Professional snow and ice managers may not realize their rental equipment dealers offer more than just access to the heavy equipment needed to fully service winter contracts. In fact, their unique expertise on equipment capabilities could be the most often overlooked resource available to snow contractor.
Many rental equipment dealers lament that contractors often come into their shops intent on renting a particular piece of snow fighting equipment, but after some conversation the dealer realizes another machine could do a much better job, says Amanda Ayala, vice president of commercial brands at Trader Interactive, which owns and operates Equipment Trader Online, a marketplace to buy and sell equipment.
This is where better communication becomes an important factor in the contractor-dealer relationship.
“Involve the dealer in the conversation,” Ayala advises snow contractors. “Don’t just come in assuming you know exactly what you need. Instead, say this is the job I’m trying to do … what’s the best machine you would recommend for me?
“When you open that dialogue up … you might end up with something more efficient or cheaper – or both – for the job your trying to get done,” she adds.
In fact, take an extra step to educate your dealer on the properties your servicing, especially those that offer the most challenge. Invite them to review the property firsthand or share detailed digital images of the site conditions or particular trouble spots.
“That helps them understand the type of machine you’re going to need to make the job happen,” Ayala says.
Contractors are encouraged to start conversations about their rental needs in the early autumn, and not to wait until the eve of the winter season.
“That’s going to help [the rental equipment dealer] to understand the types and how much machinery they’re going to need on their lots,” Ayala says.
Conversely, snow contractors should familiarize themselves with the dealer services that could come into play during the winter season.
“It’s important for the dealer to have very transparent information available to the contractor … so the contractor can understand all the services they offer,” Ayala says. “Each dealer is different, offering any variety of services, warranties, shipping and delivering of equipment [to contractor clients].”Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine.