Rental trends: Compact excavators

Compact excavators are a popular rental item, with more than 75 percent of Equipment World survey respondents indicating they’ve rented at least one machine in the past year. Research compiled in the fall of 2006 found compact excavators will remain a staple of the rental market – about 40 percent of respondents say they do not currently own any compact excavators, and nearly 74 percent estimate they will rent a compact excavator in the next 12 months.

Of compact excavators (usually sized 6 metric tons and below), 22 percent of our respondents say they most often rent a 2- to 4.5-metric-ton machine; 20 percent told us they rent a 4.5- to 6-metric-ton unit. When renting compact excavators, 85 percent of respondents say they rent the machines one at a time, and less than 30 percent use a rental purchase option. Although few respondents rent-to-own compact excavators, more than 60 percent said the perfect rental dealer would offer rental purchase options. Eighty-six percent of respondents rent compact excavators on a daily or weekly basis, with less than 30 percent saying they rent the machines monthly. The rentals are typically short-term, though – the numbers drop sharply as the rental period length increases.

In determining where to rent compact excavators, a convenient dealer location topped the list of requirements, followed by rental rates and past experiences with the dealer. Other factors respondents say they consider most important are immediately available equipment and well-maintained machines.