Do you run your own equipment rental company and have to decide on which compressor to take in your fleet? Or perhaps you’re often relying on rental equipment to run your own business and you want to know what to look out for. In both cases, you should be aware that not all mobile compressors are equally well suited for renting out.
Your profitability can also benefit from choosing the right compressor: go for the model that allows you to get most utilization at the best rental rate. These are 7 questions you need to ask before choosing the next compressor for your rental fleet.
A compressor that can run at various pressure settings can be used for various applications. As a result, the utilization rate of your machine goes up, which means a smaller investment, smaller fleet and a faster return on investment.
So rather than filling your yard with a 10 bar, 12 bar and 14 bar compressor, you could purchase one model that can handle all these pressures and help that sandblasting company as well as that customer running handheld tools at 8 bar.
A lot of compressors in the market are dual pressure, which means you can toggle between two presets. But the more advanced compressors have an electronic pressure regulation, where the operator can easily set the required pressure in the compressor’s onboard controller. And that brings us to the next point…
Your rental compressor will be operated by various people, so it better be simple to set-up and safe to run. Try out the controllers of the compressors you’re considering, check for ease of operation and durability.
On the other hand, the controller should protect your compressor against misuse. Advanced settings and histograms shouldn’t be accessible without a service key, to prevent your rental customers tampering with the machine’s core settings.
A digital compressor goes beyond the controller. It’s also about being able to send machine information into the cloud. Once online, you can follow up on the compressor's performance, fuel consumption and running hours, which can help you with billing. Digitalization is also about basic things such as a QR code on the machine that allows you to access service information on any device.
Is your compressor fleet getting substantial? Then you may be interested in telematics. Features such as geo-fencing help you to track your compressor, performance indicators and reporting functionalities notify you of upcoming maintenance and alarms. The most advanced settings even allow you to switch off and lock out your machine remotely.
In the world of construction, a machine below 750 kg has an important advantage. Below that weight, a compressor can be towed behind a normal passenger car, without a special driving license. Smaller rental customers will always seek the best performer under that weight. The most efficient electric mobile compressors deliver up to 7m³/min (237 cfm).
But even if you need more flow than that, some compressors have a more compact footprint and are easier to transport than others. Check for various undercarriages, tow bars, and a road homologation that is relevant to your country. If the machine needs to be lifted to transport, a single lifting point is the better option. For the very large compressors or boosters, you can save a lot of money if the machine fits on a standard truck.
Do you already have electric compressors in your fleet? More and more rental customers have an electricity source on their job site or use their equipment in low emission zones. Electric mobile compressors combine the benefit of being emission-free with lower noise levels than diesel engines, both important parameters in urbanized areas. As a bonus, electric motors offer excellent energy-efficiency, meaning a smaller-size compressor can offer higher performances than a diesel unit.
Of course a lot of customers still require the autonomy of a diesel compressor. An increasing number of companies prefer renting over buying because of the ever-evolving emission regulations. Especially companies juggling a project-based business model and operating in various locations, may want to avoid investing in construction material. Europe is currently phasing in the highest emission norm in the world, Stage V. When purchasing a new compressor for your rental fleet, make sure it’s always complying with the highest emission norm in your market, to ensure you can serve all your customers, now and in the years to come.
Your compressor will endure a lot of hardships, so it better be built strong. In case maintenance or repair is required, you want a close-knit network of service technicians and spare parts that are easy to obtain.
(Up)time is money, so also preventive maintenance should be fast and easy to complete. Spin-on filters, easily accessible service points and standardized components all make your life a lot easier. If that QR code on the machine, mentioned in point 3, gives you a click-and-buy access to spare parts, so much the better.
Last but not least, you may want to consider what your compressor is still worth at the end of its lifetime. Next to choosing a reliable brand and taking good care of your machine, you can also check for features that will help your compressor weather through tough conditions.
One is the compressor’s canopy: is the canopy treated with corrosion-resistant paint? Or better yet, made from polyethylene, the best you can get in terms of toughness and durability? Then your compressor will look brand-new even after years of sleeping rough. Some compressor manufacturers even buy back used equipment. Sometimes it’s even possible to add predefined buy back terms to your contract when purchasing a new compressor.
Whether you’re renting out to small contractors or supporting large-scale oil & gas projects, carefully composing your compressor fleet will affect your investment costs, utilization rate and ultimately, return on investment. But if you think even beyond these financial considerations, the quality and reliability of the equipment you offer will reflect on your name and reputation. The best way to give excellent service to your rental customers, is choosing a compressor supplier that does the same.