Tackling the To-Do’s: Rent a Compact Tool Carrier to Handle Projects Around Your Home

Toro Dingo TX1000
Toro offers more than 35 different Dingo attachments, including multiple bucket options, adjustable forks and more.

‘Tis the season for home improvement projects. All that dreaming and scheming over the winter is finally coming to life. If you need some extra muscle tackling those plans around your property, consider renting a compact tool carrier (also called a mini skid steer, compact utility loader, etc., depending on the manufacturer). When paired with the right attachments, a compact tool carrier can handle big jobs around tight residential areas.

“With summer upon us, many homeowners are looking to rent a compact tool carrier, or what we at Ditch Witch call a stand-on skid steer, for their upcoming landscape, hardscape, tree care and nursery projects,” says Brant Kukuk, compact equipment product manager at Ditch Witch. “With their compact design and high level of visibility, stand-on skid steers are designed to be simple to operate and help homeowners conquer numerous projects. The versatile machine also has a wide variety of attachment options, which allow homeowners to rent just one machine and multiple attachments to complete almost any task. Some of these attachments include a bucket or pallet fork to move and place heavy materials, a power rake to clean, level and prep a site and a stump grinder to remove tree stumps.”

When renting a compact tool carrier, it’s important to start your search with a reputable dealer or rental yard and a clear idea of the job you’re planning to do. As a homeowner who probably doesn’t have too much experience with a compact tool carrier (if any at all), you’ll want a machine that’s easy to use with simple, intuitive controls. Jay Thaker, marketing manager at Toro, says those attributes help homeowners quickly become familiar and comfortable with the operation of the machine, letting them get to their project faster.

Considering the site and the task at hand is also important. Thaker offers five questions a renter should be able to answer before deciding on a machine:

  • Is the space tight or are there hard-to-reach places that create a need for maximum maneuverability through features like true spin-turn or four-wheel drive?
  • Are tracks needed for greater traction or wider track options for a balance of traction and minimal ground disturbance?
  • What operating capacity and lift height is required?
  • Would a ride-on or walk-behind configuration be a better solution?
  • Is there a need for zero engine exhaust emissions? Are there any auxiliary attachment requirements or uses?

“Be as specific as possible about the projects and applications you hope to complete using the machine,” adds Thaker. “Let the staff know what the intended task is and any other potential projects you might have in mind. Communicate any site specifications, such as narrow fence openings, and limitations. Ask questions and be open to suggestions. Rely on the expertise of the rental store about their equipment and best practices. The staff will know the possibilities and limitations of the equipment.”

Price is obviously important when selecting a compact tool carrier rental. Rental houses can help find a quality machine that fits within your budget.

“Each rental yard will have their own pricing structure for rental,” says Kukuk. “Many variables, such as location, availability and length of rental, go into how a rental yard might calculate its fees. The best way for a homeowner to get an accurate estimate is to visit their local rental shop and talk to the experts about the project.”

Don’t Forget the Attachments

Like with any piece of small equipment, attachments are the bread and butter of a compact tool carrier so don’t forget to include them with your rental. Most homeowners can benefit from a bucket to load and lift large piles of material around their property. Remember, there are a variety of bucket types to choose from so be sure to check them all out.

“Dirt buckets are primarily used for transporting topsoil and backfilling,” explains Kukuk. “Grapple buckets come with hydraulic clamps to hold unstable material, making them ideal for tree care or landscaping. There are also high-capacity buckets, buckets with teeth for digging and 4-in-1 buckets that allow for multiple jobs to be completed, making them ideal for any jobsite.”

Other popular attachments include augers, forks, trenchers and grapples. Thaker points out that Toro offers more than 35 different Dingo attachments, including multiple bucket options, adjustable forks, tillers, hydraulic breakers, grapples, levelers, trencher sand augers — just to name a few.

As for using the attachments, Kukuk mentions that homeowners will want to select a machine with either spring-engaged pins or hydraulic-attachment pins to simplify connecting attachments. This will allow operators to move from one task to the next by minimizing the downtime needed to swap attachments.

“With spring-engaged pins, operators can drive their machines over to an attachment and easily connect it without hydraulic help and without getting off the machine,” he says. “Hydraulic-attachment pins allow operators to latch and unlatch attachments, also eliminating the need to get off the machine. Whether a homeowner is using one or four attachments, they will want to be able to connect them quickly and easily.”

Ditch Witch SK800
Location, availability and the length of rental all factor into how a dealer calculates its rental fees.

Two Models to Consider

Thaker from Toro recommends the Dingo TX 427 for homeowners who are new to compact tool carrier rentals and are looking to try one out for smaller projects. This particular machine features a low ground pressure, which is easy on turf, and is designed with all experience levels in mind. The Dingo TX 427 also boasts three easy-to-use controls — making it simple for any worker to step up and be productive immediately.

“For more experienced homeowners or those with a larger job at hand, the Dingo TX 1000 will fit the bill,” he adds. “Designed with innovative lift loader arms, its 1,000-lb rated operating capacity delivers game changing performance. The Dingo TX 1000 also offers an impressive 81-in. hinge pin height which allows the loader arms to clear the side of a 30-yard dumpster or 1-ton truck. This compact, maneuverable machine packs unmatched strength and reach for the ultimate working advantage.”

Ditch Witch’s SK600 is a popular rental model thanks to its narrow frame and ability to take on dozens of compatible attachments. The SK600 is small enough to fit through a standard 36-in. gate but also offers 600 lbs of operating capacity. No matter the rental model, Kukuk points out the importance of getting to know the machine prior to operation — both for safety and productivity.

“It’s imperative for homeowners to take the extra time to review the safety instructions and learn the machine’s features that will be the most helpful to complete their project,” he says. “While most rental machines for homeowners are easy to learn and operate, studying the operator’s manual can ensure safety procedures are followed, which will help reduce the risk of injury on the job. Some manufacturers, like Ditch Witch, offer online training courses for free. By visiting ditchwitch.com and signing up for a MyDitchWitch account, anyone can access the training to get more comfortable with the equipment.”

Pam Kleineke is managing editor of Compact Equipment.

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