Posted April 21, 2022

Trenching made easy

How one equipment manufacturer has been adjusting to the recession and supply-chain shortages.

Late 2021 industry reports showed a big market increase for outdoor power equipment spanning the next five years.

MiniTrencher group shot

The GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment is compatible with Husqvarna K770 and K970, Makita EK7651H and EK8100 and Stihl TS420 and TS500i powerheads.  

MiniTrencher with cart

GeoRipper with EZ Cart.

MiniTrencher in handheld mode

GeoRipper in handheld configuration.

MiniTrencher unit
Powerhead switches to GeoRipper mode in five minutes.

When experts reflected on the cause, they credited the pandemic. After the world shut down, people escaped where they could. Whether it was creating a slice of paradise in their backyard or renovating their home, people were taking on COVID-19 projects and hobbies to cope.

As a result, there has been a boom in landscaping and construction projects. Sales for lawn and garden equipment edged toward 16 million units in 2021, with handheld equipment accounting for almost 60 percent of that.

Even though the industry has taken off, it is still challenging for rental and equipment dealers. With inflation skyrocketing and with supply-chain shortages, the industry is playing catch-up.

Companies are having to reassess and adjust their strategies, offerings and overall business. With as much turmoil that recessions bring, they also offer new opportunities and growth, if you keep your options open. “There are common pitfalls when it comes to the equipment industry. It is important that businesses don’t get stuck in this mentality of ‘this is how we have always done it’. You can’t be afraid to get a little uncomfortable. Businesses now more than ever need to be flexible and open minded,” says J.J. Harris, general manager at MiniTrencher.

How MiniTrencher is adjusting
MiniTrenchers’ sales took off with its portable trencher, the GeoRipper. Contractors and enthusiasts immediately saw the draw of having something smaller and portable to help dig in areas that they couldn’t before. Whether they couldn’t trench because it was too narrow, established or wooded, enclosed or even on a steep hill, the GeoRipper portable trencher quickly became the solution.

MiniTrencher launched the latest addition to its GeoRipper product line up late last year. The GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment was designed specifically with the rental industry in mind.

The GeoRipper T/A uses bolt-on/off technology that converts a powerhead into a minitrencher and back into a cut-off saw in only five minutes.

 “We are constantly looking at ways to build on the GeoRipper concept. We wanted to make something that would not only benefit the end user but our rental dealers as well. We designed an attachment that would give more functionality to the contractor. Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of trenchers. We also wanted to solve the issue of not having to buy a new powerhead if you already have one. This is key for the rental companies,” Harris says.

The GeoRipper T/A trenching atttachment changes the dynamics of the minitrencher industry. Rental companies that already rent cut-off saws can now rent them as a minitrencher with a quick-to-attach trenching attachment. This can help rental companies increase equipment utilization.

Powerhead compatibility
Currently, the GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment is compatible with Husqvarna K770 and K970, Makita EK7651H and EK8100 and Stihl TS420 and TS500i powerheads. Harris saysMiniTrencher is looking to expand its trenching attachments with other brands or even battery-powered motors. “Stay tuned to see what is coming next.” 

What makes GeoRipper models so revolutionary?
GeoRipper minitrenchers provide an easy and precise way to trench while decreasing time and labor and increasing profits. With more than 150 rental and retail dealers nationwide, contractors can see and experience GeoRipper first-hand, whether through renting or having a demonstation.

GeoRipper has been known for its portability and fast digging solutions. “Thousands of contractors already own a GeoRipper minitrencher. However, we know that there is a huge market of contractors and enthusiasts that are looking for it to rent. Whether they have a one-off project or just want to rent before buying, the market is there. At the end of the day, it isn’t ‘if’ there is a market for GeoRipper models in rentals but instead are you going to get your customer’s business or are your competitors?” asks Harris.

 “We rent out the GeoRipper two to three times per week and purchased a second unit to rent out,” says Chad Cooke with Cooke’s Rental, which has four rental stores in North Carolina.

Whether your customer needs a light-weight alternative, low-maintenance solution or a more accessible choice, the GeoRipper minitrencher debunks old-school claims that bigger is better. The original GeoRipper and GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment’s self-sharpening chains dig through dirt, clay, roots and rocky soil with remarkable speed and ease. Both units dig a minimum two inches wide with maximum depth increments of up to 20 or or 27 inches deep.

GeoRipper minitrencher history
MiniTrencher entered the industry in 2014 with the TerraTrencher, which was initially developed in New Zealand. It uses a chainsaw engine and softer digging chains. MiniTrencher immediately saw the drawbacks with the different soil conditions in the United States market and this prompted the company to develop a product that could handle not only soft soils, but loamy, rocky and clay soils as well.

In 2016, MiniTrencher launched the GeoRipper, which used a Dolmar brand concrete saw as its main power source. When Dolmar was acquired by Makita, MiniTrencher shifted its engines to a Makita EK6101, EK7651 and EK8100 powerheads, creating the GeoRipper 6, 7 and 8 Series.

In 2019, MiniTrencher launched its first battery-powered GeoRipper model, using the Milwaukee MXF314 14-inch cut-off saw powerhead. Since then, MiniTrencher has continued improving the GeoRipper with new, stronger and more durable chains, a double dirt-guard deflection system and a completely redesigned EZ Kart.

In 2021, MiniTrencher didn’t just create the GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment, it added a new safety bar that would cover the top of the chain on the GeoRipperT/A model.

“When we took into consideration the rental market, we knew we needed to do more than just create a trenching attachment. We also looked at how we can make the GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment better and safer. We decided to add a new safety bar that would cover the top of the chain. We also made the EZ Kart standard on all GeoRipper T/A units. In the past, we have always recommended the EZ Kart for longer runs, so why not just include it with the trenching attachment? Now we have an all-inclusive minitrencher.”

The original GeoRipper and GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment are perfect for irrigation, low-voltage lighting, fencing, edging, erosion control and root barrier installation. “I had a job that would have taken two hours to trench by hand. I had it done in five minutes. Best tool I have bought. It is going to make our company money hands down,” says Christopher Wood, a Florida contractor.

Learn more about the GeoRipper® and GeoRipper T/A trenching attachment at or call (877) 694-0141.