November 14, 2018

Renting Equipment With Telematics vs. Without


When it comes to renting construction equipment, you generally look for the lowest price on a piece of equipment that will get the job done. If you’re using a machine temporarily, it’s easy to skip the bells and whistles.

But some of those bells and whistles are more than useful — they can provide you with valuable data to help you finish the job more efficiently. If you’ve never rented a machine equipped with telematics, there’s no time like the present. Test out telematics in your rental to see if a similar tool could work for your whole fleet. Sometimes it pays to get the extras.

Telematics or old-school?

You’ve got a six-week job coming up and you’ll need a standard excavator for the duration. You don’t want to buy another excavator; you already own two that are out on other jobs. So you decide to rent. You’ve got two choices when it comes to rental: a basic excavator with no telematics — it’ll get the job done. Or you can get the bells-and-whistles option and rent a machine that uses telematics, like EquipmentShare Track. So why should you choose telematics?

No data, no problems?

Not so much, actually. When you go with a basic machine, you’re disconnected from the rest of the jobsite. Engine data isn’t being tracked, the excavator’s most technical feature is likely an ancient GPS tracker and a breakdown could happen without warning. There’s no telling if the rental agency keeps detailed records on its machines — so how could anyone have a clear picture of machine health?

Not to mention the mechanical issues that can arise. There’s nothing more annoying than a job grinding to a halt (literally) when a machine breaks down. And though rental machines are usually well-maintained, without technology there’s no way to be warned of impending mechanical failure. GPS isn’t an unusual feature even in older machines, but it can be slow to update or may need manual updating — pretty annoying when you’re used to the real-time connectivity of your cell phone.

Track data, save money

Wouldn’t it be easier not to deal with these issues in a rental machine? When you opt for the telematics-equipped excavator versus the traditional model, you’re making the whole job a lot easier. And when you collect and analyze machine data, you can learn something new about how your jobsites work—and use that knowledge to operate more efficiently and save money.

In a telematics-equipped excavator, cloud-connected hardware reads engine data and the software at the other end interprets the data and presents it to the user. (That’s how Track works, in a nutshell.) Here’s what Track can tell you:

  • Machine’s real-time location and movement
  • Fuel levels
  • Alert you to potential issues before they become big ones
  • Equipment idling time
  • Unique access codes prevent equipment theft and misuse

Can you imagine what you’d do with all that data? Even in a rental machine, it’s useful to have access to a virtual data gold mine. Get a maintenance alert? Time to call the rental company’s service department. Run the equipment usage report and notice you put the excavator through its paces? You might take a second look at how often you’re using excavators and consider adding to your fleet.

When your machine’s data isn’t being tracked, you can be blindsided by problems that could have been detected and quickly fixed, or even prevented. A telematics tool gives you access to the information you need to keep your jobsite running at peak efficiency. If you’re not yet using telematics in all of your machines, testing it out in a rental can help you see what a difference data can make.


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