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JCB’s Dan Thompstone said, “We have seen accelerated growth in demand for our site dumper range. This has been driven by customers who already invest in other established JCB machines. There is an even distribution of volume across the four main weight categories, predominantly from hire companies wanting a comprehensive product portfolio for their customer base. This reflects the investment in building and construction on the whole, along with the continued development of transport links and infrastructure.”

Dave Roberts of Kubota reports that the manufacturer’s tracked dumpers are proving popular. “We have been promoting them more actively this year and there is still lots of potential. Hirers are adding smaller models to offer alongside the micros and 1.5-tonne minis they already have in their fleets, as a matched pair. Jobbing builders and landscapers working on domestic projects use the excavator to dig the ground and load the dumper, which then fills a skip on the driveway.”

Avant continues to develop the network of hirers offering its machines.

so the ability to carry out more applications with a single machine will become increasingly valuable.”

A similar view is held by Geoff Hamlen of Skid Steer Hire Solutions based in Monmouth, which specialises in Bobcat machines. “There is a new generation of site managers who are looking at the skid steer as an all-round machine. It is the same with mini excavators: years ago, you hardly ever saw a mini with attachments like flails, augers and piling rigs, but now they are commonplace. Users want to work more efficiently.

“We are as busy as ever. The breadth of the market minimises seasonal peaks and troughs. The boom in demand for machines to work on solar farm construction seems to have peaked, but other markets like demolition and site clearance are stronger. Basically, think of an industry and we will be supplying equipment to users working in it.”

Kubota reports that an increasing number of hirers are buying tracked carriers to offer alongside minis.

Also proving popular for undertaking a wide range of grounds care and construction tasks are compact machines like Avant’s articulating loaders. The company continues to expand its Avant Hire network of companies that have added the units and attachments to their fleets. “We now have 25 hirers participating throughout the country, with another to be appointed very shortly which has several depots in different regions,” National Sales Manager, John Spencer, told EHN. “The versatility of the machines means they can be used for many tasks, and we have just announced an electrically powered model, which will enter production in the New Year.”

Versatility is also a quality that is creating more interest in skid steer and tracked loaders, according to Dan Thompstone of JCB. “Interest has certainly increased during 2016. Harnessing the breadth of attachments that a skid steer or compact tracked loader can utilise opens a significant number of revenue streams. As the market recognises the potential beyond simply buckets and forks, the skid steer can become an increasingly profitable machine. As material costs rise, contractors will expect bigger returns from equipment,


As we stated earlier, uncertainty in the lead-up to the Brexit referendum disrupted construction activity and equipment buying patterns this year, and there are on-going doubts about what the implications of the UK’s exit from Europe will be. A weak pound obviously means that imported products will be more expensive, and dealers will be replenishing their stocks in the New Year with equipment at new prices. On the plus side, this will also help to raise the returns that hirers expect when selling or trading-in machines, but perhaps it makes the argument for maintaining sensible hire rates more relevant than ever.

Several suppliers believe that more users are appreciating the versatility of skid steer loaders.

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