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Fall 2011

Maximizing Compact Equipment Rental Revenue

Different approaches help two businesses make sure their compact equipment is being used as often as possible

A Pittsburgh company offers to do excavation jobs for customers who look like they could use a hand, while a Boston-area firm rents loaders and excavators to qualified operators when not using machines for its own projects. Both concepts are working, in part, because the machines doing double duty are Bobcat® compact equipment.

Dino Aquiline

Dino Aquiline, owner of Midway Rentals, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Rental center does work for customers

Dino Aquiline has been a fixture in the equipment rental business in the Homewood neighborhood on the east side of Pittsburgh for 33 years, the last 17 as owner of Midway Rental. He has seen the area change substantially and has endured the ups and downs of the economy. Aquiline’s business has been affected and through it all he has survived.

“I decided to add excavating services after being exclusively a rental center,” he says, “and that’s when the business really exploded. It turned out to be a very good decision.”

Aquiline began offering to do excavating jobs when he noticed that many rental customers were having trouble doing the work themselves.

“People were renting equipment that they had difficulty operating,” he says. “They were damaging the machines. So about 15 years ago my brother John started telling renters that he could do the job for them. When customers came in to rent equipment and it appeared they were not comfortable operating the machines, we offered to rent them the machine and, for an extra fee, send an operator along. We get paid for the rental and the operator, and it makes a nice profit for the company. It has worked out quite well.”

A key to making the rental-excavation system work is Aquiline’s reliance on dependable, versatile Bobcat equipment. His inventory, purchased from Bobcat of Pittsburgh, currently includes a new M-Series E32, a 331E and 335 compact excavators; a 763 and four S150 skid-steer loaders; and a T190 compact track loader.

“Bobcat equipment allows us not only to have the rental products our customers want, but enables us to take on almost any excavation job — sidewalks, driveways, utility lines and land clearing are just some of the jobs people hire us to do. The average project we do ourselves typically brings in about $900 a day. At times we work on bigger projects that last a week or more and generate income of $8,000 to $15,000.”

To handle this work, Aquiline has been able to hire highly qualified operators who have retired and are looking for something to do. When they’re not out on a job they work at the rental center. Midway Rental had Bobcat equipment when Aquiline purchased the business and he has no intention of switching to another brand.

“As long as I am here, there will only be Bobcat loaders and excavators,” he says. “Parts availability is an important factor for me. I know owners of competitive loaders and excavators have had problems getting parts. The service from Bobcat of Pittsburgh is unreal.

“With a utilization rate better than other products, Bobcat equipment has definitely been very good for my business.”

Louis Barretto

Louis Barretto owns nearly a dozen Bobcat machines and rents them to customers when they’re not being used by his company.

When Not in Use, Equipment Available for Rent

Louis Barretto believes in buying the best equipment, and getting the most out of it.

His 20-year-old Boston-area company uses eight Bobcat skid-steer loaders and three excavators — purchased from Bobcat of Boston — for jobs such as snow removal, preparing sites for landscapers and a wide variety of excavation and demolition work. When there is not sufficient work for all of his equipment, Barretto rents his machines to a select group of about 20 clients.

“As I added more equipment for my own projects, especially a growing snow removal business, I found that at times the machines were underutilized,” says the owner of L & L Services, Malden, Mass. “So when someone needed a machine, I found myself in the rental business. And as the economy got worse, the rental business got better.”

It started with a truck and loader

Barretto started his company in 1992 with a six-wheel dump truck and a skid-steer loader. Today he has more than 45 pieces of equipment in order to provide a wide range of services. L & L Services has an extensive vehicle maintenance and repair operation and has a Massachusetts state inspection station and registered emission repair shop on-site.

“I started in the equipment rental business in 2000 when I began getting inquiries from contractors and landscapers,” Barretto says. “At first I rented skid-steer loaders off and on, but when people kept asking about excavators I began to take a serious look at rental opportunities. At that point I purchased a couple of excavators strictly for rental.”

Barretto says the key to his rental success has always been Bobcat machines.

“My Bobcat equipment has been very, very reliable,” he says. “Between my own projects and rental, I need equipment that is ready to work every day. The ease of service is another reason I prefer Bobcat machines. And they are more fuel-efficient than other equipment, at least 15 percent better. My new E35 excavator is even more fuel-efficient than my older Bobcat excavators.”

Different seasons, different schedules

During winter, Barretto uses all eight of his loaders for snow removal at shopping malls and other commercial accounts. That’s when his workforce doubles to about 30 employees.

In summer he typically uses three loaders for his own projects.

“I usually know what work is coming and schedule accordingly,” he says. “The other five machines, along with the three excavators, are available for rent.”

Before Barretto will rent one of his Bobcat machines, however, he makes sure the customer is qualified to operate the equipment.

“When someone new comes in, I question them to find out if they have operated a machine previously,” he says. “I have them get in the machine, start it and see what they can do. If they look confused, I turn them down. I am very careful about who rents my equipment. Bobcat products are plenty tough, and very good rental items, but I don’t need people unnecessarily abusing the machines.”