It’s a warm Georgia afternoon and business is brisk at the Talisman Rentals location in Canton, Ga. Both the company’s Canton and Marietta locations serve the metro Atlanta area.
Colin du Plessis started Talisman Hire in South Africa in 1993 after working in the rental industry for 10 years. He started growing the brand through franchising in 1997, leading to more than 100 franchised stores. In 2017, Colin and his brother, Jaco, decided to enter the U.S. market with the acquisition of Advanced Rental Center in Canton and rebranded the business to Talisman Rentals.
Jaco, who serves as president in the U.S., says the company wants to continue to grow in the Southeast as well as outside of America.
“We are planning to expand internationally and in the southern U.S. by partnering with like-minded entrepreneurs interested in building great rental businesses,” Jaco says. “We believe that quality equipment, hands-on owner/operators and professional facilities combined with advanced technology, make the difference for our customers.”
Chris Hulsey is the store manager at the Canton location and Len Malagon is the sales and operations manager. They are seeing a healthy demand for anything from skid steers to excavators and compaction equipment.
“We specialize in compaction and dirt, and we have aerial equipment,” Malagon says. “We’re focusing on compact equipment for small to medium professional contractors.”
What are customers looking for? Malagon says it’s a melting pot of demands from a variety of customer groups. In addition to skid steers, excavators and compaction equipment, Talisman Rentals provides attachments, blades and bits, lawn and landscape, light towers, generators, power and hand tools, and more.
“We used to be 80 percent general contractor and maybe 20 percent between homeowners and DIY,” Malagon says.
“We’ve lowered that ratio to where it’s probably 50 percent professional contractor, about 30 percent general contractor and 20 percent DIY,” he says.
Hulsey says the demand for smaller, compact equipment is increasing due to improved design and technology that makes the equipment easier to use.
“They (customers) can get in and out of their backyard and do that mulch project,” Malagon says. “I think in the next few years, the market is going to start to go to more of these stand-on, bigger capacity track machines rather than the sit down, traditional-style machines. The weight is lower, and you can haul them on a trailer. People don’t feel so intimidated.”
As the two speak, Hulsey’s phone rings often. Customers are looking for equipment. It’s a busy time of the year.
“We’re doing really well,” Hulsey says. “We’re juggling machines every day.”
Hulsey pauses to answer his phone: “Talisman Rentals. This is Chris. Can I help you? OK, I’ve got to make sure I have a set of forks. Can you hold for one second?”
“Yes, this is our busy time,” Malagon confirms as Hulsey takes another phone call. “The key to success in the rental business in this area is fulfilling customer demand. We’re all over the metro Atlanta area, because we provide job sites with delivery and pickup. We have a lot of repeat customers. They come back to us for a great rental experience.”