UTV: The Workhorse You Need for the Jobsite
Whether you’re working in the landscaping, construction or even snow and ice removal industries, UTVs can bring a lot of value to the work site. However, it’s important to understand that not every UTV is purpose-built for work. Many may not have the features and capabilities you need to get the work done. That said, we caught up with Norma Aldinger, Caterpillar UTV product expert, and Frattalone Companies, a Minnesota-based construction contractor, to highlight some important considerations to make in your UTV purchase or rental decision.
Norma’s Guide to Finding the Ideal Utility Vehicle:
- Adequate load-hauling capability is a must, but why not look for superior? UTVs are often used to haul substantial loads on the jobsite—anything from the crew’s tools to hardscape materials to utilities piping. Therefore, you want to select a utility vehicle with more than enough rear cargo and/or towing capacity to handle the tasks at hand. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider the cargo bed material. A side-by-side with an all-steel cargo bed is going to be much more durable and customizable than a plastic bed.
- Stability equals reliability. Jobsite terrain can vary greatly, especially depending on the weather during your projects. It’s important to pick a UTV with a suspension system that provides stable transport on any terrain, whether you’re hauling a full load or not.
- Hassle-free maintenance means less downtime. We all know it … downtime is the enemy on the jobsite. So when it comes time to service your equipment, it needs to be quick and simple. Some UTVs on the market today were purposely designed with this in mind—providing easy access to service points so you can perform necessary maintenance at any time, even when you’re in less favorable conditions or environments. In addition to simple DIY maintenance, it’s also important to research UTVs that come backed by dealer support and service to assist with any repairs, machine maintenance or product questions.
- Comfort is key. The work week is hard enough. Why make it harder on yourself (or your crew) by riding around in a UTV that doesn’t offer a smooth ride and comfortable cab? For the smooth ride portion, an advanced suspension system is critical—such as a four-wheel independent suspension with sway bar to deliver a balance between smooth riding and load-hauling. Additionally, look for a UTV cab that’s easy to get in and out of with ample head, shoulder and leg room—also important for backseat passengers if you select a 5-seat model. Check to see if the UTV has an adjustable driver seat and steering column, as well.
- You want to be able to have a conversation while riding. Often times, transporting your crew in a UTV at the beginning of the day is the only chance you get to catch up on tasks at hand. In these instances, is especially important to have a UTV with minimal noise and vibration levels while operating.
As long-time UTV customers, the crew at Frattalone Companies echoed many of the points in Norma’s guide, along with a few additional insights on utility vehicles.
“We have been using and testing utility vehicles on large projects for more than five years, and they are a very big part of our fleet,” said Tony Frattalone, president of the company. “If you think about it, it’s more economical to transport people and tools across a site using a $15,000 UTV compared to a $65,000 pickup.”
“We’ve had two seasons of rain here and jobsite conditions are rough,” said Lee Gass, site superintendent. “You need a UTV that can get through the mud, get through the ruts. Good traction is key.”
“If you can find a UTV that can get through muddy conditions, carry the tools you need, charge the batteries you need … the time savings are huge,” another crew member added.
A UTV can be a great addition to your business, but finding the right one for your needs isn’t always as easy as it seems. We hope this blog helps you with your decision process the next time you’re in the market for a utility vehicle. To learn more about the latest UTV options, visit Cat.com/UTV or contact your local Cat dealer.