Rental trends: Trenchers

Walk-behind chain-type trenchers in the 15- to 50-horsepower range are the trencher rental of choice for 67 percent of Equipment World survey participants, with ride-on chain-type trenchers coming in second and wheel trenchers the least popular rental machine of the three.

According to the May 2007 survey results, trenchers will remain a frequent rental item for contractors, with 75 percent planning to rent another trencher at least once in the next six months. Seventy-four percent of respondents say they rent trenchers daily and 19 percent rent them weekly for tasks such as installing water lines, electrical lines and silt fences. Other uses included installing footings, gas lines or fiber optic lines.

While 87 percent of participants reported no surprises when renting a trencher, those who did encounter problems noted several issues. These included, but were not limited to, heavy maintenance costs, difficulty performing well in tough, rocky areas, chains wearing out and excessive bouncing.

Fifty-three percent of respondents say they rent from local independent rental companies, with the remainder renting from national rental centers, equipment manufacturers’ dealers, other contractors or national home improvement chains. Most essential in deciding where to rent, according to survey participants, were the proximity of a rental dealer and well-maintained equipment.

Top rental survey respondent tips for renting trenchers:

  1. Choose the appropriate size for the job
  2. Consider site conditions, such as the type of soil you’ll be working in
  3. Check the chain and other components prior to leaving rental yard
  4. Find a reliable rental company with experienced employees

Note: Research conducted in May 2007; response by 232 Equipment World readers.