Maximizing Your Rental Investment
Rent the Right Attachments for the Right Compact Tool Carrier
Todd Versteeg Mar 15, 2012
The economy is finally starting to show signs of improvement. Co nsumer confidence is up and contractors are beginning to see a more consistent flow of work. To meet those growing needs, contractors are renting compact tool carrier and attachments to enhance productivity without having to make a long-term commitment. “The last few years have been tough on everyone’s business,” says Ted Viars, senior rental sales manager at Toro. “An uncertain workflow and tighter credit restrictions are two key things driving an increase in rentals on compact tool carriers and attachments.”
The Perfect Fit
Restricted working conditions is one of the main reasons contractors rent compact tool carriers instead of larger attachment carriers such as skid steer loaders. “The number of jobsites that won’t easily accommodate larger equipment continues to grow,” explains Viars. “In those situations, contractors either have to do the work completely by hand or look for more productive ways. Since the controls to most units are so easy to learn, even the most novice operator can quickly become productive behind the controls.”
When renting a compact tool carrier, there are also several other factors contractors should look into. Most units can fit through a standard size gate but sometimes entry into a work area may be more narrow than that. “Before renting a compact utility loader, be sure to measure the point of entry,” suggests Viars. “Toro has loaders that can fit through a 36-in. gate and units with wide tracks that provide better flotation, which will minimize disruption to the ground.”
The ability to ride on the compact tool carriers is also a preference of many operators. However, riding on the unit can be more intimidating to novice operators that are just starting out. In addition, the weight of an operator will add to the ground pressure of the unit. “A contractor may want to rent a loader that allows the operator to choose between riding on or walking behind the unit if they are looking to minimize the impact on the turf,” explains Viars.
Attachments are a driving force for maximizing the productivity of a compact tool carriers. “When a contractor needs to accomplish work that a basic bucket won’t do, they should find the right attachment to enhance the performance of the loader,” says Viars. “The best place to start is telling the rental store representative what kind of work is being done so they can make attachment suggestions. The right attachments can significantly cut down on the amount of time required to do a job. For example, when installing a fence, many people will rent an auger head to drill the holes for the posts. However, adding a set of forks to the rental order can help eliminate the backbreaking labor of carrying material around the site.”
Renting attachments is also a popular option for contractors that own compact tool carriers. “Today more companies are trying to eliminate the need to subcontract work out to another individual or company,” says Viars. “A landscape contractor that specializes in hardscape work may own a few attachments that they know they will use on a regular basis like a bucket, auger powerhead and a set of forks, but will rent a trencher attachment when they are asked to install an irrigation system — a job that they don’t do on a regular basis.”
When it comes to attachment performance, it’s important to look at brands to ensure it is compatible with the specific model of compact tool carriers being operated. This is particularly important for hydraulically operated attachments.
“When an attachment is not specifically matched for a power source, contractors can lose productivity,” explains Viars. “There are many third party manufacturers that build attachments to work with compact utility loaders but many do not deliver the same level of performance as those being produced or endorsed by the loader manufacturer. To ensure the best performance, contractors should ask the rental store for a particular brand of attachment that is properly matched to the carrier.”
Todd Versteeg is a technical writer with Performance Marketing, based in West Des Moines, Iowa.