Star Equipment expands rental fleet with Vermeer equipment and support

Many construction equipment dealers claim to be diverse, but Star Equipment in Iowa takes it to another level by offering new equipment from a wide range of manufacturers and a well-stocked rental fleet.

According to Rem Lawyer, Star Equipment’s rental manager at the Des Moines, Iowa branch, this approach is successful because customers realize they can access the equipment and tools they need from Star Equipment whether they are in the market to own or rent.

Star Equipment’s business has grown significantly over the years through this philosophy.

Trying new equipment

Like many rental dealers, compact and full-size skid steer loaders and compact track loaders have been the staple of Star Equipment’s rental fleet for years. But nearly a decade ago, Lawyer said the company recognized the need to expand and offer alternative options and has since introduced mini skid steers to its rental fleet.

Initially hesitant, they soon realized that general contractors were regular renters of these machines for smaller jobs. The versatility of mini skid steers, equipped with various attachments, proved beneficial in different applications.

“When we first got into mini skid steers, we started with brands that were not represented in the market at the time because our idea was if it held up in rental, we’d become a dealer for it,” said Lawyer. “Our initial goal was to use our rentals to breed sales, but nothing we tried held up the way we hoped it would or were happy with. Either the maintenance over revenue was too high, or the cost of ownership was too much.”

“Finally, we decided to look at brands we would only carry in our rental line,” he continued. “That opened up more options, and that’s when we tried our first Vermeer mini skid steer. We saw quickly that the cost of ownership was better than the others, around 5% – 10%, which we were happy with, so we bought one machine and then three more, eventually getting one into each of our locations. Over the last two years, the market demand for these machines has significantly increased. To keep up, we’ve invested in more units.”

Today, Star Equipment has a fleet of 18 Vermeer S925TX mini skid steers across its four Iowa locations: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Ames.

Brand advantages

So, why Vermeer? According to Lawyer, the layout and smoothness of the controls are standout benefits of the brand.

Several mini skid steer manufacturers offer machines with electric-over-hydraulic controls that Lawyer believes tend to lag in functionality. The S925TX is engineered differently. Its standard configuration is a dual hydraulic auxiliary system with a high flow that boosts power to the most demanding attachments and a low flow that gives the operator maximum control. Also, the pilot-operated ground drive helps operators maintain smooth control on the worksite and in tight areas.

Beyond its unique controls, the S925TX also offers reliable productivity. Its chariot-style platform provides operational comfort. Additionally, when the operator steps off the platform, the ground drive and boom/bucket motion are limited until the operator steps back on the platform.

“We’ve had other models in our fleet tip over while our customers are using them. It’s never a good thing to send a machine out on rent that you are concerned about that sort of thing happening,” Lawyer explained. Star Equipment rents out its Vermeer S925TX mini skid steer a la carte. The base offering includes the machine with a bucket, either smooth or toothed, but customers can add on whatever attachments they want with their rental. And Star Equipment will deliver to jobsites or rent trailers and/or load these machines on a customer’s trailer, depending on what the customer needs.

Dealer support advantage

Another key factor contributing to Star Equipment’s success in renting mini skid steers is the relationship with Vermeer Iowa and N. Missouri, a partnership that has been ongoing since 2019.

“They pick up the phone and discuss what’s going on with our equipment,” said Lawyer. “And since they’re located right across town, they’re quick to swing over and take a look at something in person if we need them to.”

The close collaboration with Vermeer Iowa and N. Missouri has offered Star Equipment more than just maintenance assistance. As the company continues to seek niche products for its rental fleet, the team at the dealership has played a crucial role in helping Star Equipment expand into vacuum excavators.

“We had been interested in vacuum excavators for a long time,” said Lawyer. “We have a lot of customers wanting to rent them because there’s so much underground infrastructure that they can’t excavate with other machines. So, they need them for potholing but also for utility work like blowing in fiber or putting electrical cables in the ground.”

“One of the salesmen at Vermeer Iowa & N. Missouri recognized it as an opportunity for us,” added Lawyer. “So he brought a machine over for us to look at. He took the time to walk us through it and explain the market.”

This initiative led Star Equipment to purchase two Vermeer LP 573 SDT diesel models and one LP 573 SGT gas model.

Vermeer Iowa & N. Missouri doesn’t offer short-term rentals for these machines, so when their customers inquire about renting one, they direct them to Star Equipment. “It’s a win-win-win scenario,” he said.

Star Equipment’s unwavering dedication to supplying high-quality machinery has been instrumental in broadening its rental options. This strategy has successfully maintained customer productivity, thereby strengthening their industry standing.

Discover the possibilities with mini skid steer and vacuum excavator models from Vermeer. Experience the difference today by contacting your local Vermeer dealer.

This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Testimonials and/or endorsements by contractors in specific circumstances may not be representative of normal circumstances experienced by all customers.

Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Mini skid steer attachments available from Vermeer dealers may be manufactured by Vermeer Corporation or other attachment manufacturers. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications and attachments.

Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2024 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Explore the key factors in adding vacuum excavators to your rental fleet. From choosing trucks or trailers to understanding local conditions, this article guides you through the process.

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