By Chuck Bowen
From the October 2018 Issue of Facility Executive
As you look at budgeting for upcoming equipment purchases this fall and in 2019, consider adding a utility vehicle (UTV) to your fleet. These UTVs (sometimes called side-by-sides) are the multipurpose workhorse cousins of the off-roading, dune-jumping ATVs that many are more familiar with. Initially developed as practical outdoor equipment for ranchers and hunters, UTVs are now coming into play in a big way for facility management teams and landscape professionals who are looking for a single piece of equipment that can fill many practical purposes in their fleet.
Many sites, one machine. UTVs have expanded their applications and moved into the mainstream as outdoor power vehicles that make sense for facility management and landscape professionals. Whether you’re responsible for moving people around a stadium, clearing snow from sidewalks and drives at a business park, or taking care of the landscape at a campus, a side-by-side can be customized and configured to specific site and equipment needs, serving as a flexible, customized piece of equipment that can shift applications as needs (and the seasons) change.
Attachments. What makes UTVs such a practical addition to a landscape management fleet are the many attachments and accessories that these machines support. For example, a UTV can be kitted out as a snow removal vehicle with an enclosed cab, plow or snow brush, and salt spreader. In the spring, that same piece of equipment—thanks to its dump bed—can be used to transport and install mulch or stone for landscape applications. Adding a tank and sprayer set-up allows users to water exterior plantings across a wide area. An outdoor power equipment dealer or retailer can advise on the best UTV and attachments to purchase based on current or future application needs.
Going places. UTVs are powerful outdoor equipment—they can be equipped with four-wheel drive and winches and even treads in place of wheels. They are able to reach locations that can be difficult to access by foot or with a large pick-up truck. In fact, many police and fire departments employ UTVs in their fleets as search-and-rescue vehicles when they encounter rough terrain. And with optional seat configurations, UTVs can haul as many as six people.
Pick your power. Just the like power sources for outdoor power equipment such as mowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers continue to expand, so too do the options for UTVs. Major manufacturers offer side-by-sides powered by gasoline, diesel, or batteries. So, depending on the site, specific job needs, and user-related preferences you’ll be able to choose the best power source for your equipment.
Where to buy. A local outdoor power equipment dealer or retailer is the best place to start your search for the right UTV for your fleet. Consider your current and future site needs and what options you’ll need your equipment to have, as well as your budget. With dozens of manufacturers offering many different products and options, there’s a UTV out there that can address your landscape management needs and make an excellent addition to the fleet of a facility management team or a landscape professional company.
Bowen is director of communications and member relations for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, an international trade association based in Alexandria, VA. OPEI represents more than 100 power equipment, engine, and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.
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