surprised the John Deere dealer was that, "for the first time in a long time," wheel loader sales topped excavator sales. Finally, McKinnon reports that an old staple, backhoes, are making a comeback. He believes concern about the impact of sand and water on the undercarriages of skid steer and crawler mini-loaders has Florida customers giving rubber-tired JCB backhoes a second look. n ("Recovery's Got Legs In Orlando" continued from page 39) GILES LAMBERTSON is a retired journalist and freelance writer whose inter- est in the construction industry goes back to his carpentry days. He can be reached at gparkerel@gmail.com 42 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | January 2015 >> MARKET CHECK n GGC's underwriting partner is AmTrust International which is A rated by AM Best with over 100 years of collective underwriting experience in the Construction and Agricultural Equipment global markets. n GGC has over 27 years of experience administrating extended protection plans. 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Your Competitive Advantage in a Competitive Market Glynn General Benefits Coverage Types/Coverage Terms GGC's Administrative System via the Web Contacts in your Region Glynn General Extended Protection Plans ggc_ad.indd 1 12/9/11 2:01 PM Vice President Sales Slade Rowland 912-638-4320 Southeast/East Territory Manager Greg Schultz 678-697-2715 Midwest Territory Manager Ed Semara 414-975-5353 Central Territory Manager Michael Raley 817-301-7984 West Territory Managers Jeremy Cockroft 970-946-8132 Brian Freitag 970-946-8133 GGC.indd 1 2/7/2014 9:05:23 AM Photo courtesy of Wirtgen America Please visit us in Suite 21657

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