Field service has long been a big part of the rental business, and the trend has been growing in recent years. What has not been the norm, however, is field-service equipment for rent.
Rental operations have been key clients of QT Equipment, Akron, OH, ever since QT was founded in 1991, but that business required rental companies to own service vehicles in order to maintain their rental fleet in the field. All of that changed when QT launched what it believes is the first nationwide service-truck rental program.
Many rental companies have come to realize the value of field service to their customers. Good customer service includes providing around-the-clock customer care that quickly addresses breakdowns, and a good equipment-maintenance program should include a dedicated field-service vehicle.
“We help our rental clients understand that field service comes back to their bottom line in the end,” says Doug Root, president of QT Equipment. “When a customer calls to say that they are suffering downtime because of an equipment breakdown, you have to be able to get to the jobsite and fix it immediately. Every dollar you save your customers by sparing them downtime is a dollar that’s going to come back to you.”
Until QT launched its rental program, rental operations had two choices if they needed to do field service: buy their own service vehicles or contract with a third-party service provider to fix their customers’ breakdowns and take care of preventive maintenance schedules. Now there is a third option.
QT Equipment, which has offices in Ohio and Florida, recently launched a nationwide rental program for service equipment, making it one of the country’s only locations to rent mechanics trucks, lube trucks and articulating cranes. QT is a Diamond Authority Distributor for Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc. (IMT), and QT’s fleet of rental service equipment consists of IMT Dominator mechanics trucks, IMT SiteStar lube trucks and IMT articulating cranes, as well as the QT Lube Trailer.
“Rentals are very popular with so many other types of equipment, but no rental company has tackled the service equipment business yet,” Root says. “The rental option is great for our customers who want the benefits of field service but aren’t quite ready to purchase their own equipment or who need a temporary fill-in unit.”
Renting for rental companies
A rental company can benefit from renting a service truck in a variety of ways. First, many rental operations depend on steady cash flow, and renting a service truck avoids the capital expenditure of purchasing. Also, rental companies on the fence about buying service trucks can rent a mechanics truck for a few months as a trial.
“Owning service trucks is generally a no-brainer for large rental operations, and it usually makes good economic sense for mid-sized ones,” Root said. “But small rental companies might need help figuring out how to justify the expense.”
Renting a service truck gives a company the chance to decide whether the benefits of significantly increased uptime on their equipment would outweigh the cost of buying a dedicated service truck. Many of these smaller operations still have to go through a very time-consuming process when equipment breaks down. Rental companies without service trucks must drop off a fresh piece of equipment at the jobsite and take the broken-down machine back to the shop for repairs - and that’s only if the same equipment is available. If it’s not, then the rental house has to haul the equipment to the shop, fix it and try to get it back to the customer before downtime has become a big enough issue to keep the customer from ever coming back. The other option, in the absence of an in-house service truck, is to contract with a third-party field mechanic.
The QT service-equipment rental program also offers advantages for rental companies that already depend on service trucks in their daily operations.