In colder climates, it’s a good idea to outfit your skid steers with a block heater that will enable the engine to start easier when the mercury takes a dip into the single digits.
Standard on some models – and almost a no-brainer – it’s important to spec your skid steers with an audible backup alarm that lets bystanders know when the machine is moving in reverse to ensure the safety of everyone on the jobsite.
“A skid steer is really a power unit for attachments,” says Goettel. “Most owner-operators will buy an average of 2.6 attachments for each skid steer they purchase. In rental, they might buy as many as six attachments per skid steer.” To meet all your customers‘ needs, it pays to offer a wide array of attachments to go with your skid steer fleet.
At the very least, it’s wise to offer a replaceable cutting edge on each bucket to prolong its life, Zupancic says, adding, “Other features to consider include a self-leveling bucket, Power Quik-Tatch and occasionally a high-flow hydraulic option if the customers are using some of the more hydraulic-thirsty style attachments, like cold planers, mulching heads or snow blowers.”
ROI – The ultimate goal
At the end of the day, the number-one goal for your skid steer fleet is to achieve the highest return on investment in the shortest period of time. As such, it doesn’t make sense to option your fleet with a lot of deluxe features if your customer base is interested mostly in short-term rentals.
“Rental businesses would like to maximize their return on investment, so, for the most part, their machines are no frills,” says Moore. “But it’s dependent on what region you’re in and your customer base. The more options you add, the more it will cost, but the better the resale will likely be. Also, if your customers really prefer a certain feature, it might be worth it to make the investment.”
Rostberg agrees, adding, “They would have to make a lot of new sales out of it to recoup those option fees. However, when it comes time to sell a machine, options can be helpful.”
With or without the extra bells and whistles, skid steers are constantly evolving to provide operators with more and more performance and comfort, and you can expect that trend to continue. “We expect machines to get easier to operate and help customers to get their job done more accurately and faster,” Zupancic says. “In the future, we expect to see manufacturers taking advantage of the drive-by-wire technology of EH joystick controls by integrating more push-button automatic features. These could include technologies that allow the machine to recognize previous operator settings, help the operator control the machine more precisely around the jobsite, or automatically move the machine into the right position to complete a task. In the future, only the sky is the limit for new features and options that help improve a customer’s productivity, uptime and at a lower daily operating cost.”