Retiree turns projects into rental business

When Ron Greiving retired in 2004 after 25 years with Boeing, he began filling idle time with home projects and assisting an uncle with farming duties.

"And one thing led to another," said Greiving, 62.

Now, Greiving is happily busy with the Haysville Rental Center, a business he opened in March. Greiving's 6,000-square-foot rental store and half-acre lot contain a wide range of equipment for indoor and outdoor projects.

"I did some online research and visited several stores in the area around here and down in Missouri," said Greiving, who worked as a technical publications manager at Boeing. "The Center for Entrepreneurship at (Wichita State) did a feasibility study for me. I bought the building and did a renovation on it. Everything was going on at once."

Greiving's timing proved to be fortuitous. A rental center in nearby Derby closed around the time of Haysville Rental's opening, giving Greiving an area customer base that needed to be served. So far, he has done business with people from Belle Plaine, Clearwater, Derby, Douglass, Mulvane, Rose Hill and Wellington.

"Business was picking up in the fall as people found out where I was," Greiving said. "That was one of the tough things to get worked out — just letting people know where we were."

Greiving followed his feasibility study's recommendation to start his business independently instead of as a franchisee. He consulted with Andover Rental Center co-owners Bob Seacat and Ralph Hoyt on contacts with equipment representatives and for operational items like business software.

While Greiving acknowledges that the advertising clout he would have received with a national franchise would be nice, he's happy with the path he chose.

"People call and ask if I've got such-and-such equipment, and I enter that on my computer database," Greiving said. "I've purchased additional items based on that. I'm free to make my own decisions with what I want to handle."

Yard equipment made up a sizable portion of Haysville Rental Center's spring and fall business, Greiving said. As the weather has cooled, he has rented more midsize skid steer loaders and mini-excavators to small contractors and homeowners.

"It's a seasonal business," said Greiving, who has three part-time employees. "You get to meet a lot of different folks. I like being around tools and equipment. It makes it a lot more fun."