Often, the difference between a missed rental and a satisfied customer is the speed with which repairs are made. As car dealerships are known for their expertise on their brand, you should strive to be the expert on your equipment. If a tool is needed for repairing Brand X machines, and it's your brand, then that tool should be in your shop.
Once you've determined which tools are needed, it pays to put them in a central location and engrave them as shop use only, so they don't make there way onto your rental tool board.
Keep it lubricated
Changing oil and lubricating fittings is a daily job in the rental business, and today there are better ways of doing it than ever before. If you have a large fleet of equipment, you might find the best way to purchase oil is in bulk. Not only do you get a lower price, but there are no quart or gallon oil containers to inventory and dispose of.
Dispensing bulk oil is best done with an air-powered dispenser. These have a dial or gauge which tells the operator how much oil he has dispensed, helping eliminate waste and spills.
The next piece of lubricating equipment that is essential is a bulk, air-powered greasing system. Once again, the product is less expensive than standard models, and it makes an essential task quicker and more thorough. Many times fittings you can't lubricate manually will succumb to the power of an air-powered system.
The best part of these two items is the cost. Many oil companies will lease or rent them to you at a reduced rate or at no charge, providing you purchase enough oil and grease.
Then, of course, there is the matter of waste oil. In many areas of the country it makes great economic sense to use a waste oil heater to dispose of waste oil, which provides some well deserved warmth to your staff and adds to your bottom line.
Keep it powered up
Most rental centers rent battery-powered lifts and hand-held electric tools. There are certain tools needed to properly care for and service these pieces of equipment.
Battery-powered lifts rely on deep-cycle batteries, and batteries require maintenance. Items like chemicals for cleaning batteries and load testers for testing their strength are essential to have, along with a high-quality battery charger capable of charging both 6- and 12-volt batteries.
Electric tools like demo hammers and drills require 110 volts to operate, so tools for their care include a dielectric tester (for testing the tool for shorts, opens and dangerous conditions) and an armature tester, sometimes referred to as a growler, for testing armatures and components. (Visit www.sotcher.com and www.slaughtertest.com for more information on these essential tools.) These tools serve a dual purpose: they provide both efficiency and safety.
An essential tool in any shop is the digital multimeter. These are as varied in price and features as they are in colors, but make sure you get one that is a "true rms" meter. Simply put, this means the meter is more accurate than the standard type digital meter, and less likely to make trouble when reading the fractions of volts needed to be read when testing lift control circuits or the charging circuit of a generator, for example. (Visit www.fluke.com and www.simpsonelectric.com for more information.) The proper multimeter can be used to test all types of circuitry and can mean the difference between repairing equipment or just replacing parts until the equipment starts working again.
Keep it clean
There are several ways of cleaning oily, dirty parts. There is the traditional parts wash tanks that you rent and that use solvent. These have worked well for many years. There are also newer types of parts washers that use microorganisms to devour the grime you wash off. These work by keeping the wash fluid at a certain temperature so the bacteria thrive.
Either type of machine requires common sense maintenance. Don't put anything truly greasy into them (you might stop up a filter -clean off the larger deposits first); keep the fluid changed or topped off as needed; and keep the filters changed. Service is important if you want your parts washer to do its job well. (Visit www.safetykleen.com, www.chemfree.com for more information.)
Into the future