Cooper Equipment Rentals enhances project and customer partnerships with SMS Rents acquisition

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    With its acquisition of SMS Rents in the fall of 2015, Cooper Equipment Rentals will apply its almost 45-year history as a compact equipment supplier and its expertise as a project and customer partner in its newly expanded role of supplying the industry’s heavy equipment and aerial access needs.

    CEO Darryl Cooper says the company had about 20 employees in two locations for many years. However, in 2010, the company put into action a formal growth plan that added several more locations throughout the GTA and southern Ontario and the business grew to more than 100 employees.

    “With the SMS acquisition, we cover all of Ontario and the greater Montreal area with a team of about 300 highly qualified professionals.”

    Company president Doug Dougherty says the growth plan began with an evaluation of the business’s strengths. “We identified that our strength was rooted in our excellent reputation in the industry for service, integrity and reliability and we had good supplier relationships. In growing, we wanted to maintain those core values and, along the way, build a company that people wanted to work for and a business that customers were attracted to because we were easy to do business with.”

    Cooper says the acquisition of SMS Rents, and the expansion into heavy and aerial equipment, has created efficiencies for customers’ project planning and on-site execution because customers now have access to everything they may need for their job site all in one place. The additional locations and highly qualified employees have expanded Cooper Equipment Rentals’ distinct service delivery model.

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    He says part of the attraction to SMS Rents was its job ready approach to business that included getting customers the equipment they needed where and when they needed it. This aligns with Cooper Equipment Rentals’ core values. He says maintaining a culture of personalized service beyond the call of duty, through staff that share a passion for delivering the best possible solutions to customers, is integral to any future growth plans.

    “We hire good people – and that includes the team from SMS Rents – and then empower them to make decisions and to do good work,” Cooper said.

    Dougherty says many of the company’s customers prefer to deal with a local Canadian company whose employees can be more flexible and nimble. “We set guidelines, of course, for how the company runs, but then our approach becomes more inclusive. Our customers find it refreshing to deal with people who can make decisions and keep things moving. Time is money. Our customers value that and our employees are committed to exceeding our customers’ expectations.”

    The company’s branch managers have a minimum of 15 years of experience. Field teams include customer service representatives and account managers who work together to meet customers’ needs.

    “Our account managers and branch operations people are really equipment rental consultants who work together as one professional team to build strong relationships based on trust and confidence at all levels,” Dougherty said. “They have an abundance of product knowledge and can answer any questions about the products we carry, on the spot.”

    He says the ultimate goal of the account manager is to help customers solve problems, which may mean advising the customer on a type of equipment that Cooper Equipment Rentals may not even carry, but would be happy to help source.

    “Our account managers can help the customer with job costing, rental pricing, and equipment recommendations. They understand construction, the phases of a job, and can help make sure the right tools are on site at the right time.”

    Dougherty says the company works with all types of business, from smaller independent contractors to large general contractors and institutions. Cooper Equipment Rentals’ wide range of equipment, he says, lines up with many diverse needs and industry sectors.

    Cooper Equipment Rentals has segmented its customer base under two categories: service-oriented individuals or managers and procurement officers who are looking for assistance in finding the right equipment for their job to be delivered when they need it.

    “We recognize the needs of our customers based on these profiles,” Dougherty says. “This is how we developed our three pillars of service: time, safety and reliability. We guarantee that our customers will receive their requested equipment when they need it to ensure their job site can continue to be on schedule.”

    “Our equipment is inspected before and after each rental to guarantee the equipment we deliver is in excellent working condition. Since we have a fleet that is younger than the industry average, our equipment is always reliable and won’t break down. In the rare cases that it does, we’ll have a mechanic or replacement equipment on-site as quickly as possible. Cooper Equipment Rentals works hard to ensure that our customers will be able to complete their jobs on time, on budget and safely.”

    Cooper’s offerings and services have grown with the expanding business. For example, Cooper introduced customer safety training courses before the SMS acquisition.

    Darryl Cooper says the company has always felt a responsibility to ensure safety for both its employees and clients. Partnering with customers to be sure they are current with required safety training and codes, therefore, has been a natural progression. “We offer the new Working at Heights Training, WHMIS, specific equipment training and more through several training rooms across the GTA. We can also take our training to where our customers need us to be.”

    He says the SMS Rents locations will be rebranded as Cooper Equipment Rentals. “We’re well positioned now with a good foundation including our equipment fleet, seasoned branch managers, dedicated account managers, as well as our full team of drivers, mechanics and logistics experts. We’ll look for other opportunities to grow again when it makes sense and when the time is right.”

    For more information about Cooper Equipment Rentals, visit


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