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Summer 2009

'Bulletproof' Equipment Builds Rental Business

Entrepreneur caters to customers with a fleet of dependable Bobcat machines and attachments

Stocking an assortment of durable Bobcat® compact excavators, skid-steer and compact track loaders and attachments has made Steve Lee a successful independent rental store owner.

Lee is the president of Hoosier Tools and operates his store on the north side of Indianapolis. He caters to contractors who rent compact equipment from him for applications that range from farmers cleaning barns to plumbers trenching in tight areas and landscapers and concrete contractors completing more traditional, day-to-day tasks.

Hoosier Tools owner Steve Lee credits his rental store's success to reliable Bobcat compact loaders, excavators and attachments.

Hoosier Tools owner Steve Lee credits his rental store's success to reliable Bobcat compact loaders, excavators and attachments.

Interchangeable attachments

What sets Lee apart from his competitors is a fleet of dependable Bobcat equipment with interchangeable attachments, which allows him to rent more equipment and increase utilization rates. Attachments enable his customers to do more jobs with the same equipment, he says. "We don't always need to buy additional pieces of equipment; we have multiple tool carriers and attachments, and operate the attachments on either carrier," Lee says.

For example, Lee stocks a Bobcat HB680 breaker that he can rent with a 463 (now the S70) skid-steer loader or a 322 compact excavator. That same breaker is also compatible with a Bobcat MT52 or MT55 mini track loader for indoor or outdoor demolition assignments.

Supportive Bobcat dealer

Having a strong relationship with Bobcat of Indy has helped Lee get acquainted with the compact equipment industry. While he was initially reluctant to add a compact excavator to his rental fleet, the dealership provided him with a machine to test the waters before he bought it.

"We didn't know if we could rent an excavator, but once the dealer delivered it, we couldn't keep it in the yard," Lee says. "We eventually bought three excavators and grew from there with additional Bobcat skid-steer loaders and compact track loaders. It wasn't long before we added hydraulic breakers, sweepers, augers, trenchers, and landscape rakes."

A similar experience happened when Lee added a T180 compact track loader. "The dealer brought it to our store to give it a try," Lee says. "The day after it arrived, it went out for a six-month rental. We learned that one's not enough and we kept buying more and more to keep up with the demand."

Although countless salesmen frequently stop into Lee's store to try to persuade him to switch to another brand, Lee hasn't strayed from Bobcat because, according to him, customers like them so much, they're durable and the customer service from the Bobcat dealership has been great. "It's hard to walk away from someone that takes good care of you — we keep Bobcat machines in our yard, because Bobcat is doing something right," Lee says.

"It's hard to walk away from someone that takes good care of you — we keep Bobcat machines in our yard, because Bobcat is doing something right."
— Steve Lee

With an option to stock larger equipment, such as backhoes, Lee sticks to what he knows is popular with his customers. "The Bobcat excavator is a bulletproof machine; it's our bread and butter," he says. "It's the right size, has the right amount of horsepower and our customers can do a lot of work with it. Our customers would rather use an excavator and a loader together than rent a backhoe because of how much they can do with the Bobcat machines."

After almost two decades of rental experience, Steve Lee has learned what works best for his rental customers — a fleet of reliable, tough Bobcat machines.

Visit the rental page to learn more about Bobcat products for rental stores.