Tyler cautions that not just any machine will do. "Deeper trenches or the use of hydraulic hammers/breakers may warrant a 310 SG (86 hp net), which has more backhoe hydraulic power."While his suggestion is brand specific, there is no doubt as to the message -different jobs require different levels of power, and no one backhoe can do everything.
The basics and beyond
So, when looking to add backhoe-loaders to your rental inventory, which machine should you choose? Winkler suggests, "Start off where the market is right now, and that is the 14-foot class machine."
Tyler agrees, pointing out that a basic 14-foot machine would be a great starting point due to its simplicity and lower initial purchase price. Of course, more options will command a higher resale value when it comes time to replace the machine, but to start building an inventory, a basic 14-foot machine is a logical place to start.
Obviously, even at a base level, a backhoe-loader is a major investment for most rental yards, so care should be taken in their selection. Keep in mind that as your fleet grows, there is a need for more than just one type of machine.
"A less experienced backhoe operator may be better served by a simpler machine -two-wheel drive, standard dipperstick and manual controls -so that he or she needs to spend less time learning how to use all the controls,"notes Tyler. "A large construction company that needs a temporary replacement machine may have more experienced operators that can take advantage of the features available on a higher optioned machine to keep their productivity at the levels they are accustomed to."
In other words, it pays to have a backhoe-loader to suit the needs of each of your customer bases.
Talk to your customers
Qualifying your customer is a must with any bakchoe-loader rental, and with the cost of these machines, it's a good idea to spend a little more time with the customer to determine which backhoe-loader best suits their needs. Breaker attachments, as previously noted, are hard on the backhoe to which they are attached, and have their own maintenance needs as well, so when adding one of these popular attachments to your fleet, be sure to price it accordingly.
Finally, train your employees to listen to the customer. If they are novices and doing a job where they will spend a large amount of time on paved roads, perhaps that basic 14-foot machine is the best choice. If, on the other hand, they are doing work on a muddy jobsite and the operator has 20 years experience, now might be the time to rent your top-of-the-line four-wheel drive model. Matching the right machine to the customer will increase customer satisfaction and reduce maintenance costs, so when the opportunity arises to rent a backhoe-loader, listen to your customer, then "load 'em up"!