Bobcat/Skidsteer rental biz?

Discussion in 'Rental Equipment' started by YellowDogSVC, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Posts: 3,758

    I apologize if this is in the wrong category but I didn't think it went well in the landscaping or lawnmowing business management threads.

    Does anyone who has experience or rents machinery think that owning a small Bobcat/Skidsteer rental business as a secondary source of income would be a good line of work? I get quite a few calls about renting my machines or attachments and sometimes a small excavator.

    What I thought of so far:


    -Extra source of revenue instead of directing people to other rental stores or competitors with smaller equipment
    -More contacts might lead to more jobs especially on the ones where the renter can't complete or needs bigger machine like my big chipper
    -Can deliver and do many small field repairs myself
    -Have all the room I need already to store machines and a place to do repairs
    -I am good at advertising and have contacts


    -More work for me (i'm a solo operator). Timewise, when I'm busy, I just don't have much time except weekends.
    -My days off are usually weather related anyway
    -More debt plus repairs
    -Headaches of credit cards again
    -If a machine is down and I'm on another job, I'd have to take off or send out the expensive repair guy
    -More insurance costs

    What am I missing here? I'm not worried about legal stuff or contracts. I can take care of that with contacts I already have.
    What machines would I want to look at from bobcat? Everyone seems to rent s175 size machine here. I think they are weak but I'm used to 80-90 hp

    Also, for those of you not in my area that don't mind giving up an idea for a secondary line of work, I'm very interested in hearing from you.

    Thank you!

    Yellow Dog
  2. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,101

    Avoid it, more hassle than money is to be made.
  3. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    I do not know the ins-and-outs of the rental business or the formula's they have worked out for a successful business model. What I do know is that some smaller operators around here have tried renting out their machines to create a second source of income and they come back trashed in a big way. The expense outweighed the potential for income.
    I too have been looking at alternatives and have done quite a bit of research on active and passive incomes and businesses that thrive during depressions or recessions........and there are some industries that shine ie: auto repair shops, tire stores, movie theatres, alcohol/cigarettes just to name a few. That would be considered active income........passive income area would be the stock market in selective sectors: during the "depression" or past recessions there were sectors that actually had extended rally's ( of 9 months or more ) while the majority of the market fell through the floor. What you are asking is the $64.OO question and everyone ( from ultra rich to every day on the street guy) is asking.......
    I have been looking at trying to find repo and off-lease equipment to purchase.....trying to develop those contacts and uncover that niche is a challenge, but I am still pushing. We are also looking at purchasing apartment units, purchasing a liquor store, purchasing a piece of land in California in San Diego are in which we are going to plant high end palm trees which will be salable in 10-15 years and other ideas.......I think this is a time to really stretch the limits of thinking outside the box and a great time to take a risk. To me, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity........but finding the opportunity is the tough part..........
  4. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Posts: 3,758

    good points rockset..

    Thanks for the info ron.

    There has to be something... I do have some investments that will pay off eventually and will set my family up for a long time but I'm not counting on anything other than what is cash flow during my working years.
  5. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,214

  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    You have to remember that rental houses get a much better deal on machines than you and I which probably accounts for much of their profit margins. You might look at the Rent a Wreck concept and buy a couple used machines, problem is you cant afford downtime, and Bobcat's skid steers really are not conducive to being able to fix on your own. There might be some niche areas to look at such as renting out larger machines and specialty attachments.
  7. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,101

    The most improtant thing to remember is, when was the last time you rented a skid steer, you probably said, "oh it's not my POS, let's just beat the piss out of this thing and get the job done faster". I sure wouldn't want that to be my machine, regardless of the name brand.
  8. Dirtman2007

    Dirtman2007 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,366

    I don't think it's the contractors who are rough on rental, although some are, but I really think it's more the weekend warriors. They go out and rent the smallest/ cheapest machine and try to do things with a skid steer you need a PC 300 to do. They have no background knowledge of machine and truly beat the living hell out of them. I've seen pictures on the Internet of a takeuchi 140 that someone had rented, somehow managed to knock a track off. well they did not notice the track had become jammed and ripped the track in half. when it was said and done both tracks were jumbled and the machine had to be removed on a roll off tow truck.

    And remember how would you like to get a call saying your skid steer is stuck at my place, come and get it.



    Pictures from Tow411
  9. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    What can you say but dam, glad that is not my machine or my problem.
  10. mrsops

    mrsops LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,875

    This actually became a big part of my business when i send my machines out on rentals but there's a catch my operator :) i would never send my machine out on a rental and let someone else use it never i have had calls for it but sorry.

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