What is trending in compact wheel loaders?
Compact wheel loader manufacturers are not sitting still and are driven to improvement by customer needs and regulations. They improve current models based on user feedback or release new models based on both feedback and regulations. One of the newest developments that absolutely stands out is the introduction of 100% electrically driven wheel-loaders. These machines have been introduced by established European manufacturers and are not available yet in the United States, but expect these machines to show up on US tradeshows soon. Examples of these wheel-loaders are the Wacker Neuson WL20E weighing 5000 lbs. and the Belgian made Knikmops 130E, weighing 4000 lbs. You can typically use them intensively for around two hours on a fully charged battery, depending on the application.
Another interesting technology that is being implemented is telematics. This allows equipment (fleet) owners to receive and monitor machine data such as consumption and productivity, but also the whereabouts of the machine. Most small wheel loader manufacturers offer GPS tracking options.
How can dealerships and renters take advantage of new technology available on compact wheel loaders?
Wheel loader brands offer many different machine options. Rental houses and end-users should look especially for options that improve user friendliness and machine versatility. If you want to rent out a compact wheel-loader, assume that it may be used for anything. Ask your dealer to equip it as such, especially looking at the auxiliary hydraulics configuration and operation. Many brands now offer a specialized joystick that controls all (hydraulic) functions of the boom, from angling a joystick activated sweeper attachment or rotating a log grapple.
Rental houses owning multiple wheel loaders should take advantage of the telematics options available, such as GPS tracking. This enables the rental house to live track the movements of each machine in the field.
My name is Chris Sleurink and I have been active in the compact wheel loader market since 2014.
I wrote this article for Pro Contractor Rentals and the full article, which features other industry experts as well, is featured here.
What is the ROI on wheel loaders in a rental fleet?
With purchasing prices ranging from $30.000 up to $100.000 in the 25hp-75hp compact wheel loader range, it is difficult to provide an exact ROI. The smallest compact wheel loaders typically rent for $2000 per month or less, while larger, mid-sized ones are rented out for between $2500-$3000 per month. Final ROI depends on factors like:
- Long term vs. short term rental periods, with long terms, such as extended snow removal periods, being more profitable. The more long-term rentals, the shorter your pay back period.
- Residual value: compact wheel loaders typically have high residual value if maintained properly. Devaluation is also affected by prior rental applications. Corrosive jobsite conditions such as those seen at fertilizer plants will decrease the condition of your rental equipment significantly faster!
- Maintenance costs; an advantage compared to skidsteers are the lower maintenance and running costs through lower fuel consumption and tire wear.
What are emerging opportunities/markets for compact wheel loaders rentals?
Compact wheel loaders equipped with cabs, road lighting and enough hydraulic output to operate a snowblower are in demand with (landscape) contractors. They often have winter snow removal contracts with customers and municipalities. Quite often they will rent the equipment needed to fulfill these contracts, and a wheel loader is a great piece of kit to do snow removal with. They are maneuverable around obstacles, fast, and more comfortable to drive than skidsteers.
The fastest growing market for compact wheel loaders is the green industry. Rental houses are wise to recognize this and should anticipate contractors who need an articulating loader that is turf friendly and versatile.
With the advent of electrically powered loaders, expect inquiries from the indoor demolition niche. Indoor demolition contractors ask for zero-emission loader equipment to supplement the electric concrete breakers, mini excavators and dump carts already available on the market.