There are other things to consider before buying a trencher. According to Porter, first among them should be "What is the quality of the machine? Is it user friendly for the customer?"
Carlson points out that heavy-duty features are something to be looked at as well. Make sure you're looking at a rental-duty machine.
Weight is also a factor in the decision, but as Carlson points out, "You really can't get too much weight in a trencher. After all, you want it to stay in the ground." This brings up another point - you'll likely need some sort of small trailer to haul these machines with. Weight is great for keeping the blades in the ground, but not for loading and unloading.
Simplicity of controls is another facet to consider. "Simple-to-understand controls lead to simple operation, leading to safety which leads to a satisfied customer who doesn't mind paying for a piece of equipment that made his job easier," notes Barreto.
"When considering the purchase of a trencher, one of the primary objectives is a machine that gives the rental customer a positive rental experience that will bring him back or make him recommend the product to others," Barreto says. "Safety, simplicity, durability, ease of operation and low maintenance should, if possible, be built into every piece of rental equipment."
Once you've added a mini trencher to your fleet, there is the question of maintenance. While the three types of mini-trenchers mentioned here do have different designs, they all require periodic maintenance. Lee Campbell, marketing manager at Trench Master, advises, "After each rental, check the belt tension and condition, clean the machine and check the spindle (the part on which the blade mounts) for wire, string or other debris." He points out that if a customer has been less than careful about where he uses the machine, this is where the debris can gather. If left alone, it can lead to bearing failure.
Carlson at Groundhog recommends proper tensioning of the chain, as well as greasing all fittings after each rental. He also offers a precaution: "I see a lot of failures in the rental industry caused by high-pressure washers. We recommend caution on our units to avoid bearing damage from spraying high-pressure water directly at a bearing." This is a precaution that applies to all sorts of machinery, not just trenchers.
Porter recommends regular maintenance as well. "Check blade condition and belt tension," he says. "Proper tension on the belts will keep the correct amount of power to the blade and prevent the belts from burning or wearing pulleys."
Of course, engine maintenance takes on a special significance on a piece of equipment that lives its life in the dirt. Proper care of air filters and frequent oil changes are part of life for equipment that digs for a living.
Just like any other piece of powered equipment, you'll need to add this one to your maintenance schedule, and make sure the manufacturers' recommended procedures are followed. With proper care you'll find that mini-trenchers might be small in size, but can be mighty in utility and profits.