Peer-to-peer involvement: “so key” to rental success
By Brock Huffstutler

Peer-to-peer involvement: “so key” to rental success

On the heels of a major acquisition in 2022 that saw his company’s revenue jump by more than 200 percent, locations increase from one to three and staff spike from 10 to 35, Chad Wagner, president of A1 Rent It in Wayzata, Minn., stands out as an upward mover in the equipment and event rental community.

But Wagner is the first to admit that success in the rental business isn’t easy. As he puts it, “This industry is very rewarding, but it’s also very demanding. To be an owner you’ve got to be boots on the ground just about every day. That is one of the big challenges.”

Wagner is a strong believer that those in his shoes need support along the way from others who share common experiences. That is why he so values his involvement with American Rental Association (ARA) boards, committees and in his Peer Advisory Group.

“That social element is so key,” he says. “When you can get together and be around like-minded people who are in the trenches doing the same thing you are every single day, and then sit around, share a plate or a beverage and just vent, talk, laugh, make a joke and all that stuff — those things are huge for me.”

Wagner currently is the treasurer for the ARA of Minnesota and served ARA at the national level as a member of the Equipment Rental Shared Interest Group from 2020-2021. Although he contributes his perspective and experience to groups like these that exist to improve the industry, Wagner says the fellowship with his contemporaries in these forums has lifted him both professionally and personally.

“It’s been said 100 times and I’ll say it again — make this No. 101: You always get out way more than what you put in,” he says. “I get so many little tips. Those people become your friends, colleagues and advisers. They are in my phone, so when something comes up unexpected or I need help with a decision, I can pick up my phone and there are easily half a dozen people who I can call and get answers from, lean on or ask a favor of, whatever it is.”

Wagner became a full-fledged owner/operator in 2014 and soon after joined a Peer Advisory Group. He says this is another industry bonding experience that has unlocked a treasure trove of benefits.

“I have been involved in a peer group since 2016 and quite frankly I would not be talking about [the success of] our last year and our acquisition if I had not been in that group. There is advice, camaraderie and accountability in a peer group. If you want to grow, if you want to improve the operations and culture of your business, being involved in a peer group is a great opportunity to do that,” Wagner says.

To learn more about getting involved in ARA as a volunteer leader, go to For more information about Peer Advisory Groups, visit

Brock Huffstutler

Brock HuffstutlerBrock Huffstutler

Brock Huffstutler is the regional news editor for Rental Management. He writes and edits articles for ARA’s In Your Region quarterly regional newsletters, Rental Management, Rental Pulse and other special projects. Outside of work, he enjoys biking and spending time at the few remaining vintage record stores in the region.

Other articles by Brock Huffstutler
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