Contrasting United Rentals (URI) and UniFirst (UNF)

UniFirst (NYSE: UNF) and United Rentals (NYSE:URI) are both industrial products companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, profitability, earnings, risk and analyst recommendations.

Valuation & Earnings

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This table compares UniFirst and United Rentals’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
UniFirst $1.59 billion 2.01 $70.19 million $5.28 29.83
United Rentals $6.64 billion 2.19 $1.35 billion $10.59 16.25

United Rentals has higher revenue and earnings than UniFirst. United Rentals is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than UniFirst, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares UniFirst and United Rentals’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
UniFirst 6.79% 7.95% 6.42%
United Rentals 20.27% 40.20% 6.73%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations for UniFirst and United Rentals, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
UniFirst 0 2 1 0 2.33
United Rentals 2 4 8 0 2.43

UniFirst presently has a consensus price target of $183.00, indicating a potential upside of 16.19%. United Rentals has a consensus price target of $180.73, indicating a potential upside of 4.99%. Given UniFirst’s higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe UniFirst is more favorable than United Rentals.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

74.0% of UniFirst shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 90.2% of United Rentals shares are held by institutional investors. 1.0% of UniFirst shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.2% of United Rentals shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


UniFirst pays an annual dividend of $0.15 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.1%. United Rentals does not pay a dividend. UniFirst pays out 2.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Volatility and Risk

UniFirst has a beta of 0.61, meaning that its share price is 39% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, United Rentals has a beta of 2.52, meaning that its share price is 152% more volatile than the S&P 500.


United Rentals beats UniFirst on 13 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

UniFirst Company Profile

UniFirst Corporation is a provider of workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States. The Company designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, aprons and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments. It operates in six segments: the US Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing (MFG), Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning (Specialty Garments), First Aid and Corporate. The Company also rents and sells industrial wiping products, floor mats, facility service products and other non-garment items, and provides restroom and cleaning supplies and first aid cabinet services, and other safety supplies. It also decontaminates and cleans work clothes, which has been exposed to radioactive materials and service special cleanroom protective wear and facilities.

United Rentals Company Profile

United Rentals, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an equipment rental company. It operates in two segments, General Rentals; and Trench, Power, and Pump. The General Rentals segment engages in the rental of general construction and industrial equipment, such as backhoes, skid-steer loaders, forklifts, earthmoving equipment, and material handling equipment; aerial work platforms, such as boom lifts and scissor lifts; and general tools and light equipment comprising pressure washers, water pumps, and power tools. This segment serves construction and industrial companies, manufacturers, utilities, municipalities, and homeowners. The Trench, Power, and Pump segment is involved in the rental of specialty construction products, including trench safety equipment, such as trench shields, aluminum hydraulic shoring systems, slide rails, crossing plates, construction lasers, and line testing equipment for underground work; power and HVAC equipment consisting of portable diesel generators, electrical distribution equipment, and temperature control equipment; and pumps primarily used by energy and petrochemical customers. It serves construction companies involved in infrastructure projects, municipalities, and industrial companies. The company also sells new equipment, such as aerial lifts, reach forklifts, telehandlers, compressors, and generators; contractor supplies, including construction consumables, tools, small equipment, and safety supplies; and parts for equipment that are owned by the company's customers, as well as provides repair and maintenance services. It sells its used equipment through its sales force, brokers, and Website, as well as at auctions and directly to manufacturers. As of January 1, 2018, the company operated 997 rental locations in the United States and Canada. United Rentals, Inc. was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.

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