Building safety goes hand-in-hand with aesthetics

When Elite Equipment Rental, Decatur, Ala., opened in 2015, co-owners Jason Hill and Shane Buckelew saw their leased location as temporary. However, they found the building worked so well that they bought it and undertook a major remodel. That move, which began as an aesthetic endeavor, also enhanced the building’s overall safety.

The renovations covered the gamut:

  • Put in new drywall.
  • Installed new flooring.
  • Added new drop ceilings throughout.
  • Turned two offices into a conference room.
  • Replaced all the doors and put in a double door at the front entrance, also ensured exit signs were placed at all entrances and exits.
  • Repainted and recarpeted the offices.
  • Replaced the counter in the front area and put masonry stone on the inside to accent everything.
  • Installed LED lighting throughout the building’s interior and shop area.
  • Redid the wash pits, replaced the metal inside the shop area and put in new insulation and a new roof.
  • Cleared the woods on 2.5 acres of their 5-acre property. Replaced nearly 90 percent of the fencing so it covers the entire perimeter, added new gravel and fixed deteriorated areas of asphalt.
  • Made traffic in their yard one-way.

These changes “made everything look new,” says Hill, who as president of the company understands the importance of aesthetics.

“Image is so important — a customer’s first impression when you pull up to a job site or when a customer comes to your facility. We always have valued that. We push our guys to keep things clean and tidy. We follow it up with the service aspect, having high-quality equipment, following through with what we say, offering on-time delivery, etc. It all goes hand in hand,” Hill says.

An important side benefit is the boost to the operation’s safety — another top priority.

“That emphasis for a safe, clean and tidy workplace comes from the top. I do walk-arounds on a weekly basis. We recently asked everyone to stop what they were working on and focus on getting things back in order. With us having high-end utilization as far as equipment goes, it can be easy for that part to go on the backburner, but we keep after it. We have policies and procedures in place for handling safety issues on our premises. We also have a cleaning crew come in and have one of our employees periodically use our floor scrubbers to clean the shop floors. That really helps get up any dirt or residue,” Hill says.

The business, which caters to the industrial and commercial rental markets, has a lot of aerial equipment in its fleet and runs four semitrucks. All that traffic can create potholes in the graveled areas. “We continually keep an eye on that. If it starts to pothole, we bring gravel in. We have rollers and will roll and compact those areas. With manlifts, scissor lifts and warehouse forklifts, they can become very unstable, so it is imperative for us to keep these areas level,” Hill says.

All these renovations create value, Hill says. “Our employees see a clean, safe operation as important to the owners, so it is important to them. Our customers see we take pride in how our facility looks, how our equipment is maintained and functions, and in our service. That benefits our entire operation.”

By Connie Lannan
Connie Lannan

Connie LannanConnie Lannan

Connie Lannan is special projects editor for Rental Management. She helps plan, coordinate, write and edit ARA’s quarterly regional newsletters, In Your Region. She also researches, writes and edits news and feature articles for Rental Management, Rental Pulse, supplements, special reports and other special projects. Outside of work, she loves to bake for others, go for walks with her husband and volunteer for her church and causes she believes in.

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