Compact utility loaders are valued by contractors for their versatility. This also makes them a popular item at rental centers.
Attachments — the very thing that makes these machines so resourceful — can be difficult to find in many rental inventories. Some of you might be reluctant to carry attachments because of concerns over customer interest and the return on investment.
Ironically, if you don’t offer a variety of attachments, you might be missing out on your compact utility loader’s most compelling feature — its versatility.
A tool for many jobs
Compact utility loaders, or mini skid steers, as they are often called, are popular with your customers for many reasons. They are user-friendly, their narrow width allows them to fit in tight spaces larger equipment cannot access and they can be used on many different types of jobs because there are literally dozens of attachments available.
The potential customers for compact utility loader attachments include landscapers, tree care contractors, concrete contractors and more. But you must carry the attachments they want in order for them to become a customer.
Research customer needs
Although the benefits seem clear, you must do your research before entering the attachment business. This includes knowing your customer base and trying to determine what the market is for attachments in your area.
Log customer requests for attachments. You might be surprised to see how many times a customer asked about a specific attachment.
In addition to recording customer requests, consider proactively questioning customers to gauge their interest in renting various attachments. Don’t just speculate that they will rent something. Just because you ‘build it’ doesn’t mean they ‘will come.’
Something else to consider is which attachments the competition carries, and which ones it does not. If a certain attachment is not available in your area, and your research shows there is demand, then that might be a chance to pick up new customers.
For example, a concrete contractor might have a job removing an existing patio in a space too tight for his large skid steer to access. Having a hydraulic breaker attachment for a compact utility loader that can fit through a standard 36-inch gate might bring that contractor into your store.
There’s one more angle to this. Compact utility loaders have so many uses that some contractors may not realize they could benefit from a certain attachment. So, in addition to asking customers what they want, educate customers on attachments they could use.
Sky’s the limit
If you carry compact utility loaders in your inventory, consider these attachments because of their popularity: buckets, pallet forks, trenchers and dirt auger sizes of 6, 9 and 12 inches at a minimum.
Those are the most popular attachments, but contractors require other specialized attachments including dozer blades, brush grapples, vibratory plows, snow blowers, tillers, landscape rakes and sod rollers. This is why logging requests, talking with customers and evaluating the competition is important. Knowing what the demand is in your area will allow you to better identify which attachments you should carry. If you do your homework you have a good chance of seeing high utilization of your compact utility loader attachments and realizing a strong ROI.
The sky really is the limit in terms of bringing possible solutions to customers in your market.