What’s the secret to success as an EquipmentShare general manager? For Lee Lobbs, the secret is no secrets.
“This job is about relationships,” said Lobbs, the GM of the branch in Tyler, Texas. “For example, I feel like I have great relationships with my sales reps. When they want to rent something at a certain rate, I’ll say: ‘You need to look at this. This is my monthly payment on this piece of equipment, and it costs me this in wear-and-tear on the truck my drivers use to deliver it.’ I share with them what it actually costs to run a branch, so they understand why I make the decisions I make.”
If Lobbs’ employees have a sense of their GM’s duties and challenges, he makes sure to understand theirs, as well.
”I try to lead from the front and not sit around in the office all day,” Lobbs said. “Being in the trenches with them goes a long way.”
It’s hard to argue with the results.
Lobbs has helped build two successful EquipmentShare locations as a GM. In 2019, he opened the branch in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In less than a year, it surpassed $1 million in monthly revenue. Two years later, he opened a branch in Tyler. It turned a profit from the get-go, and in just more than a year, it also hit the $1 million revenue mark.
“We live in a blue-collar world on the rental side. If you’re in that world and can relate to your people, your people will go to the ends of the earth for you and you will be successful,” said Dale Lawrence, an EquipmentShare regional vice president of operations. “Those managers are typically the people who are involved in the whole process. So they’re loading and unloading trucks with the drivers, they’re in the shop helping out, they’re welding cutting edges on buckets, they’re on the counter fielding phone calls. Lee is that guy. He’s absolutely that guy.”
Lobbs took an unconventional path to the rental business. His father was an Arkansas state trooper, and he followed his dad into law enforcement. After spending more than a decade as a deputy sheriff, Lobbs sought a little more financial security and decided to become a truck driver for an equipment rental company in Little Rock, Arkansas. When that branch closed six months later, he was transferred to a rental counter position at a store in Lake Charles. Lobbs was less than a month into his new job when his boss quit. Suddenly, he was in charge.
Unexpectedly, at least to him, “I seemed to be good at it.”
After six years in that position, Lobbs decided to bring his talents to EquipmentShare, which he called “the best decision I’ve made.” He was intrigued by the chance to build his own branch from the ground up — he even picked out the property where the store would be located. He craved the freedom EquipmentShare gives its general managers to make key decisions, such as the size and mix of equipment that works best in their market.
Lobbs developed a finely tuned “sincerity detector” — to put it politely — during his years as a deputy, and it has helped him hire a strong team. His ability to connect with his employees and help them feel invested in the success of the branch is the real secret to his success.
“Lee is wholly involved with his branch,” Lawrence said. “He’s there early in the morning, greeting his people when they walk in the door. He’s set his expectations of what excellence looks like, and he teaches his people to get there. In my opinion, Lee is the best branch manager in the entire company — hands down, without a doubt, period, full stop, mic drop, end of story.”
— EquipmentShare general managers act as the CEO of their branch. They have the freedom to run the branch the way they want, with flexible guidelines and a common goal. If this sounds interesting to you, we are hiring nationwide. Find your calling at equipmentshare.com/careers