By Del Williams
The profitability of heavy equipment rental for dealers depends on efficiently renting out assets and keeping it in good working order for the long term.
To maximize profitability, dealers need to know as soon as possible when the equipment returns to the yard, so it can be checked in, maintained and rented by a new customer.
Dealers with multiple locations often must know which equipment from other locations is readily available to be rented out, if it is not on-hand at the current location and a customer needs it.
In order to protect and preserve their assets for as long as possible, dealers also must deter theft and reckless use by customers. On top of this, if the dealer name/logo is emblazoned on vehicles for the public to see, it is vital to prevent any dangerous actions, such as speeding, that could hurt their brand or even invite liability in the case of serious accidents.
As a proactive response, a growing number of dealers are turning to real-time, 24/7 GPS tracking for heavy equipment rentals to ensure better fleet management and faster rental turnaround. The same approach provides clear driver and operator accountability, which helps to reduce asset damage and prolong its usable life.
“Continuous GPS tracking enables dealers to instantly see where all of their heavy equipment assets are at any given moment, so they can know as soon as possible which will be ready to check in, service and rent back out with minimal downtime,” said Ben VanAvery, director of sales and marketing at Advanced Tracking Technologies, a Houston, Texas-based designer and manufacturer of GPS tracking products.
ATTI’s Shadow Tracker provides real-time location updates every 10 seconds.
Alongside location, the Shadow Tracker provides speed and idle time alerts if something is amiss. The data is transmitted via satellite and cellular networks to a smartphone or computer on a 24/7 basis.
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According to VanAvery, dealers can display the real-time location of the entire fleet on a map, and zoom in on any specific vehicle. At a glance, they can see if a vehicle is moving (displays green) or stopped (displays red). If they touch a vehicle icon, the app will display where the vehicle has been, where it stopped and how long it has idled.
“By zooming in or out on the map, dealers can look where the heavy equipment assets are anywhere in the country, so it is easy to see if another location has equipment available to be rented out, if not available in the nearest yard,” VanAvery said.
Such GPS tracking, of course, helps not only to prevent the theft of heavy vehicles and equipment, but also aids in its recovery, if necessary. Law enforcement, for instance, could be provided with a relatively precise location of anything stolen at virtually any moment in time.
As rental clients can be notified that the system monitors speed, this capability can also serve as a deterrent to speeding, if consequences are imposed on them, such as an increased rate, loss of a portion of the security deposit or refused rental in the future.
This can help to minimize the risk of accidents, damage and excess wear and tear. This facilitates extending the equipment’s usable life, while minimizing premature repair and maintenance.
As a value-added service for longer term renters, dealers can even provide the capability of monitoring rented assets to a customer or project managers. This can be provided by essentially downloading an app and supplying the customer with a user password.
While heavy equipment rental dealers already keep tabs on their assets via phone, text and email with customers on an individual basis, advanced GPS trackers dramatically streamline the process of renting equipment. It does so by making the entire fleet’s location and availability instantly visible, without having to interact with the customer.
This, in conjunction with the ability to encourage greater renter accountability, can significantly enhance profitability, while prolonging the usable life of the fleet