Mid-Atlantic Customers Are More Fuel ConsciousAugust 2007
Article Date: 08-01-2007
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Despite slowdowns in residential construction, some Mid-Atlantic equipment dealers remain optimistic, with a bright commercial market spurring demand for cranes, light earthmoving equipment and aerial lifts.
"As long as the economy keeps strong, the equipment business should be good," said Richard Dudley, president of J.W. Burress of Roanoke, Va.
Dudley says revenues are up this year, with sales of cranes particularly strong.
"There are a number of commercial and industrial projects that demand cranes-some of them very large cranes," he said. "And although residential has slowed considerably, there is still a fair amount of work going on there, too."
On the other hand, James Price, president of Bobcat of Baltimore, Md., reports residential construction, which comprises 80 percent of his business, has dried up. His sales of compact equipment to commercial contractors have increased, but forklift sales are slow.
"When residential turns around, and it will, we'll have two sets of customers," says Price. "We're doing OK. I've been through this before. If you react fast, and keep inventory levels down and cash flowing, you win."
"It's very important these days because of the labor it takes to get in and out of the job to refill and because of the cost of fuel," he says.
Dudley in Virginia also says his customers are starting to take a closer look at fuel efficiency. And electronic options, such as controls, he says are a deciding factor for many crane buyers.
Price says his customers are, for the most part, unconcerned about fuel efficiency, although he thinks it may be delaying some purchases.
Overall, equipment dealers remain upbeat.
-Bruce Buckley is editor of Mid-Atlantic Construction magazine.
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