Considering adding a vacuum excavator to your rental fleet? It could be a great fit if your customer base includes utility contractors, municipalities, industrial maintenance professionals or specialty contractors.
Vacuum excavators combine suction and high-pressure water or air to remove soil from the ground. This soft digging method helps avoid damage to existing infrastructure, which makes vacuum excavators ideal machines for an evolving list of applications.
Rental customer base for vacuum excavators
More than one type of professional is driving the demand for vacuum excavation equipment. Utility contractors are at the top of the list. They depend on vacuum excavators for potholing and controlling slurry during horizontal directional drilling (HDD) operations. However, municipalities and specialized contractors rely on vacuum excavators to clean storm drains and culverts, perform water line repairs and jet sewer line pipes when properly equipped. Other customers are discovering the benefits of the soft digging process in a wide array of applications.
Excavation for poles, footings for signs and fence posts have become common. Vacuum excavators excel in many digging tasks where either a small hole is required or there may be hidden infrastructure. In northern climates, it makes digging below the frost line less of a challenge.
Demand creates rental opportunity
Demand for HDD will continue well into the future as the fiber optic network is built out. This will drive a need for vacuum excavation equipment. At the same time, soft dig solutions continue to move mainstream, creating additional demand.
Utility contractors typically own their own vacuum excavation systems, but they often must deal with seasonal fluctuations in work volume and equipment availability. This creates an opportunity for rental stores to add vacuum excavators to the rental fleet.
“Sourcing high-demand vacuum excavation equipment can prove challenging during peak season,” noted Jeff Scieszinski, Vermeer MV Solutions regional sales manager. “As the industry gets more and more work, the demand for vacuum excavation equipment rises. Contractors get busy. They get stretched thin. They cannot find a vacuum excavator to purchase when they need it, so they rent one.”
Projects located a long way from a utility contractor’s home base also create rental demand. This is due to equipment transport challenges. Trailer hitch space is at a premium.
“Contractors transport the directional drills to the new location, and they rent a vacuum excavator for the duration of the project,” explained Scieszinski. “You need to factor in how many trips it takes to where the job is located.”
Rental stores can include a vacuum excavator as part of the package when other equipment, such as mini excavators, are rented for a job. Some rental stores already realize the benefits of adding a vacuum excavator to their fleet.
Rental offers customers flexibility
In addition to transport issues and seasonal fluctuations in workflow, customers may have an interest in rental versus ownership to keep the equipment off the books. It allows the customer to pay a fixed price for use without having to purchase the unit.
“This also helps the customer with equipment utilization and maintenance,” said Scieszinski. “Some municipal customers may have a hard time getting approval to purchase a vac truck, yet they have the budget for rental. Rental utilization can also be used as a justification to purchase the vac unit at a later date.”
With a wide growing customer base and an expanding list of applications, vacuum excavators can add a new dimension to your current rental fleet.
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