Weekend Warriors: Knock Out Your To-Do List with a Compact Tool Carrier Rental

Toro Dingo TX1300 tool carrier

It’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and your to-do list is growing. Whether that list includes building a retaining wall, installing a fence, moving dirt or any other project you’ve been scheming about for your property, renting a compact tool carrier — and the right attachments — can make those dreams a reality. Compact tool carriers (also called mini skid steers, compact utility loaders and so on, depending on the manufacturer) provide homeowners with a powerful, hardworking machine that’s capable of navigating tight spaces.

“In addition to its versatility, a compact utility loader [CUL] can make a variety of jobs significantly easier for a homeowner,” says Sam Dando, marketing manager at Toro. “It fits in the backyard, doesn’t damage turf and is easier to operate than larger categories of equipment. CULs can help homeowners complete larger landscaping projects, create patios or walkways, trench for drainage, dig holes for fence posts and even clear snow. Homeowners can also think of a CUL as another set of hands, helping with heavy, manual tasks usually done with a wheelbarrow.”

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 jobs you’re planning to do. Knowing your intended projects beforehand will help identify the best machine size, attachments and operating capacity you need.

“For residential projects that require nimbleness and minimal disruption to the property, smaller stand-on skid steers are ideal,” says Brant Kukuk, Ditch Witch product manager. “Their compact size allows them to effortlessly navigate through narrow gates and operate in tight spaces without damaging the yard. On the other hand, larger stand-on skid steers provide the necessary horsepower and weight capacity for lifting and moving heavier loads, such as sizable landscaping elements, tree material and debris.”

Knowing what types of materials you plan to move is also important. This will allow your rental partner to pair you with a machine that offers adequate lifting and operating capacities. Renters should become familiar with those capacities to ensure safe and productive use.

Ditch Witch SK3000 tool carrier
Renters should become familiar with the machine’s lifting and operating capacities to ensure safe and productive use.

“Homeowners must ensure that they do not attempt to lift items, such as heavy trees, that exceed the machine’s capabilities,” says Kukuk. “Overloading the stand-on skid steer can lead to equipment damage, project delays and safety hazards.”

Tracks or wheels are another important decision when renting a compact tool carrier. Lionel Smitka, marketing manager at Kanga Loaders, points out that a wheeled machine is ideal for working on concrete, asphalt and turf. A tracked machine will be best for loose surfaces and wet conditions.

Choosing a machine with simple, intuitive controls is also a necessity. 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 and adapt to. This will help ease the learning curve and get you working.

As for price, Angie Ansorge, Gravely channel marketing manager, offers these numbers to give an idea on what a renter can expect to spend:

  • Daily rentals generally range from $100 to $300 per day.
  • Weekly rentals generally range from $600 to $1,200 per week.
  • Monthly rental rates can vary widely, but this could be between $1,500 and $3,000 or more depending on the market and attachments needed.
  • Delivery charges may range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on the distance and a customer’s specific requirements.

Speaking of delivery requirements, Bobcat marketing manager Mike Fitzgerald explains that delivery costs may vary because of several reasons. For example…

“The cost of delivery will depend on your location,” he says. “How far away are you from the dealer? Are you in the metro area? What’s your flexibility in getting the machine delivered? Are you set on a specific day and time? All those factors will affect delivery fees.”

Attachment Options

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. However, selecting attachments takes just as much care as the host machine.

Bobcat’s MT100 tool carrier
Bobcat’s MT100 offers renters an easy-to-use machine with plenty of power.

“When choosing the right attachments for your rental, there are two main things to consider,” says Dando. “First, look at each step of your project and choose which attachments fit each task. Then make sure that the attachment is matched to the CUL’s rated operating capacity. Before you leave the rental store, consult your salesperson on how to secure the attachments properly — this can also be referenced in the operating manual.”

When looking at attachments, buckets are the most popular choice for renters. Pairing a compact tool carrier and a bucket helps homeowners lift and move large piles of material or debris easily. However, it’s important to remember that 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.”

Forks are another top attachment choice. These attachments allow homeowners to efficiently move pallets and large materials. Other popular attachments include augers (for digging holes for fences, decks and trees), trenchers (to run irrigation lines and utilities) and grapples (for grasping and moving large, difficult materials). Dando points out that Toro offers more than 35 different Dingo attachments, including multiple bucket options, adjustable forks, tillers, hydraulic breakers, grapples, levelers, trenchers and augers — just to name a few.

Need some landscaping done? Gravely’s Ansorge adds that stump grinders, landscape rakes and soil cultivators are popular choices for helping with any large landscaping task as they’re much faster to use than completing the work by hand.

The Rule of Three: Ditch Witch’s Brant Kukuk Talks Renting Multiple Attachments

When working with attachments, the standard rule of thumb is that an operator should have three industry-specific attachments in their arsenal. For example, if a homeowner is undertaking a tree care project, a grapple, bucket and stump grinder might be beneficial. Simply switching out attachments helps minimize the transportation and maintenance costs associated with additional machines. Rather than hauling multiple larger machines to a jobsite, homeowners can simply bring one mini skid steer outfitted with a range of attachments that can be used to suit the needs of most projects.

Some Models to Consider

Dando 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 new Dingo TX 1000 Turbo will fit the bill,” he adds. “The newly redesigned CUL comes with a turbo-powered diesel engine and Toro’s new patent-pending Smart Power feature to maximize engine, auxiliary and traction torque. That new engine delivers proven productivity quicker — especially when using the trencher and auger attachments. The Dingo TX 1000 Turbo has innovative lift loader arms and its 1,000-lb rated operating capacity delivers game-changing performance. It also offers an impressive 81-in. hinge pin height which allows the loader arms to clear the side of a 30-yd dumpster or 1-ton truck.”

Despite its small size, Fitzgerald says the MT100 from Bobcat does some serious work such as digging, trenching, tilling, moving material and more. Renters can choose between two attachment interface choices: the Common Industry Interface (CII) or the exclusive Bob-Tach attachment mounting system. According to Fitzgerald, the Common Industry Interface design allows operators to pair your machine with many mini track loader attachments you may choose to rent, while the Bob-Tach attachment mounting system delivers quick attachment changes and superior attachment fit to Bobcat attachments available at dealerships and rental locations.

Gravely’s Axis 200 lineup includes the 200DT, a track model, the 200DTN, a narrow-track model, and the 200DW, a wheeled model. According to Ansorge, the 25-hp 200DW is ideal in locations with concerns on turf tear or compaction. The 25-hp 200DTN features 7-in. imbedded steel rubber tracks and works well in locations with spacing restrictions. The company’s 200DT boasts a 25-hp Kubota diesel engine, as well as 9-in. imbedded steel rubber tracks and the largest lift capacity for Gravely’s diesel models.

“The Gravely Axis 200-Series is designed with a simplified controls layout and unique features like a self-leveling boom and an adjustable hydraulic flow system to allow less-experienced rental users to operate the machine easily,” says Ansorge.

Kanga Loaders DW825 tool carrier
Kanga Loaders were developed to cater to the rental market. Some features include all-steel construction, easy maintenance and soft touch controls.

Fun fact: According to Smitka, Kanga’s loaders are the number one rental machine in their home country of Australia and are supplied to all of the major rental companies. He adds that Kanga machines have been designed and manufactured with the rental market in mind for the past 43 years.

“Many of its features were developed to cater to the rental market, this includes the operator capsule, auxiliary cut out switch, track over tire system, self levelling bucket, ease of servicing, all-steel construction and soft touch controls,” says Smitka. “The 6 Series is the preferred machine for rental yards and offers fantastic ROI.”

Renters have options on both ends of the size spectrum with Ditch Witch models. For example, the company’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. On the flip side, Ditch Witch also manufactures the industry’s largest stand-on skid steer — the SK3000 — which has a 59-hp engine and can direct up to 51 hp to the attachment.

“The SK3000 brings greater convenience, maneuverability and 360-degree visibility to any jobsite,” says Kukuk. “Built with power, lift capacity and stability, the SK3000 delivers 5,500 lbs of breakout force to help operators stay efficient. The SK3000 is available with an optional ride-control system which creates a smooth, comfortable ride with great maneuverability and stability — even on hilly, uneven terrain.”

Safety First: Gravely’s Angie Ansorge Offers These Tips for Safe and Productive CTC Operation

The Gravely Axis tool carrier
The Gravely Axis has a universal attachment plate, making it extremely versatile for many backyard projects.
  • Ask the rental shop to review all the safety features of the machine and/or attachments and the operation instructions in the operator’s manual before you start your work. Ask for a copy of the operator’s manual, too.
  • Digging, even just an inch below the ground’s surface, requires an 811 call to identify the presence of buried utilities. Serious accidents can occur from striking buried utilities. Plus, you could be held liable for damage.
  • Survey the work area for obstacles before starting your work.
  • Wear safety gear like ear protection, steel-toe boots, eye protection and gloves.
  • Don’t overload the machine.
  • Remain mindful to those in and around the work area. Keep children and pets inside and in the care of a responsible adult.
  • Never work in severe weather. If you hear thunder, you’re close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning.

Pam Kleineke is managing editor of Compact Equipment.

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