Looking to gain a competitive edge on the jobsite? Renting compact equipment, specifically Bobcat® excavators, compact track loaders and skid-steer loaders, gives you and your equipment operators the opportunity to take on short-term projects and access new revenue sources as well as use the newest and most advanced equipment, all while reducing operating costs and minimizing downtime.
There are many benefits to renting equipment, but to reap these benefits you and your operators must understand how to properly use it.
Provide proper equipment training
Anytime you rent compact equipment, make sure you and your operators have the proper education and training. This begins with reviewing the Operation & Maintenance Manual and Operator’s Handbook which tethered to the machine.
Next, review safety and instructional decals on the interior and exterior of your equipment. The decals are to alert you and your operators about potential hazards, and instructions on how to avoid the hazards. Make sure to notify your rental store if you see any decals that become worn, damaged or missing.
Additional training resources and quick reference guides on proper operating practices include the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) safety manuals – available in print and digital formats. AEM is a trade association that provides global services to companies that manufacture equipment, products and services.
Training and service safety training course kits are also designed to improve safety and productivity when operating rented equipment. Most include a DVD with videos for individual or classroom instruction.
If you or your operators are unfamiliar with the equipment, ask your rental store or dealership to provide hands-on training or to explain basic operating procedures, including the machine’s controls, gauges, signals, indicators and monitor displays. Service technicians can also discuss recent technology updates, encourage demonstrations and show you how to get the best performance out of your equipment.
Follow safety guidelines
A safety culture starts with management and operational staff members who treat safety and health as an investment, not a cost, and who demonstrate model behaviors. Guidelines include wearing a seatbelt, using the grab handles and steps that are provided for a three-point contact when entering and exiting the machine, and avoiding loose clothing that can get caught on working components or the machine.
Depending on jobsite rules, you and your operators should use work lights and a horn (if equipped) for efficient and safe operation.
Perform necessary maintenance
Although rental stores take care of major maintenance during a rental contract, you are obligated to perform routine equipment maintenance. Before using the equipment, make sure you and your operators take a few minutes to walk around the machine to look for potential problems.
During the walkaround, make sure to complete a full compact track loader or compact excavator undercarriage inspection for excessive or uneven wear, look for damaged or missing components, and clean the undercarriage to help minimize any material buildup that can contribute to wear. Routinely and properly cleaning the undercarriage helps to prevent unnecessary downtime and reduces potential wear later.
For compact track loaders and skid-steer loaders, regularly inspect track tension and tire pressure. This can save you a significant amount of money by preventing downtime and can help keep you or your operators productive.
Inspect the battery cables and connections before operation. Corroded terminals can cause hard starting and charging issues that again can negatively affect your experience with your machines.
In addition, it’s a good idea to have a general understanding of fluid levels for the machine. This would include diesel exhaust fluid DEF, hydraulic fluids and cooling fluids. Keeping all fluid at proper levels will help minimize downtime.
Typical maintenance procedures, which are provided in the Operation & Maintenance Manual, can be performed without any specific technical training. However, some maintenance items may need to be completed by your rental store.
Understand fuel considerations
Fuel can be one of the most expensive operational expenses and is an important consideration to note when renting compact equipment, especially when using the machine for an extended period. Using clean fuel is your first line of defense to proactively keep the machine running in top performance.
Here are a few tips to make sure you are purchasing the cleanest fuel possible for your rental:
●Purchase fuel from a trusted supplier.
●Confirm the fuel’s cloud point, which is dependent on geographic location and time of year.
●Test bulk fuel tanks every six months if you store bulk fuel at your company’s facility or yard.
●Keep supply tank fuel filters clean if they are stored at your company’s facility or yard.
●Use 2-micron fuel filters.
●Fill machine tanks at the end of each workday.
●For long-term rentals, be sure to keep a preventive maintenance log.
Your rental store should understand how today’s diesel fuel is different and how it relates to advanced engines so they can treat fuel-related issues.
Assess jobsite conditions
After you and your operators are comfortable operating equipment, using the controls safely under all conditions of the work area, and understanding fuel considerations, then assess the jobsite conditions.
Get a feel for the work area and look for potential dangers, such as underground or overhead utility lines, narrow roadways, sharp curves and soft ground conditions. You and your operators should look around the jobsite to make sure there are no bystanders and use barrier tape, traffic cones or gates to keep other individuals and equipment out of the work area. All underground utilities should be clearly marked before excavating. If they’re not identified, operators should call 811 to schedule a trained professional to identify the underground utilities.
Lock out unwanted use
The success of your company and renting compact equipment is dependent on proper use, storage and upkeep of the equipment. Jobsites are easy targets for equipment theft, so make sure you and your operators are taking the necessary procedures to lock out unwanted use.
It is also advantageous to ask the rental store if the compact equipment you are renting has any security features to prevent unauthorized use. At the end of the day, it’s peace of mind for you and the rental store that the equipment is secure.As an equipment owner, it’s up to you to communicate proper operating procedures to your compact equipment operators. By following these tips, you and your operators can promote a safer work environment, avoid preventable downtime and maximize your rental dollars.