Getting to Know Dan Perry/Tool Barn

Dan Perry of The Tool Barn

We were pleased to speak with Dan Perry, owner of the Tool Barn in Bradford, Vermont.  The Tool Barn is a tool rental, sales, and service center located in Bradford, VT. They rent various types of tools and equipment for use by every level for expertise from Do-It-Yourself-ers, to contractors. In addition to a wide array of rentals, they also sell and service various brands of power tools and are an Authorized Service Center for a number of brands including Milwaukee, Makita, Dewalt, PorterCable, Delta and Tanaka. The Tool Barn is located at 1233 Lower Plain in Bradford. Dan can be reached at (802) 222-9311, by email at dan@renttoolbarn.com or visit them online at www.renttoolbarn.com

When did you start the Tool Barn business?
I bought it from the guy that started the business in June 2005. He had run the business for 11 years prior to that. At that time, it was in Fairlee. In 2010 we bought and renovated this building (in Bradford). The business is (now) mainly myself and my wife although my wife is mainly a Principal and not involved in the day-to-day operations. My son Daniel used to work here but he is now married and off doing his own thing. My father still comes in to help once in a while. We have one other employee who works as a Tool Technician.

What did you do before starting the business? Is your background in equipment repair?
I graduated in 1976 and worked with my cousins and all the boys at Perry’s Oil. I worked at Perry’s for 14 years in appliance parts and services and was also out on the road as a technician. I also worked at the Water Department in town for 11 years before starting this business.

Do you get a lot of “Do-It-Yourself” customers?
Our main customers are Do-It-Yourselfers but contractors run a close second. Popular rental items for Do-It-Yourself customers are floor sanders, floor nailers, carpet cleaners, water pumps (for swimming pools) and pressure washers although they rent all sorts of things.

What are the biggest challenges for your business?
The biggest challenge is the general economy. 2005-2007 was really good. From 2008-2010, the business went down a bit and it levelled off during 2011-2013 but it hasn’t come back to the 2005-2007 levels yet. Weather plays an important role as well. Rentals fall off when the weather is bad. We also do well in the summer but business tends to drop off in the winter.

What are some of the things you have available for rent or services you provide that people may not be aware of?
We have mid-size excavators and tractors and a big thing currently are the man-lifts. Those have been rolling right out of here lately. Tool repair has also become a big part of the business in the past few years as well although we’ve been doing repair for a long time. Our business is currently about ¾ rental and ¼ tool repair.