If you ask Rob Wilson, vice president of fleet services for Stephenson’s Rental Services, why the company chooses Hitachi excavators, it seems he has an unlimited number of good reasons.
Ontario-based Stephenson’s Rental Services, which is nearing its 65th year in business, specializes in renting portable tools, scaffolding and portable heat. The company runs a “hub-and-spoke” operation, with the hubs servicing and repairing large equipment and the spokes, or branch locations, carrying a full line of tools and equipment. With a shared, corporate fleet, the equipment is dispatched internally and delivered to customer sites.
Building a Hitachi inventory
Stephenson’s began adding Hitachi machines to its fleet in 2009. Since then, the company has built up an inventory of close to 200 Hitachi excavators available for rent from 23 locations across Ontario and one location in Calgary.
The company carries the ZX17 compact excavator up to the EX200 excavator model. When it came to making the decision to carry Hitachi, Stephenson’s looked to its customers and to its bottom line.
“We make the most money with Hitachi,” Wilson said. “In our experience, it’s been the most reliable in terms of uptime. We can maximize the asset on rent if it’s not in the shop being repaired. We’ve talked to customers, and the units are probably one of the most well-accepted brands. We’re the only rental house, for the most part, that carries Hitachi – so Hitachi is a differentiator for us.”
Stamp of approval
Wilson said Stephenson’s generally keeps Hitachi machines about eight years since hours on the machines stay low. Typically, the company does one- to two-week rental periods, with demolition customers renting for longer periods. Those demolition customers are an additional reason the company carries Hitachi excavators.
“Another reason we went with Hitachi is our demolition customers,” Wilson said. “They’re probably the hardest on the units. Their work is demanding and is done in small, enclosed areas with a lot of debris and high temperatures. Because the Hitachi excavators are zero-tail-swing, they’re not hitting anything. These customers give their stamp of approval on the units, and that’s pretty hard to beat.”
Fleet consistency is also important to Stephenson’s.
“Because the fleet is shared and the units go to where the customers are, it’s important for us to be consistent within the fleet,” Wilson said. “All the attachments and buckets need to fit. If we have a mix of different brands, it becomes more difficult to put orders together. We have the same wedge-style coupler on all the Hitachi excavators so we know which attachments will fit.”
A track record of excellence
Stephenson’s tracks equipment exchanges any time a unit comes off a site. Wilson said his Hitachi excavators have an impressive record.
“Out of our full line of equipment – including all sizes of excavators, skid steers, air compressors, generators – Hitachi excavators are probably the least exchanged item we get, meaning they have very few issues on site,” he said. “They’re very reliable.”
Savio D’Cruz, service manager for Stephenson’s, agrees with Wilson.
“Hitachi makes good machines,” he said. “They’re indestructible. We need to buy more!”
To keep its Hitachi inventory up-to-date and ready for rent, Stephenson’s works closely with its Hitachi dealer Wajax Equipment.
“We have a good partnership with Wajax,” Wilson said. “They offer good pricing and service. Although we do all our own repair work, we lean on Wajax for warranty work. They’re quick to respond and can also help us with overflow work. They help keep us up and running.”
While Wilson can go on with a list of good reasons for carrying Hitachi excavators, he can also sum it up succinctly.
“Hitachi helps us make the most money due to reliability, uptime, customer acceptance and residual value – it’s one of the highest.”
Stephenson’s Rental Services Inc. is serviced by Wajax Equipment, Mississauga, Ontario.