If you’re an ARA member, it’s free. The ARA pays for 2 hours of our time every calendar year. You can schedule a call with us anytime and ask any question(s) you like – including whether you need a lawyer based on what you tell us. As long as your call(s) don’t exceed that 2 hours, you won’t receive a bill from us unless you decide to retain us.
Yes, I grew up working with all types of equipment. Being born in a small town in Iowa, and spending most of my youth in small Midwest farming towns, I had little choice (but loved it).
Relationships are key. After I wrote the ARA’s book on equipment rental contracts, I began hearing from equipment companies from all over North America and throughout the world. Fortunately, I had already done a great deal of work throughout the U.S. and in places like England, France, Italy, Germany and Israel (I worked for equipment rental companies in many of those places, and also leased airliners from and into a number of countries where I’d made valuable contacts both within and outside of the legal profession). Doing so provided invaluable experience and has made it relatively easy to expand those relationships as and when my clients have needed them.
I wish it were that easy. No, despite portrayals by legal “forms” websites, most agreements have to be negotiated and written specifically for our clients and their specific types of equipment, operations, locations, relationships, state and local laws and regulations, etc.
It’s sometimes possible to use certain provisions like warranty waivers across documents, but trying to do so with everything is dangerous. I once saw a provision in a rental contract that required the (Ohio-based) rental company who used it to litigate all of their claims in Missouri.
It is, of course, possible to find a “form” on one of those on-line websites; the problem is, you won’t find out how inadequate it is until you lose a lawsuit (and what does that cost? – at the low end, $50,000 in cash, to say nothing of the years of your time and energy spent getting to trial). Our objective is to save you most of that by putting you in the right position up front.
At this point, the number is safely in the hundreds, and probably in the thousands. I lost count back in the late 1990s.
I’ve been in the industry since the early 1990s, and prior to that, I worked with equipment in the military (yes, I’m a veteran). I also wrote the American Rental Association’s book on equipment rental contracts and related agreements, and I’ve since served in various executive positions in the industry, including CEO of aircraft leasing concern ICC, USA, General Counsel of airline, ICC, Canada, General Counsel of RentX Industries, Inc., COO of Dental Planet, and outside counsel for hundreds of equipment dealers and rental companies between the U.S., Canada, France, Great Britain and Australia.
Our rates fall somewhere in the middle of what attorneys charge in New York ($800 to $1,500 per hour) and Nebraska ($100 to $200 per hour). We don’t try to be the cheapest, nor do we try to charge more than is fair. The equipment industry is fairly small, and people tend to see each other more than once – meaning it isn’t much different from one of the small towns where I grew up. Your reputation is everything, so you can’t afford to treat anyone unfairly – people talk.
Dozens. I was hired on initially at RentX back in the early 1990s for the sole purpose of assisting in buying the what turned into roughly 100 locations in 14 states – in 18 months. I went on to represent many more businesses, both within and outside of the equipment industry, including several airlines, in buying or selling their operations. Later, in 2004, my old company (then HSS RentX) hired me again to assist in selling off most of the same stores we’d purchased back in the 90s. Suffice it to say, we’ve done a great deal in this arena.