WATERLOO — Need equipment to complete a job? Chances are Finger Lakes Equipment Rental will be able to help you out.
Owner Ray Tuuri rents in the neighborhood of 300 items, including air compressors, compactors, small earth movers, light towers, hand power tools, cement mixers, fans, lawn equipment, lifts, moving equipment, party and recreational items, plumbing tools, water pumps, generators, and trailers. Oh, and don’t forget wood splitters, wallpaper steamers, sewer snakes, electric jackhammers, ladders and scaffolding.
Tuuri also operates a Penske truck rental business at the site.
A machinist, Tuuri lost his job of 13 years working for a Phelps company in 2007. The Waterloo resident said he and other machinists were told a year in advance that they’d likely be out of a job, giving him time to plan his next move.
“My wife and I started buying equipment and leasing it, running the business out of our garage, but I always had my eye out for this building, which was a used car dealership for years,” Tuuri said. “We moved to a site on the HEP property for a few years, and I bought this property in 2011.”
Now, Tuuri plans to expand the amount of equipment he can store inside. A 132-foot extension of the building to the west is in the works, planned for later this year or early next year. In addition, the expansion will allow him to hire a few more employees.
“Having equipment outside in the weather shortens its life,” Tuuri noted. “It’s a tough business because it’s very seasonal. About 80 percent of what I rent happens in seven months. The off months in the winter are when we maintain and fix up our equipment. That’s when I do my buying of new equipment.”
He said about half of his rentals go to contractors, while the remainder is to homeowners looking to do their own work. Tuuri said his staff makes sure everyone renting a piece of equipment knows how to operate it safely, dispensing advice on their projects if necessary.
The No. 1 rental item is a stone-tamping machine, followed by lifts for painting and mini-excavators to dig lines and trenches.
“We have about 300 items to rent, but I don’t rent chainsaws, torches or welders,” Tuuri said. “They are too dangerous.”
Items can be rented by the hour, day, week or month.
“I can also recommend contractors to people,” he said.
The business’ location, on Routes 5&20 between Waterloo and Geneva, is highly visible. About 90 percent of his business comes from Seneca, Ontario, Wayne and Cayuga counties.
Tuuri works with the Seneca County Workforce Development Office and Workforce Investment Board to look for trained employees with an interest in mechanics and construction.
“I keep up on modern technology to make sure the equipment I have to rent will do the jobs people want done,” Tuuri said. “If an established customer needs something we don’t have, I can get it for them.
“I try to run the business like the 1960s, with old-school values and hard work, helping people out,” he continued. “I think we’re good to the community and they’ve been good to us.