Rent Smart: Renting skid steers

When compared to a 2001 Randall Publishing survey, respondents to our 2005 survey on renting skid steers are less likely to rent these machines by the month. In 2001, 40 percent of our respondents told us they rented skid steers by the month; that number dropped to 20 percent in 2005. In addition, those saying they rented skid steers by the day rose 18 percentage points from 2001, with 53 percent saying they use this option in 2005, compared to the 35 percent who used it in 2001.

With the addition of equipment manufacturers’ rental operations (Cat Rental Store, Volvo Rents), the skid steer rental distribution picture has seen some interesting changes. Local independent rental dealers were cited by 9 percent more of the 2005 respondents than those in our 2001 survey. Similar advances were seen by national or regional rental chains. At first glance, there would seem to be a 21 percent drop in respondents who said they rented skid steers from equipment manufacturers’ dealers. Combined with the equipment manufacturers’ rental operations, however – an option not given in our 2001 survey – that decrease lessens to 6 percentage points. More respondents today (56 percent compared to 2001’s 49 percent) say they ask for a specific brand when they rent a skid steer. Operator familiarity with the brand in question continues to be a factor, with 78 of our respondents saying it was either “most important” or “important” when deciding which skid steer to rent.

Self transport of rental skid steers is gaining popularity, with 21 percent more respondents in 2005 than in 2001 saying they typically choose this option over having the rental center provide delivery and pickup services.