Why It Makes Sense to Rent Attachments

Skid steer loaders, compact loaders, wheel loaders and excavators are extremely versatile pieces of equipment that are capable of completing a wide range of tasks. To add even more value, equipment manufacturers have designed a suite of attachments that can be universally fitted to heavy equipment, allowing them to accomplish further tasks.

Harnessing the versatility of attachments can help you take on a variety of projects, from general contracting to specialty or seasonal services. The flexibility you gain through attachment rentals means you can affordably expand your offerings to your clients while incurring little additional overhead and maximizing profits. 

There are plenty of good reasons why it makes sense to rent attachments, especially when you have a reliable and trusted rental provider on your side.

What Are Attachments?

Large equipment has fundamentally changed how we perform a variety of tasks in many different industries. One way manufacturers have achieved innovation in the heavy equipment industry is with the development of attachments. By using a universal connection system, universal quick couplers and hydraulic connections, designers provide operators the ability to swap out the main tools on their machines for ones that are more applicable to the task. 

Equipment attachments provide a truly versatile set of tools and dramatically expand the capability of skid steer, compact and wheel loaders and other popular machines. Many contractors and operators aren’t aware of the vast amount of attachments available. After learning about their options, contractors may be surprised by the sheer variety of tasks they can perform and the types of projects they can take on.

Attachments range from those that are simple in operation to those that are more complex, but their method of connection and control from the cabin generally remains the same. Whether the tool vibrates, drills, compacts or cuts, you can expand your service offerings with the same control arrangement and environment you’re accustomed to.

Benefits of Renting Attachments

In the construction and equipment operating industry, renting has benefited contractors and operators perhaps more than any other business model. Renting provides many advantages, including lower costs, no maintenance, excellent equipment selection, flexibility and more. 

With rapid movement from one project to the next, all your tools and attachments must be available and in excellent working order. Attachment rentals provide the best way to ensure that happens. The following are some of the benefits you can experience when renting your attachments:

1. Versatility

Equipment manufacturers greatly improved the versatility of loaders and excavators when designing attachments with a universal connection system. For years, heavy equipment was only able to use the tool that came with it from the factory. There was no way to switch out different tools without a complete redesign and rebuild of the machine. 

With the introduction of universal latch systems, quick couplers and quick-release hydraulic hoses, heavy machinery became more useful for a wider range of tasks. A single piece of equipment can now be used across multiple industries. This development has enabled heavy equipment contractors to take on jobs they previously wouldn’t have been able to complete efficiently. In some instances, contractors invest in several different types of attachments, widening their scope of work and directly garnering more business and a healthier bottom line.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

One of the core benefits of renting heavy equipment attachments is the cost-effectiveness. In the past, contractors and operators would have to either purchase a new machine or rent an entirely new piece of equipment to perform a task. Sometimes these tasks would account for only a small percentage of their overall work, and it wouldn’t make sense to invest in a new machine.

With attachment rentals, owner-operators can now diversify their offerings to clients and expand their task list for a fraction of the cost of buying a new machine and its suite of tools.

3. No Maintenance Costs

When renting an attachment, the rental store performs the maintenance and part replacement necessary to keep the attachment in good working order. They conduct regular tests on the attachment to make sure everything is working as expected.

Peripheral parts, such as hydraulic hoses and bearings, undergo routine inspections to make sure there are no leaks or any part failures that could happen soon. Reliable rental providers conduct routine maintenance because they understand their clients rely on them for high-performing equipment in the field.

Aside from regular wear and tear, rental attachments generally have little risk of malfunctioning. When attachments do require repair because of unexpected failure, the rental company will come and pick up the defective attachment and leave you with a new one that is ready to go.

4. Competitive Edge

Nothing makes a piece of heavy equipment more valuable than increasing the number of tasks it can complete by equipping it with different attachments. Many contractors focus on one area of work, such as digging foundations or building retaining walls, because they feel like their equipment is only capable of performing limited tasks. By becoming familiar with the wide range of work tools available for your machine, you can start offering a broader range of services to more clients.

In locations that experience drastic weather changes with each season, it's common for equipment operators to only work during the warm weather months. Seasonal attachments, such as snow pushes, plows and blowers, can make your equipment useful in all four seasons. In colder climates, springtime is usually when construction starts up because the ground begins to thaw. Attachments like brushcutters and blades can be extremely useful in clearing shrubs, small trees and other debris that have accumulated during the winter.

5. Flexibility

Renting adds another layer of versatility and flexibility to attachments. If you find yourself deep into a project and discover that you need a different tool for the job, attachment rental is an excellent option — especially if you only need the tool for a limited time. Because attachments are easily and quickly installed and detached, you can swap them out in a couple of minutes. This provides the flexibility of using multiple attachments on a single job site without the hassle of having multiple pieces of equipment on-site.

Flexible rental terms mean that you can rent an attachment for as long or short of a time that you need. Typically, rental service providers also offer more competitive pricing for longer-term rentals. If you discover that you’ll need an attachment for longer than first expected, simply call your rental store and extend the duration of your rental. When you’re done with the attachment, it’s as easy as calling for a pickup to return it. This convenience and flexibility provide extreme versatility to contractors and operators completing projects where there might be a few unknowns.

6. Availability

When it comes to availability, nothing beats a rental store with a large network of well-stocked locations. When working with a rental store with a large inventory, you only need to place one call to get the tool or attachment you need delivered to you quickly — sometimes within the same day. With other rental providers, you may find it hard to secure the specialty work tool you need and spend time calling around to locate the right one.

When you partner with a provider with a large network, they can call their other locations to send in the attachment right away if one location doesn’t have it. This multiplies the convenience and service of the rental store many times over and means you’ll always have the attachments you need.

7. Scheduled Delivery

When planning a project, contractors need to take care of scheduling, organizing and implementing work plans so the job stays on time and on budget. One small delay in any of these elements can result in overall project delays, which can lead to tighter profit margins due to impacted productivity.

One way to mitigate risk during project planning is to rely on scheduled delivery for the attachments you need. By scheduling attachment delivery with your provider ahead of time, you're guaranteed to have the attachment on-site when you need it. 

In addition to attachment delivery on-site, you can also schedule pickup. As projects come to an end, your clients are often excited to see the finished, polished product. Having equipment or attachments lying around can seem unprofessional. Scheduling the pickup of equipment and attachments ahead of time can check one more item off your list so things can go smoothly at the end of your projects.

8. Work Site Safety

Equipment and tool quality and maintenance are two of the most critical elements in work site safety. Equipment and tool malfunctions contribute significantly to workplace accidents, but they don’t have to. Renting equipment attachments from a reputable company can ensure your work tools remain in good condition during the entire rental term. Helpful staff can provide service and maintenance plans to ensure mechanical equipment is always kept up to compliance. 

When renting attachments, you can be sure that all appropriate maintenance and performance tests have been performed. This ensures the attachment will work as expected and that any potential failure won’t cause significant injury on-site. 

Popular Types of Equipment Attachments for Rent

Attachments for heavy equipment like skid steer, wheel and track loaders or excavators greatly improve the machines’ versatility beyond the stock bucket. It’s a good idea for contractors to become familiar with the various work tools compatible with their equipment. Having the right tools for the job can end up saving you time and money. Although there are many different types of attachments, we cover a few of the most popular ones below:

1. Augers

Auger attachments are primarily used for drilling holes in the ground to prepare for installing fencing, signposts, footings and more. They work by rotating a helical drill bit, digging it deep into the ground and forcing the dirt upward to the surface. As the bit continues to dig deeper, more dirt is pushed to the surface, expelling the dirt into a pile beside the freshly dug hole. 

The auger attachment uses hydraulic fluid that is pressurized by the machine to perform the drilling operation. Controls inside the machine allow the operator to vary the speed and torque of the drilling operation. This means that no matter the type of soil or dirt you’re drilling into, you can adjust the auger to drill at the most efficient rate for the job. 

The auger attachment is ideal for operators needing to dig deep cylindrical holes — no other attachment or piece of equipment is better suited for it.

2. Snow Removal

When it comes to clearing snow, the best tools for the job are pushesplows and blowers. These attachments can be fitted to any model of track or tire skid steer, compact loader or wheel loader machine, making them useful year-round and in any condition. These snow removal tools make quick work of clearing paths through snow so other vehicles and equipment can travel freely during and after heavy snowfalls. 

The snow pushes work by pushing snow straight ahead of the machine and creating a clear path directly behind the piece of equipment without leaving a high snow berm on either side. Snow plows operate in a similar manner, but they are designed to roll the snow off to one side of the machine or the other. The snow plow is ideal for snow clearing operations where larger areas need to be cleared. 

Snow blowers are slightly more mechanically complicated than plows or pushes, but they achieve the same result in the end. Snow blowers collect snow in the hopper and blow it out of the opening in whichever direction you desire. The snow blower allows for the snow to be thrown farther away than the snow plow or the push. Because the snow blower blows the snow out of the way instead of pushing it like the plow and the push, there’s less stress on the machine's drivetrain.

3. Brooms

When it comes to street sweeping, broom attachments make the job easier. Many broom attachments come with a hopper system that collects dust, dirt and rocks as the broom sweeps and allows you to dump it later. The hopper makes cleaning up much tidier, as dust and debris are eliminated from the road surface, rather than simply swept to another area.

Broom attachments are extremely useful in construction situations where you need to quickly clean up roads, parking lots or other areas after each task is done. During and after road construction, the roadways usually need to be opened immediately to allow the flow of traffic to return to normal. Heavy equipment with broom attachments can sweep clean very large areas or long strips of road in mere minutes, whereas with manual labor, it could take workers hours to sweep by hand.

4. Compactors

Compactor attachments are used for a wide range of applications, the most common being to vibrate soil to create a stable foundation or to vibrate concrete and asphalt road surfaces after they’ve been poured or applied. 

Compactors work by vibrating the material below them, all while applying immense pressure coming from the weight of the heavy equipment they’re attached to. As the material gets vibrated under pressure, the little pockets of air that occur naturally get squeezed out of the material, allowing it to become more compressed and stable. This is important for road surfaces to maintain their structural integrity and longevity, as well as for other materials, like building foundations, to remain solid over many years. 

Compactor attachments can be fitted to excavators, skid steer loaders, compact loaders and wheel loaders, making them a very useful attachment for road construction or foundation building.

5. Tillers and Trenchers

The landscaping industry has seen many revolutions in work tools over the years. Tillers and trenchers are two of the most popular tools because of their ability to perform earth removal and agitation efficiently, which was previously only accomplished through manual labor.

Tillers work by disturbing the soil, turning it over and mixing it around so the nutrients contained within are more available for the next round of crop planting. Trenchers are used to cut a trench in preparation for pipe and tube laying. The tiller and trencher attachments are compatible with skid steer loaders, wheel loaders and a variety of heavy machinery most commonly found in the landscaping and agriculture sectors.

How to Change Your Attachment Rental

The true value in renting attachments is your ability to quickly swap out any work tool for another one as needed. It makes heavy equipment like a skid steer or wheel loader extremely versatile and useful in a wide range of industries and tasks. When connecting an attachment to a piece of equipment, there are three broad steps to follow — physical connection, coupler engagement and hydraulic connection:

1. Physical Connection

The first step in connecting an attachment to a piece of heavy equipment is to situate the attachment and physically connect it. On most loaders, you do this by tilting the front plate forward and hooking it under the attachment. Once connected, raise the attachment up off the ground and tilt it back until it securely rests against the back of the front plate.

2. Coupler Engagement

Once the attachment is physically attached and resting safely on the front plate, you need to engage the coupler pins to fully secure the tool to the machine. If the machine has automatically engaging couplers, you can remain in the cab and press the appropriate button to lock the couplers in place. If the machine has manual coupler engagement, you must exit the cab and manually lock the coupler pins in place.

3. Hydraulic Connection

Once the couplers are locked in place, the attachment will remain physically secured to the machine and won’t come off unless you disengage the couplers. The last step of connecting the attachment to the machine is connecting the hydraulic hoses.

Most hydraulic hoses on heavy machinery attachments are the quick release type and work by lining the hose up to the port on the machine and pressing it in with a reasonable amount of force. If the hose doesn’t automatically click and lock into place, you may need to relieve the hydraulic pressure in your machine. Once you’ve relieved the hydraulic pressure, the attachment's hydraulic hose should click and lock into place. 

Once the hydraulic hoses are connected, you’re ready to use the attachment. To disconnect the attachment, begin by relieving the hydraulic pressure in the machine and then follow the connection steps in reverse order.

Choose The Cat® Rental Store for Attachment Rentals

When browsing attachment rentals for your loader, excavator or other heavy machinery, The Cat® Rental Store offers a wide selection. Thanks to our extensive dealer network, we have dozens of work tool attachment rentals available at any time to meet your needs.

Upgrade the productivity of your heavy construction equipment fleet today. Contact your local dealer and find out about the range of equipment attachments for rent to maximize your next project. Visit one of our convenient dealer locations near you or give us a call today at 1-800-RENT-CAT.

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