Rental company owner talks about how Colorado treats its small businesses.
Name: Linda Jones
Business: Area Rent-Alls, Area Party and Costumes
Location: Westminster, Colorado
Linda Jones has been in the rental industry since childhood, when she helped her parents at Area Rent-Alls, their full-service construction equipment rental business.
In 1986, she took over the business. At the same time, she created a sister company that provides costumes and party decorations for rent.
Now, Jones talks about bouncing back from two recessions, being a woman in a man’s industry and carrying on the family business.
What do you like most about being a part of a family-owned business?
I like the closeness with employees.
What lessons have you learned over the years?
The biggest one, because I’ve gone through two recessions, is to really watch your bottom line. Make sure that your employees and all your bills are in line with what you need to do. Going through the recessions, I know where I have to pull back. I didn’t have to fire anyone because of the recession. We all reduced our hours so that we could stay.
The first recession, I really looked at my business and figured out where I needed to be. A lot of companies were being sold to national companies. I couldn’t compete on the big side, so I brought my business to homeowners and small contractors.
Also, you have to be out there and get your name known. It’s not just your business you need to be involved in, but you need to be involved with other associations.
What do you value about being an NFIB member?
The opportunity on the legislative side here in Denver. I’ve gotten to know my representatives better.
You mentioned the rental business is a man’s industry.
It definitely has its challenges. The salesmen [who come in], I have to keep schooling them and say, “No, I’m the owner.”
What are your thoughts on the way Colorado treats its small businesses?
I don’t think they treat us very well. They keep adding taxes and fees. I have a trailer fee all of a sudden. I rent trailers with my equipment. So now I have to pay $2 every time I rent a trailer. That’s another thing I have to track for the state.
Your son, who has worked with you since he was 11, is now the manager. What do you hope he learns from you about being a part of this family-owned business?
He learned the business from the bottom up. He’s learned all of our values that we’ve instilled in the company. I think he can even take over here in the next five or seven years—if not, have his own store.