Big machinery

Contractor’s Guide to Renting Equipment

It may seem unusual for a contractor to rent equipment for a job rather than invest in their own tools and machinery, but renting can be a wise business practice when you are thoughtful about your rentals. Renting the right equipment can help you lower overall costs and more effectively expand your business to better serve your clients.

Why Rent Instead of Buy?

Paying rental fees for equipment you will not be keeping may seem counterintuitive, but renting tools and machinery can be helpful under the right circumstances. It can make more sense to rent when…
  • You need specialized equipment to complete a specific job but won’t be using the tools for other work. Instead of turning down a job or jury-rigging your efforts, you can rent the proper equipment.
  • Buying the equipment outright may be too expensive for your current budget. Instead, you can rent the gear and gradually build up your budget to buy additional equipment as needed.
  • You are considering expanding your skills and business offerings but want to minimize your investment while you gauge the interest and profitability of different jobs. Renting gear can help you complete more work without a full investment until you are ready.
  • You want to try different models and styles of machinery to decide which will best suit your needs. Renting the equipment to use on actual jobs can give you a much better idea of its abilities and performance than a test run in a showroom.
  • The equipment is seasonal in nature and you do not have the storage space to keep it safe and in good condition during months when it will not be in use.
  • You need duplicate equipment to speed up a particular project but will not have extended needs for multiple tools or machines after the job is finished.
  • The job site may be quite a distance away and it is more cost effective to rent gear locally rather than painstakingly transport your own gear or machinery.

Tips for Renting Equipment

No matter what gear, tools, equipment, or machinery you need to rent, it is important to make the best choice for your budget and project needs as you rent different items. When renting equipment…
  • Ensure the make and model of the equipment meets your needs for the tasks you need it to perform. If necessary, choose a design you are already familiar with, or opt to try out a new model to expand your expertise and experience.
  • Be honest about the job requirements to ensure the equipment can handle the situation and perform as needed. No rental is cost effective if the machinery cannot complete the tasks you need accomplished.
  • Be aware of pick up, delivery, and return conditions for the equipment, including dates and times, as well as whether there will be any assembly or disassembly, cleaning, or refueling necessary.
  • Note whether you or the rental company is responsible for proper fueling, maintenance, and any necessary repairs on the equipment during the rental period, and factor in the costs of those tasks to the rental price if needed.
  • Arrange for proper operator instruction or training if needed to be sure you can use the equipment safely and efficiently. Always read all instructions and manuals, and follow safety procedures at all times.
  • Be aware of any extra charges or possible refunds on the rental agreement if the rental period must be changed in any way, such as if your job takes longer than anticipated and you need to extend the rental period, or if you finish early and can return the equipment sooner than expected.
  • Be sure the equipment is properly insured during the rental period, whether through your own insurance policies or as part of the rental agreement. Insurance should cover theft, damage, repairs, and potential injuries should there be any problems as you use the equipment.
Always thoroughly read and understand your rental agreements so you are comfortable with all the terms and conditions. Different rental companies often have different policies, and policies may also change over time, even if you have rented with the same company previously.

When You’re Ready to Buy

After renting equipment for different jobs, you may eventually find yourself ready to buy certain types of machinery for yourself. Contact rental companies where you have done business in the past and you may find great deals on purchasing pre-rented equipment you are already familiar with, which can be a great deal for both you and the rental company, improving both your businesses.