A pioneer may be defined as an innovator who sees the potential in trying new things. A pioneer always enjoys breaking new ground and pushing boundaries to advance a cause or idea. Being the first to do anything requires courage, boldness, persistence, and the vision to see it through to fruition.
Greg Webster definitely fits the definition of a pioneer, as he is now the first in California to purchase Volvo’s new and exciting ECR25 Electric Compact Excavator. “I have always aspired to be at the forefront of change, especially when it comes to modern technology. The green energy revolution is all around us, especially here in California. I want to move along with the times and continue to offer our customers machines and technology that will keep them in compliance, working efficiently, while also continuing to be good stewards of our environment,” says Webster. “Do I think we are all the way there yet concerning going all electric? No, but it has to start somewhere, and a long list of cities and municipalities have already banned the use of gas-powered equipment. Purchasing our new Volvo ECR25 electric compact excavator has already proven to be a popular rental for various applications. We are proud to be the first to own and rent this incredible all-electric Volvo compact excavator.
Webster’s father was a contractor who eventually moved into buying and selling equipment. When he decided to get out of the business in 2007, Webster took over where his dad left off. “I ran the business for a couple of years and officially put it in my name in 2009 before incorporating in 2017,” says Webster. “I focused on renting equipment, tools, and some party rental items, to homeowners and landscapers. I purchased my first excavator through a customer repair in 2010 before finally finding an equipment distributor who believed in me in 2016. They gave me credit, allowing me to purchase a brand-new excavator. We moved from that point forward, adding one machine after another to where we are now the first to own and rent the new all-electric Volvo compact excavator.”
This past August, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) said it would require all new vehicles sold in California by 2035 to be electric or plug-in hybrid electrics (PHEVs). This announcement came after Governor, Gavin Newsom, issued an executive order directing the move in September 2020. Webster’s rental business, Greg Rents, Inc., is located in Oak View, adjacent to the City of Ojai. According to Webster, Ojai and many other cities have ordinances prohibiting gas-powered outdoor equipment. Additionally, the City of Ojai voted on October 27, 2020, to phase out the use of gas in new building construction. This made Ojai the first city in Ventura County to embrace an all-electric future by reducing greenhouse gases and emissions. “It is quite clear where the future of gas-powered equipment is headed here in California. With that in mind, we recently attended the CRA (California Rental Association) 2022 Rental Rally Tradeshow at South Point Casino & Spa this past January.
We got a good look at the Volvo ECR25 electric compact excavator, and that started our wheels turning,” says Webster. “Then we went to “Dig This Las Vegas,” which is basically a heavy equipment playground where you can purchase the right to operate heavy machinery for various tasks. It was here that I met Ed Galindo of Volvo Construction Equipment & Services. The Volvo ECR25 electric compact excavator was onsite, and I took advantage of the opportunity to run it through the paces. This machine dug right through that hard, rocky Las Vegas desert soil, and I was instantly impressed. I was afforded the opportunity to be the first to own one here in California, so I pulled the trigger and am so proud and excited to help usher in this new and fascinating technology.”
According to Webster, the Volvo ECR25 electric compact excavator has been out on rent to various contractors and homeowners since it was delivered to Greg Rents, Inc. on November 29, 2022. “The Volvo ECR25 has been popular with homeowners, masonry, concrete, and other contractors. The machine recently came back from rental where it was digging footings for a block wall on a residential site, and from another concrete cutting and demo company using it indoors to break concrete,” continues Webster. “This unit is quiet and does not burn diesel or any other noxious gas, making it ideal for indoor applications and for municipalities where electric-only equipment is mandated in certain applications. The all-electric excavator can be charged by 110 or 220 and offers power and performance that is equal to any gas-powered machine in its class.”
Regarding return on investment, Webster has a slightly different way of looking at how he chose to rent his new Volvo ECR25 electric compact excavator. “We need more time and data to accurately determine the return on investment for this new Volvo ECR25 excavator. Right now, we are doing great with the machine. It is paying for itself and generating profit,” says Webster. With this in mind, a typical rental yard might want to rent out this excavator for $500 a day. I can tell you that no one will want to pay that for a daily rental. The approach I am taking is the exact opposite of what a traditional rental company might want to take. I am at $199 a day for this Volvo ECR25 electric compact excavator. Any other competing gas-powered make and model is at around $250 per day. I want contractors and homeowners to try out this machine and see how incredible it is so they will return to rent it in the future. We offer a great price point, and all-electric is simply better for our environment. What is there not to like? We hope our Volvo will be so popular that we will soon offer an all-electric fleet of excavators and wheel loaders.”
Webster says he wants to add the Volvo L25 electric compact wheel loader to his operation as soon as possible. “I got a chance to operate the Volvo L25 electric compact wheel loader, which would be ideal for our bulk materials yard. I love the machine and am currently researching grants, tax credits, and other incentives to offset the cost of adding it to our fleet,” says Webster. “I have to say that Ed Galindo of Volvo Construction Equipment & Services has been there for us every step of the way, from financing to getting us the charge cord and plug installed in our shop. I am motivated and excited to continue working with Ed in the future as we continue to grow our electric fleet.”
Greg Rents, Inc. has been serving the Ojai Valley, Ventura, and surrounding areas since 1992. They are a proud and active member of their community and offer just about everything you would expect to find at any professional equipment and tool rental store. Currently, Greg Rents, Inc. provides an entire fleet of excavators, backhoes, skid steers, dozers, skip loaders, forklifts, man lifts, reach lifts, scissor lifts, water trucks, dump trucks, rollers, generators, air compressors, compaction equipment, concrete tools, full line of lawn and garden equipment, trailers, attachments and a long list of other tools and equipment.
Greg Rents, Inc. also sells 25-plus types of bulk materials like rock, sand, and gravel. Additionally, they offer mobile cart-away concrete systems for customers that want to pour their own concrete. “We are one of the few remaining independents that have not been bought out by some massive corporate entity. I work directly with our customers and make decisions right on the spot. This is a great benefit for our customers who have unique needs and circumstances that have to be evaluated and serviced immediately and not after hearing from the corporate office,” says Webster. “We are not and have never been money driven. It is all about service, and we will go anywhere for our customers. The addition of our new Volvo ECR25 electric compact excavator is just another way that we are serving our customers to keep them coming back in the future.” For more information on Greg Rents, Inc., please visit www.gregrents.com or call (805) 649-2590
Written by: Brian Hoover