Key Features for Skid-Steers in Rental Fleets

Manufacturers lay out what skid-steer features should be available in rental fleets.

Comfortability and versatility are key when it comes to what rental companies should think about for their skid-steer rental fleets.
Comfortability and versatility are key when it comes to what rental companies should think about for their skid-steer rental fleets.
John Deere

As companies rent out skid-steers, simplicity is typically the name of the game, according to Jeff Jacobsmeyer, product manager, Case Construction Equipment. After all, companies generally won’t know how proficient the individual that’s renting from them is regarding skid-steer operation.

“Consequently, bells and whistles aren’t as important when you’re adding a machine to your rental fleet,” he says. “But, having said that, knowing the profile of your local rental customer is critical.”

For instance, if large-scale professional contractors are renting, they’ll tend to have the experience and operators that are necessary for working with larger, more powerful machines. However, if a company is a local rental operation that tends to serve smaller businesses and “weekend warriors,” it will need to provide a solution that’s effortless to maintain, operate and own.

In addition, consider including a more comprehensive auxiliary hydraulics package with skid-steers. Utilization is key—if a skid-steer’s utilization rate is high, it will likely be more profitable long term. And, of equal importance, rental companies should offer various attachments with the skid-steer. If companies are able to provide more attachments, equipment will become more valuable to renters, leading to a higher probability that they’ll rent from them again.

“At the same time, electrohydraulic controls can be a big help, as they’ll offer flexibility to your rental customers, in terms of control patterns and setting machine responsiveness to their personal liking,” Jacobsmeyer says. “And, if your customers have multiple operators on each of their jobsites, every operator can set the machine to their own preference and even set saved profiles.”

It's not crucial for rental companies to spring for every single additional feature on skid-steer loaders.It's not crucial for rental companies to spring for every single additional feature on skid-steer loaders.Case Construction Equipment

Grading technology and couplers enhance efficiency

While reflecting on rental fleets’ most significant features, Luke Gribble, solutions marketing manager, John Deere, has added that contractors’ comfortability, efficiency and versatility are vital, too.

“Time is money on a jobsite, and operators are always looking for equipment that will help them get the job done faster,” he says. “While boasting versatility, operators will likely gravitate toward renting a skid-steer with multiple functions that will boost their overall efficiency and convenience. They will also gravitate toward a machine that prioritizes comfort.”

With this in mind, skid-steer fleets should have features like technology that will provide customers grading assistance, controls that are easy to utilize and couplers that will allow renters to effortlessly switch between attachments.

“As a renter or rental fleet owner, you should also look into other options that enable operators to check the cross slope (roll) and mainfall slope (pitch) of their skid-steer from the comfort of its cab,” Gribble says. “Other third-party options like box blades with laser control—a recently released offering that’s compatible with a wide range of skid-steers—can help customers maintain proper grade on their jobsites.”

Optionality for control types is in high demand as well. Although mechanical controls are still offered on skid-steers, EH controls are becoming more and more popular.

"By adding an EH joystick performance package, operators will have maximum versatility as they’re able to choose between four-way switchable controls: ISO, H-pattern, foot controls and a combination of ISO and foot controls,” Gribble says. “The EH joystick performance package will also allow operators to control customizable settings like switching from accelerator to decelerator pedals and implementing creep control mode, in order to perform precise tasks while utilizing their skid-steers’ full power.”

Furthermore, couplers enable you to replace general-purpose buckets with fork attachments in a matter of seconds. As a result, companies will have an opportunity to achieve several goals with one machine.

“Generous standard and optional high-flow auxiliary hydraulics will allow rental companies to run powered attachments, such as hydraulic hammers, planetary augers and trenchers,” Gribble adds. “These specialized attachments are not only able to handle a majority of the materials that are moved around jobsites, but they also excel at specialized tasks, leading to their high value.”

Two-speed travel can save operators time in moving material across a jobsite and move between jobsites.Two-speed travel can save operators time in moving material across a jobsite and move between jobsites.Bobcat

Controls and attachments fulfill customers’ needs

Aside from attachments, grading assistance technology, EH controls and couplers, rental companies can use several other features, in order to ensure they provide customers the most adequate skid-steer loaders possible.

For instance, if a rental company serves a large customer base, it'll likely need to offer skid-steers that have different style controls. 

To best determine which style controls to offer, it's important to fully understand the customer base’s overall needs, first and foremost. Take the time to discover which applications will perform the most adequately with customers’ preferred skid-steer loaders. In doing so, companies can choose the most sufficient features to include with a rental fleet.

“Your rental company should also consider including skid-steer loaders that are equipped with two-speed travel,” says Mike Fitzgerald, marketing manager, Bobcat. “This feature is a time saver for operators who need to move materials over a large jobsite or have to travel between jobsites.”

Additionally, attachment versatility is key as skid-steer loaders will only be as functional as the attachments that they’re able to power. Therefore, rental companies may decide to purchase skid-steer loaders that can power a wide array of standard-flow and high-flow attachments. Upon doing so, customers will be able to match their application and attachment performance with whichever hydraulic option is the most suitable for them and their unique requirements.

He adds, “By considering each of these features, you’ll have a better chance of discovering which ones are the most ideal for your rental company, as you strive to maximize your skid-steers’ ROI as quickly and consistently as possible,” Fitzgerald says.