The end of World War I, the start of prohibition, and the first presidential election in which women could vote were some of the events that marked 1920 as a year of changes. The industrialization that would fuel the Roaring Twenties had begun to transform daily life. In cities across America, cars powered by internal combustion engines now lined the streets and ever taller skyscrapers filled the sky. Draught animals, an integral part of farming since prehistory, were being replaced by tractors with names like Fordson and Farmall.
Amid this wave of changes to the way Americans lived and worked Max Rouse saw the need to remarket the equipment that was driving the economy. Industrial machinery was introduced, enhanced, and made obsolete faster than ever. Max knew an effective auctioneer could give buyers and sellers the capability and capital to grow their businesses, so he founded Max Rouse & Sons in May of 1920 to facilitate that growth.
The size of Rouse’s auctions increased steadily throughout the 20th century, and the scope reflected the events of the time. Manufacturing facilities were liquidated during the Great Depression. The military surplus was sold after World War II. Drilling equipment was auctioned off in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
In the years after the Cold War, Rouse conducted its biggest auctions to date at McDonnell Douglas and Northrup Grumman’s multimillion square foot production facilities in Southern California. Bidders were kept in small groups by security and prevented from wandering around the factory that had once produced the highly classified B-2 stealth bomber. Although sensitive materials such as computer hard drives and sophisticated machining tools were previously removed or destroyed, bidders were banned from possessing cameras, tape recorders, cellular phones, or pocket calculators.
As the 20th century came to an end, Rouse evolved from an auction into an appraisal firm. This transition was made possible by the massive amount of auction and retail sales data collected over the years. Construction equipment rental companies and the lenders who served them began to view Rouse Appraisals as a reliable source of information on equipment values.
When the biggest names in the equipment rental industry started to develop their own online marketplaces in the first decade of the 21st century they turned to Rouse for the knowledge of what equipment to sell and what price to set. In response, Rouse Sales developed a suite of pricing and remarketing tools to help their clients achieve higher returns at resale.
These same companies then pressed for more visibility into the equipment rental market. Rouse Analytics responded with the introduction of an unprecedented service that provides product type level comparisons of rental rates, utilization, and other key performance metrics to industry benchmarks.
Today, Rouse tracks $55 billion in equipment fleet value, $24 billion in rental revenue, and $14 billion in sales transaction data annually. It has over 170 clients in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Expansion into Australia, Japan, and elsewhere is set to take place in the coming years.
“While our service offerings have evolved over the past 100 years, our focus has always been on providing the most accurate market intelligence for the industries we serve,” said Gary McArdle, Executive Vice President, and COO. “Our inspectors, analysts, and engineers all strive to build tools that our clients will find informative and intuitive. A lot is riding on the data we deliver, and we have great esteem for the trust our clients place in us.”