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Finding the Right Balance – RENTCO

Rentco provides a national solution for truck and trailer requirements

The truck rental market in the light truck sector is highly competitive, with most of the major car rental operations also offering a light truck solution for those looking to transport small volume loads without the requirement for specific truck-oriented driving licences.

As you move up the weight range of commercial vehicles you come into an area of operation that requires not only specialist knowledge, but the availability of specialist vehicles and trailer equipment. It’s this segment that forms the operational niche for Rentco Transport Equipment Rentals.

Paul Scott, national sales manager of Rentco, told PowerTorque that although the company has considered operating in the light truck end of the market in addition to its specialisation in heavy truck and semitrailer application, it preferred to work with the higher qualified professional drivers and operators.

“The major advantage of truck and trailer rental availability is for companies that have a sudden breakdown or unexpected increase in workload. A typical high demand period is through the run up to Christmas, where additional workloads require fleet expansion that is only justified over the short term,” said Paul.

“From a national perspective, Rentco operates through seven major sales and service outlets strategically located in Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Melbourne, Adelaide and Darwin, with our head office in Perth. As one of Australia’s largest truck and trailer rental businesses, we have nearly 1900 units of equipment available.

“Our vehicle fleet comprises over 200 prime movers, with the remaining units based on trailer applications that include curtainsiders, flat tops, tipping skels, low loaders and semi-tippers. We can provide prime movers in fuel spec’ for hazardous goods and for applications such as mining or off-road, we can also provide water carting equipment.Rentco-PT68_4

“We have looked at the fuel tanker market but have so far not offered tanker trailers because of the degree of specialisation required when carrying different fuels in a variety of compartments. For the container market we have a selection of straddle carrier skel trailers by manufacturers such as HAMMAR and Steelbro,” Paul added.

The prime mover fleet is almost universally based on Volvo, with a selection of power alternatives ranging from 400 to 600 hp. For heavy haul and off-road applications, especially for the mining and earthmoving industries, Rentco can also supply alternatives such as Kenworth or Western Star prime movers up to a road train rating at 130 tonnes.

“By specifically operating a fleet that is almost completely Volvo, all our service outlets have become very proficient in servicing and working with the Volvo brand. We carry a large inventory of Volvo parts and complete the majority of our servicing and maintenance requirements ourselves. This gives us total flexibility to service vehicles at short notice in order to minimise fleet downtime,” said Paul.

“Volvo has established an amazing record for reliability and has the added benefit of featuring minimal grease points, as well as disc brakes and all the safety initiatives for which the brand is renowned. Our service schedules are actually completed at shorter intervals than the manufacturer recommends, with oil drains and safety inspections every three months or 20,000 km. With Euro 5 vehicles using AdBlue the service intervals are scheduled at 30,000 km.

“Vehicle selection is very much market driven. The Volvo has a high acceptance rating, and with I-Shift transmission it is easy for any professional driver to quickly become accustomed to operating the vehicle.

“The control of our own service schedules means we have the opportunity to be reactive and not proactive. We can change our own scheduled servicing dependent on demand and timing. We also have the advantage and flexibility of being abRentco-PT68_7le to organise additional servicing or maintenance through the Volvo Trucks national network.

“We need reliability and serviceability and we need a supplier that is available 24/7 and is located everywhere. Volvo is certainly a good fit for that rationalisation. The Volvo product is a fantastic performer with a very low failure rate, and, when you combine our ability with that of the Volvo national network to keep a vehicle on the road, the reliability record is amazing.

“When operating out of normal hours, we provide a full 24/7 national breakdown support service through our 1300 telephone system. This connects the caller to the Rentco staff at the nearest depot to the vehicle experiencing a problem.

“The driver or vehicle owner is then speaking direct to a Rentco staff member that can take control of the problem and find a suitable solution. It may be a simple replacement of a flat tyre or a more serious problem that requires replacing the vehicle with another unit and organising a tow for the problem vehicle. This service is provided at no cost to the client as long as they did not contribute to the fault,” added Paul.

When PowerTorque visited the Sydney Rentco depot at Ingleburn, the high standards of service and maintenance were illustrated by the cleanliness and attention to detail evident throughout the workshop. Despite a wide variety of vehicles and trailers, the preparation of each unit before handover to the client was certainly equal to any major fleet operation.

“With the mining industry declining we have diversified slightly with what we have in stock. We have expanded our stock of skeletal trailers and over-dimensional trailers, especially with extra low or retractable skels, plus including ultra-light skels capable of 27 or 28-tonne payloads. We diversify in order to suit the market and started to purchase new equipment again resulting from the signs of growth in the current financial year.

“Safety obviously has a very high priority and we added EBS and ABS equipped trailers to our fleet way before it became a legislative requirement. For trailer manufacturing, CIMC has provided an excellent product with high reliability levels that have contributed to our ability to offer highly competitive rates. The CIMC trailers use Fuwa K-Hitch axles and suspension components,” said Paul.Rentco-PT68_2

Although the truck and trailer rental fleet is not monitored on a satellite navigation basis by Rentco, the company does monitor vehicle performance by downloading the information contained in the ECM system of each vehicle, prior to servicing. Because the company has no need to track information such as vehicle load percentages or equipment destinations it does not monitor fuel burn.

Tyre maintenance programmes are administered through the Beaurepaires for Tyres national network with trailer usage monitored by hub odometer readings.

In the event of a puncture, the 1300 service number will once again link the driver or operator to the nearest Rentco employee who will take total control of the repair or replacement. There is no tyre component cost except for any damage, and the rental package is based on a per kilometre rate after exceeding a standard 1000 km per week distance package. Individual tyre tread depth and tyre identification is checked for each tyre at the conclusion of the hire period.

Paul Scott summed up the company’s success by saying; “Rentco’s commitment to its customers and it employees is key to its success over the past 20 years. With a team of long term dedicated staff and blue chip transport company customers it is Rentco’s commitment and reactivity to the transport industry that will keep us strong for another 20 years.”

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