Archive | May 2013

Historical Husqvarna

One of the things I enjoy about our business is getting to know the stories behind the companies and products we use.  While we use plenty of Husqvarna products here at the Rental Center, Sweden (the home of Husqvarna) is not anywhere close to Monticello, NY.

As early as 1680, Huskvarna, a small town in Sweden, was home to a manufacturer of rifles.  This company supplied not just the Swedish, but also the Norwegian army, with rifles.  As time went on, however, the company moved on to sewing machines and bicycles and diversified out of weapons.  The Husqvarna we know today makes a lot of products and they use the older form of the Swedish name that has a “q” not a “k” in it.

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Husqvarna today is the largest producer of outdoor power products in the world!  They make garden tractors, chainsaws, trimmers, and even robotic lawn mowers.  Consumers and businesses in over 100 countries use their products.  Their stated mission is simple yet ambitious: “We provide innovative quality products and solutions to make garden, park and forest care as well as construction easier for professionals and consumers around the world.”

Often our customers rent our products with a specific project in mind that will be completed for a specific purpose and across a set amount of time.  Husqvarna takes a longer view of its products and their usefulness.  Their vision is: “We envision a world where people can enjoy well maintained gardens, parks and forests and experience refined buildings and roads.”  That’s not a one time project.  That’s an ongoing task and it assumes quality products and manufacturing so that you can rely on your tools and not worry about them breaking down.

We are a full-line Husqvarna dealer and carry all of their products for rental.  As always – if we can help answer your questions about equipment rental in general or about Husqvarna specifically, drop us a line.  We are proud to be your Husqvarna dealer in Monticello, New York.

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Three Key Equipment Maintenance Times

We have several responsibilities to our customers here at The Rental Center of Monticello.  We rent equipment to customers – and that equipment is well-maintained and well-functioning.  But we also service that equipment, and as such we often have casual (and serious) advice that we pass on to our customers for self-maintenance.

Maintenance – that thing we often neglect because modern machines well enough that we forget that we have to maintain them!  So as temperatures start to rise as we slowly amble towards summer – at least here in Monticello – we wanted to share some important tips for maintaining your equipment whether it’s as basic as a mower or as complicated as a backhoe.  We wanted to arrange these by the “Times” of maintenance.

Daily

Certain things have to be done every day.  If you’re the type who forgets things, a checklist is best (In fact, even if you have an excellent memory, a checklist still provides a method and fall back to this part of your duties).  Some things to watch on a daily basis:

When doing a visual inspection

  • Look for worn parts

  • Look for signs of oil or coolant leakage

  • Check oil/coolant/hydraulics levels and fill as necessary

  • Lubricate parts that need daily grease

  • Check air filter

  • Check tire pressure

  • Check chains and belts for slack

  • Clean dirt and debris out of the machine (you don’t have to do a deep cleaning) and make sure caps are sealed

  • Make sure safety equipment and signage is properly displayed and that exterior lighting is functioning

  • If there’s trash or other debris in the cab – take it out.  While you’re in there, check on the seat belts.

Quarterly

The prevailing wisdom is that 500 service hours is when you should have some additional maintenance done outside of the suggestions we bulleted above.  The oil filter, hydraulic oil filter, and the oil itself need to be changed.  Some argue this should be done every three months regardless of usage and there definitely is some merit to that school of thought but each individual operator can make a decision on when is best – as long as they understand the principle of periodic maintenance beyond the above-mentioned daily tasks.

End of Season

It’s time to put things away at the end of the season.  Don’t forget to:

  • Change the hydraulic oil and transmission fluid

  • Check the antifreeze to make sure it’s ready for winter

  • Check belts and hoses

  • Make sure that you have arctic or blended fuel in the tank.  If you do end up needing your equipment you don’t want the fuel line clogged with summer-weight fuel that you forgot to drain

  • Wash the entire vehicle.  Make sure the undercarriage and engine get special attention.  Check the air conditioning and interior lighting – replace bulbs as necessary.

  • If the tires need changing – better to do them now than during the season so you minimize  your down time.

Heavy equipment, like all machinery, has a useful life and a strong justification for purchase will be the commitment to the maintenance.  Some of us remember begging our mom to let us take the puppy home and heard her remind us that we had to clean it and take it to the bathroom and feed it and take care of it and we nodded our heads earnestly.  Your excavator isn’t likely to lick your feet with a wagging backhoe to remind you to take care of it.  As we said above – the quality of the machinery can lull us into a false sense of security that the machinery works “because it works.”

As we’ve said other times on this blog, a big part of why people people might choose to rent first instead of buy is because it provides them with an opportunity to try before buying.  They can see if the equipment does what they need it to do and then return it without having to do any maintenance at all.  We take care of that for you before and after the rental.  You can also have conversations with us either before, during, or after your rental as you figure out what option makes the most sense for you and your project or ongoing work.

As always, we are here to answer any and all questions about equipment rental, and after today’s post, we hope you see that we can hopefully answer some of your maintenance questions as well.

As this article goes to press we are on the verge of Memorial Day weekend.  We here at the Rental Center of Monticello are grateful for the service our veterans have given to our country and we hope that you take some time to remember them throughout this weekend and on Monday especially.

Three Reasons we deal in STIHL

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Different companies carry different brands for all kinds of reasons.  In our particular industry if our products don’t work there are major consequences: deadlines aren’t met, events don’t come together, and projects don’t get finished.

A big part of renting heavy equipment is making sure that you’re renting from someone who keeps his/her inventory in good repair.  But even more important than that is renting equipment from a brand which is high quality in the first place.  There is a lot of truth to the old adage, “you get what you pay for.”  That class, that quality, is how we feel about STIHL and we would like to take a few minutes today to tell you why we are proud to sell, repair, and rent out their equipment (and have been from the first day we opened our doors for business).

1.  We service what we sell.  As is the case with all STIHL dealers, if you buy from us, you can get service from us.  And we stock many parts (or can get them for you) if you want to service or maintain your equipment yourself.  You don’t have to worry about finding and developing a repair relationship apart from the place where you bought your equipment to start.  STIHL doesn’t just offer their products to anyone.  Each firm who wants to sell STIHL has to go through a screening process.  You can have the confidence that whether you come to the Rental Center of Monticello or any other STIHL dealer, you’re going to get the convenience of service at the point of sale.

2.  We are technical experts and are there to give you face-to-face customer service.  We know that not every customer who comes to us is an expert on a particular machine or even heavy equipment in general.  We can help everyone – from the novice to the expert – pick out the right equipment for his/her needs – be it for a long-term purchase a or a short-term rental.  STIHL ensures that its dealers deliver this level of service and expertise.  We won’t talk down to you or expect you to buy from us just because we’re talking.  We love what we do and are happy to talk about our products and what they can do for you.  Our most important value is listening to what you have to say so we can help you get the tool/equipment that will accomplish your task.

3.  We stand behind our products through a tradition of providing the best.  STIHL has been around since 1974 and while we can’t claim to have been around that long (we’ve been in business roughly half that time) we bring the same philosophy to work every day: offer the best products with competent and professional customer service so that people can TRUST in our products (and service).  We know that this philosophy will keep people coming back and instead of getting a customer for a day we can develop a client for life.

We’re proud to be your STIHL dealer in Monticello, NY, and look forward to helping you with any sales, service, or rental needs you might have!

7 Ways to a Great Outdoor Event

Old Man Winter has finally been shown the door here in New York and so a lot of people are talking about planning outdoor events, and that’s where renting large tents come in.  It’s not hard to answer your questions about tents (call us anytime, and I’ll write about them more soon), but I thought today we’d talk about something that may help you just as much: the rest of the party under and around that tent!

Food

First you’ll have to decide whether to make the food yourself, get catering, or do a pot luck.  You get the most control in the first two options, and the least amount of control over the last one.  You can also use your food choices to tie into a theme.  Backyard cookout?  Hawaiian?  While food may not be *the* most important part of your outdoor party, it is the lynchpin that holds everything together so think about it carefully.

If you do choose the pot luck option and don’t want to tell people what to bring, at least tell them what kind of thing to bring (entree, appetizer, dessert, etc.).  There’s nothing worse than having too much of one thing and too little of another.  Unless you are a dessert hound, and then maybe you planned it that way!

Furniture

We rent tents, tables, and chairs here at the Rental Center.  You may have all the tables and chairs you need (make sure you have enough seating for everyone – this is one of the most overlooked parts of an outdoor event) and a tent is the perfect addition to that summer event. It gives a place for people to get in out of the sun, as well as provide wind protection for your food.  Call us to see if we can help with your needs.

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Decor

As with the food and furniture above, you may be aiming towards a theme.  You may end up decorating the tent, or bringing out props, or hanging some fun lighting for a change of mood when it gets darker.  You’ll need to coordinate your decorating with the delivery of your furniture and/or tent.

Pests

This is different for every locale and there are some basic principles, like:

Cut your grass

Make sure there isn’t standing water around

Make sure your trash is removed from where your guests are

But you may choose to use a bug zapper or citronella/tiki candles as an additional deterrent.  Again, try to place these strategically so that they aren’t in the immediate path or way of your guests.

Guests

For a while it seemed evite was all the rage.  Now it’s a small player and facebook events is a popular way to invite people.  Still others resort to email or (gasp!) old-fashioned phone calling with pen in hand.

While talking to someone on the phone is probably the best barometer of whether they will be able to come, most people use electronic means to track RSVPs.  But there’s a science here also:

Of your “Yes” people expect 80% to show.

Of your “Maybes” expect 30% to show.

That should help you plan accordingly.

Weather

A friend of ours lives in Kansas City and got some unexpected May snow last week.  While such a freak occurrence won’t necessarily hamper you – but make sure to have contingencies in place should the weather change or not be exactly what you want.  Check the forecast 2 months out, a month out, two weeks out, etc.  Weather changes frequently and you should leverage our current technology to get ahead of changes.

Time

You might have a start time – although very few people usually come when the event starts.  But giving them an end time can usually give them a good gauge about when to arrive and how long to stay.  Consider not making your event open-ended, because even when you have an end time you know there will be stragglers.

Most of all, have fun as you are doing this.  A well-put on event is talked about for months, sometimes years afterwards.  And the warm memory of a great host is treasured by many.  Thanks for taking the time to read through our tips and if we can help in any way, just give us a call at 845.794.0100.