Making Her Mark
Chasity Crowe-Moore has built a successful rental company in a male-dominated industry.
Chasity Crowe-Moore, owner of Americ Equipment Rental in Hartselle, Alabama, gets an early start. Up before sunrise, she checks email and returns the call of a regular customer eager to rent a John Deere 17G Compact Excavator. After waking and dressing her five-year-old son, Charlie, she makes them both a quick breakfast before they head out the door.
After dropping Charlie off at kindergarten, she stops at the Americ equipment yard to make sure the 17G and several other John Deere compact machines are ready to go out on rental. The popular machines rarely stay at the store long. "It's good to have an empty yard," says Crowe. "Compact equipment brings in the biggest revenue. And to be able to do that, it needs to be dependable. Our customers need to get a job done. They can't worry about a breakdown, which is why we offer John Deere machines. We know we can count on them."
Running a small business involves, well, a lot of running. After checking on the machines in the yard, Crowe-Moore visits the service area to see if they need anything. Then she helps a customer at the rental counter before slipping into her office to meet with a vendor. Just another day of wearing many hats. "Never enough hours in a day," she says, smiling as she catches her breath.
A FATHER'S LEGACY
In 1999, Crowe-Moore's father, Charles Crowe, started Americ Equipment Rental to help kick-start his daughter's career. She had just graduated college with a business degree. "Dad wanted me to be self-sufficient," recalls Crowe-Moore. "He was so wonderful. He took care of my mom, my brother, and me, and didn't want us to struggle."
Crowe-Moore still has some of the same customers she's had since 1999. "They're seeing my son grow up," she says. "It's a neat experience being a small company in a small town, forming personal relationships."
That personal touch has been important to the success of the rental company. It doesn't cater to large commercial or industrial companies. Americ's customers include homeowners, light commercial contractors, plumbers, and electricians. "Our customers like coming into our store because we really engage them. We have a very personal relationship with them and really care about their needs."
Crowe-Moore is grateful for having dependable people in an industry where it's often hard to find good help. "I have a great crew. I put a lot on them — I demand a lot. But they pull through. I'm blessed and so fortunate to have them."
GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD EQUIPMENT
Crowe-Moore's family ran a scrap-metal yard for about 30 years. "My father was very familiar with construction equipment and equipment rental. He thought it would be a great opportunity for me. It wasn't maybe what I expected to be doing after college, but I really love it. I'm so happy to just be doing something I really enjoy, and that I'm able to do it with people I enjoy being around."
In addition to good people, Crowe-Moore understands that you also need good equipment. She and her father have been around John Deere machines since the scrap-yard days. Americ has rented Deere equipment from day one. "We started out with a backhoe and a skid steer," she recalls.
Today the store rents five John Deere compact excavators, including a 17G, 26G, and 35G; two 314G Skid Steers; and three 317G Compact Track Loaders (CTLs). The 17G Compact Excavator has been a particular hit with rental customers. "Our customers are amazed by the little 17G Compact Excavator with its variable-width undercarriage," she says. "It can fit easily through narrow gates and work in tiny backyards. And customers can't believe the digging power for such a small machine. I had a contractor call me recently to tell me how much he loved it. He sent pictures and videos and had wonderful feedback."
The larger machines are popular, too, particularly the other compact excavators and CTLs. Crowe-Moore explains, "We are seeing a lot more weekend warriors — homeowners who want to do it themselves instead of contracting it out. And compact excavators and CTLs make it much easier for them to do that."
Whether they are weekend warriors or small contractors, all her customers love John Deere. "They recognize the name and know it represents quality. They won't ask about the compact excavator or skid steer. They'll ask whether 'the John Deere' is in."
A major advantage of John Deere machines is that they are easy to maintain and service.
"That's a big deal. We often have to pick up the machine, get it off the trailer, service it, and get it back out on rental within a half-hour to an hour."
The service and support from Americ's local John Deere dealer, TriGreen Equipment, also helps ensure the machines are always ready to go. "We're very fortunate we have a John Deere dealer close by that we can count on. They are wonderful to deal with. We have absolute confidence in them and in our Deere equipment."
I’ve been here 20 years, and with the help of John Deere, I don’t think I’m going anywhere soon.
RIGHT ON THE MARK
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry has its share of challenges. "We still have customers who call and ask if there are any menfolk around. But most of my customers know me pretty well. They believe I know my stuff. Dad made sure I was trained by one of the best mechanics around."
Like her father, Crowe-Moore hopes to leave something behind for her son when he grows up. " I've been approached on a couple of different occasions to sell the company, but it's not something I've ever really entertained. I'm a single mother and I want to provide for my boy. I want to prepare him for when he's grown up.
"Given how well the company has been doing, I feel like I'll be in the position to do that. All in all, I think I've done well. I've been here 20 years, and with the help of John Deere, I don't think I'm going anywhere soon."
Americ Equipment Rental, Inc. is serviced by TriGreen Equipment, Huntsville, Alabama.