Also, Barreto’s chain will not operate when the trencher is in the forward position, reducing the possibility of trenching incorrectly and causing damage to the trencher. The dig chain can also be reversed to dislodge rocks and debris without having to take the boom out of the trench and manually remove obstructions.
The right machine for the job
Sending the right equipment for the job is another important consideration. “Don’t send a mini-trencher to do a large trencher job. It will frustrate the customer,” Barreto advises. “Likewise, if a mini-trencher is the most efficient tool, encourage the customer to give it a try – even if they are used to a different model of trencher. They will appreciate not being up-sold on a more expensive rental.”
Porter at E-Z Trench says rental businesses must "qualify" their customer and be sure they understand the proper use of the machine. “Finding out the customer’s application needs and working conditions is very helpful in providing them the proper tool and therefore, a satisfying rental experience,” he says.
In addition, the nature of trenching requires that rental businesses have some knowledge of the ground conditions in their geographic region, Porter says. Manufacturers typically offer different digging chains with teeth to suit various ground conditions.
Take good care
To promote a successful mini-trencher rental for your customers, make sure the machine is serviced regularly and properly. “Be proactive about eliminating the chance of problems in the field and save on expensive downtime and repair parts,” says Barreto. “Nothing frustrates a customer more than having a piece of equipment break down in the middle of their project. Be sure the engine components, mechanical parts and cutting teeth are not worn.”
Kuyers at Vermeer agrees, pointing out that since mini-trenchers don’t pack a lot of horsepower (compared to larger trenchers), they won’t cut effectively without sharp teeth. “Keep the machine in good shape,” he says. “You need to pay attention to things like teeth and belt tensioning.”
From Point A to Point B
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for homeowners wishing to tackle a project themselves is how to get the equipment home. Many don’t own a pickup or trailer, so it’s up to you to offer delivery options. If the customer has a trailer or rents one from you, be sure to explain where to find tie-down points and instruct him or her on how to turn off the gas on the engine before transporting.
Many mini-trenchers are small enough to fit in the back of some automobiles, such as the Vermeer RT60. “It’s very easy to transport – the unit weighs around 200 pounds, so it can be lifted by two people,” Kuyers says.
Transport issues don't end when your customer gets the machine home, however. Often, moving the unit around the yard creates enough of a challenge for homeowners. To that end, Barreto’s new 712MT has the ability to be self-propelled during transportation, or easily transported manually, without needing to start the engine, by unlocking the freewheel hubs.
Select the right model
When choosing a mini-trencher for your inventory, look for safety in control and operation. “Reduce your liability and ensure the protection of your customer by having the proper safety features: easily accessed engine kill switch, fewer control knobs, protected components and accessible safety instructions,” Barreto says.
Hale at Little Beaver notes that Little Beaver mini-trenchers feature a slip clutch built in, stopping the wheel and killing the engine whenever the blade hits an obstruction, a feature that can bring much comfort to DIYers who are a little uncertain when operating.
To increase revenue vs. maintenance/replacement cost, you should also look for durability in components and design. A trencher in constant need of maintenance or repair will reduce revenue and increase operating costs. “Hydraulics will provide greater longevity than mechanical components. There are far fewer wear items and hydraulic relief systems will stall the machine before breakage occurs when encountering obstructions while trenching,” Barreto says.