As demand for construction rental products continues to grow and the supply of new machines is constrained by supply chain challenges, ensuring efficient turnaround time between rentals becomes a strategic advantage. A proactive approach to make sure every machine is rental-ready can help drive long-term success. A well-maintained machine will outshine an unmaintained machine and help maximize productivity.
Construction rental customers come in many forms. Proper machine preparation can help you succeed with the whole customer base. “A lot of rental units go out on weekend rentals. Those units are coming back on Monday mornings,” Vermeer tree and landscape product specialist Kyle Newendorp explained. “Your shop needs to get those turned around and back out on the rental yard to be rented throughout the week.”
Here are a few ways to make the machines on your rental yard stand out.
Attract construction rental customers
Appearance of the machines and rental yard helps a rental company stand out from the competition. “A lot of customers are driving by these rental shops,” said Newendorp. “If they live in a bigger area with multiple rental stores, they are most likely going to choose the rental shop that catches their eye the most with the brightest, best-maintained equipment.”
You want to convey a professional image. “Large contractors working in the area will look at rental businesses that maintain their equipment,” added Newendorp. “Those who maintain their equipment at a higher level will have repeat contractors and customers. Contractors renting equipment for long periods of time will be your largest revenue stream.”
Preventive maintenance plays an important role in the business cycle of any rental business. “Look at equipment on a basis of how long you’re going to rent out that equipment and then resell it,” explained Newendorp. “If you maintain equipment to a high enough level, it helps maintain its value.”
Inspect all construction rental returns
The first step in getting any machine rental-ready is assessing its current condition. “When a machine comes back from rental, you need to make sure everything looks and functions the same way it did before the rental,” said Newendorp. Then check all vital engine and machine parts. Make sure all fluid levels are within acceptable limits, including engine oil, hydraulic oil and coolant level. You need to check the fuel level. “That is either full or empty, depending on if the customer prepaid for fuel or not.”
Many of these inspections require specific machine knowledge. For instance, on a brush chipper, you want to check the condition of the knives on the cutter drum. If it’s a Vermeer BC1000Xl brush chipper, you also want to check that the belt is adjusted and has the proper tension on it.
Towable equipment requires a safety inspection every time it comes back from rental. These units have either hydraulic or electric brakes that need to be checked for proper operation. All light functions need to be working, as well as plugged into the truck itself. The pintle hook or the 2-in (5.1-cm) ball coupler also needs to be in good working condition, as well as the safety chains.
Make sure you refer to the specific product’s maintenance manual and understand any inspection points unique to the machine being inspected, as well as the machine’s operator’s manual for safety messages and further instructions.
Keep ahead of maintenance
Staying on top of regular preventive maintenance can present a challenge in the construction rental environment. When a machine comes back through the shop, check for any upcoming service intervals to ensure they are not missed.
Identify all the bearings that need to be greased. Vermeer makes this a manageable task. “We have a daily checklist on all our machines,” explained Newendorp. “A diagram shows you the location of all grease points. It tells you how many shots of grease the bearing needs or if it needs to be purged, which means until the grease comes out of the bearing itself.”
Vermeer has placed an emphasis on maintenance access. Technicians can take off and put on access panels without needing tools on many machines. “We can really open up the pieces of equipment without getting out the whole tool chest from the back of the mechanic area,” said Newendorp. This represents real-time savings.
Despite the ease of access, Vermeer designs these covers to be durable as well. “Our designs help protect critical parts; that’s why we have a lot of steel shielding on our equipment,” Newendorp explained. “These shields have many advantages over alternatives, such as plastic. Those can get easily broken in the field and need to be replaced.”
“The team at Vermeer recognizes how important access to parts is for rental stores,” continued Newendorp. “To get parts in the hands of customers as quickly as possible, Vermeer is building a new parts warehouse.”
Cover the details
Customer satisfaction often comes down to details. “For instance, construction rental equipment should be washed frequently to remove mud, dirt and dust from all the moving parts,” said Newendorp. “We make sure all our hoses, connectors and valves are waterproof and sealed tight. When you are using a high-pressure washer, this helps with durability.”
Make sure every system on the machine is in proper operating condition before allowing the machine on the rental yard. “Our equipment is built with safety in mind, and also to maximize productivity,” said Newendorp. “Vermeer machines are equipped with several advanced safety features, such as a lower feed stop bar and operator presence switches.”
Vermeer’s MPC12 display is equipped to tell mechanics if a sensor is not functioning properly. “This display, which was introduced this year and is coming to all our brush chippers, can quickly tell technicians where the chipper is experiencing a fault and how to fix it,” said Newendorp. This saves diagnostic time and helps get the machine quickly back onto the rental lot.
For advice on how to make specific models rental-ready, please contact your local Vermeer dealer.
Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in product engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing or distribution at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.
Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2022 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.