Things to consider
The type of customer a rental business serves is an important factor in deciding whether or not to buy a compact track loader, Ross notes. "Are they working with a lot of residential contractors who will be working in the dirt doing rough grades, final grades and landscaping?" he asks. "These are applications that compact track loaders excel in."
Regional climate is another relevant issue, says David Daniels, New Holland brand marketing manager. Areas where long rainy periods are normal will have a greater demand for compact track loaders than places where it is usually dry, he notes.
In selecting compact track loaders, rental store owners should look for durability, reliability and ease of maintenance. "Pay particular attention to the roller and idlers for durability," Rostberg emphasizes. "Damaging one of these parts can cost thousands of dollars in repairs and take the machine out of the rental inventory until it can be fixed."
Equipment transport is another factor to think about when deciding whether or not to add a compact track loader to your fleet.Because these machines weigh more than skid steers, a rental company or its customer might need a larger trailer than what is used for skid steers. In some states, towing more than 10,000 pounds requires a driver with a commercial drivers license, Zupancic notes.
The height and width of the machines should also be considered. While still compact in size, track loaders are bigger than skid steers and therefore, not as nimble in very tight quarters.
Also, choose a compact track loader with the control pattern that best reflects the preferences of your customers. Some models today offer pilot-operated joystick controls, some use a combination of foot and hand controls and still others use strictly hand controls.
One of the most important maintenance requirements for compact track loaders is checking the track tension. If the tension is too tight, the undercarriage will be worn or damaged, and if it is too loose, the track will fall off, Zupancic explains. He recommends checking track tension before every rental and teaching customers how to check it, reminding them to do it daily.
Rostberg points out the importance of keeping the tracks and undercarriage clean. To do this, hose down these parts of the machine at the end of each day.
High expectations, big rewards
Compact track loaders work well for many kinds of customers, which puts money in the bank for rental businesses. With compact track loaders, rental store operators benefit both from a higher rental rate as well as more constant usage. "The payoff comes from higher financial utilization and greater day utilization," notes Rostberg. "Compact track loaders can be rented when rubber-tire machines are sitting idle. They also drive premium rental rates compared to the rubber-tire machines."
Ross agrees, adding, "When the rainy season hits, a lot of the rental equipment is sitting because people can't use it. Compact track loaders will still be rented then. Rental store owners need to be aware of how many rentals they're missing because they don't have a compact track loader."
Mustang Compact Track Loaders
- 66- to 97-hp output
- Dedicated track design
- Heavy-duty undercarriage system
- Minimal ground disturbance
John Deere Compact Track Loaders
- 62-hp Deere CT 322 and 76-hp CT 332
- Two-speed transmission
- Hydraulic Quik-Tatch
- 6,400- and 9,200-lb. tipping loads
- 8,305- and 10,825-lb. operating weights
- 4,300- and 8,210-lb. breakout forces
- True vertical lift boom with 115.2- and 127-in. height to hinge pin
Case Compact Track Loaders
- Undercarriage incorporates a tapered design for the frame cover, steel mud scrapers, large spring mounted to the front idler, dual-cone face seals and four triple-flange rollers
- 74-net-hp 445CT with power reach vertical lift delivers a 3,500-lb. lift capacity
- 82-net-hp 450CT with power cycle radial arm configuration provides a 3,857-lb. lift capacity