By Jennifer Stiansen, director of marketing, JLGFeatures Tech tips canada landscaping rental telehandlers
Telehandlers can be an attractive option for landscaping contractors.
It’s no secret that skid steers and compact track loaders are widely used among landscaping professionals. These versatile machines have been around for more than 50 years, making light work of landscape and hardscape jobs, like digging, loading, transporting materials and more.
While skid-steers and compact track loaders are popular options for the range of attachments they offer, occasionally landscapers’ needs vary and they may seek an alternative to skid steers or track loaders for the task at hand.
Do you need to load materials into a dump truck? Unload or haul pallets around? Lift and place heavy items? A small telehandler can do all of those things and more.
“Skid steers are very good at what they do, but they can’t reach up very high or very far and they are very disturbing to the ground,” says John Boehme III, senior product manager for JLG. “If you need more lift height, more forward reach, less weight and less ground disturbance, you may want to consider an ultra-compact telehandler as an alternative.”
Compact telehandlers, like those with 5,000-pound maximum lift capacity, are often mainstays for construction companies. But smaller machines on the market, like the SkyTrak 3013 ultra-compact telehandler, fill a need some landscapers didn’t know they had: high lift height and good forward reach, offering the ability to reach into truck beds, onto trailers or over obstacles, combined with low weight for less ground disturbance.
Let’s take a look at a couple use cases for this size of telehandler in landscaping.
At the shop
Loading and unloading materials at your facility is one area where a small telehandler can deliver.
First, a contractor who receives palletized materials at his or her shop can benefit from this machine’s reach and lift capacity. For example, when loading items off or onto a semitrailer with a 3013, there’s no need for a pallet jack to move materials around on the trailer. This machine’s reach allows you to cut out the extra labour and equipment.
Likewise, moving large items like boulders around at your facility is an easy task for an ultra-compact telehandler like the 3013. It can easily reach up and into a dump truck, for example, whereas a skid steer would only have the ability to set a boulder or large load onto the edge of the truck bed. Then you’d have to use the equipment to push it further into the vehicle, scratching up the bed.
Transporting bulk materials like mulch from your storage area into a dump truck is a breeze with ultra-compact telehandlers.
“Materials are expensive, you don’t want to waste them,” Boehme says. “With 13 feet of reach on our 3013 model, you can see what you’re dumping and where you’re dumping it.”
Adding to the telehandler’s versatility is the fact that it has a universal skid steer coupler. “The machine you’ve rented or purchased can be equipped with the attachments you already own,” he says. “There’s no need to go out and get another bucket.”
On the job
Because ultra-compact telehandlers are lightweight, getting it to the job site is an easy task. Landscapers can transport it to and from the rental facility or the shop with a standard truck and trailer, adding to the convenience of running this size of telehandler.
Once you are working on the job site, you can use an ultra-compact telehandler to increase productivity and reduce labour, similar to how you would use a skid steer or track loader.
“Say you want to move saplings. You can put five of those in the bucket and move them all at one time,” Boehme says. He adds that this size of machine also shines in tight urban environments where you may only have access to one side of the truck. “You’re able to lift high enough or extend far enough from one side into the truck to load and unload in congested downtown areas with less traffic disruption,” he says.
And an ultra-compact machine’s low weight and small footprint also means this size of telehandler won’t tear up property. For example, the 3013 has all-time four-wheel drive with two-wheel rear-pivot power steering, designed for easily getting in and out of tight spaces like a small backyard area.
“Compare that with a skid steer’s counter-rotating steering, and you’re going to have much less ground disturbance with the 3013,” Boehme says. He notes that you can take it a step further and get the optional turf tires to ensure ground disturbance is as minimal as possible
Finally, ultra-compact telehandlers are great machines for cleanup at the end of the job. Hook up a bucket attachment and circle the property. While one operator drives, another crew member can toss in any trash and debris that needs to be hauled away from the site. These machines much faster than having team members clean up by hand or with wheelbarrows, which ultimately improves profitability.
Boehme concludes, “When you choose an ultra-compact telehandler, you’ll experience more reach, greater lift height and enhanced terrainability versus a skid steer — all from a machine that can be moved with a standard pickup truck and trailer.”
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