10 Heavy Equipment Rental Tips for Construction Companies

Posted on: July 03, 2023

Have a construction project and exploring your rental options? Renting can be a great way to supplement your existing fleet for a project or as part of a backup plan. For many construction companies, renting helps minimize upfront costs and maintenance costs associated with new equipment.

No matter what construction company you run, activating a rental account is a good idea to ensure you can easily access the right type of equipment when you need it. Signing a short rental agreement might just save the day on certain projects and eliminate downtime.

If you’re exploring heavy equipment rental, today we’ll share 10 helpful tips to navigate the rental process and streamline your experience.

1. Verify All Project Requirements

Even if you’re ready to rent, always gather all available information on an upcoming project to determine the ideal mix of owned vs. rented equipment. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What types of work will be performed?
  • What is the status or health of equipment in inventory?
  • How long will rental equipment be needed?
  • Does it make sense to rent or buy certain equipment?
  • What attachments will be needed?
  • What rental terms make the most sense considering delays or discounts?

For ongoing projects, purchasing used heavy equipment or investing in new, more efficient models may be a better long-term investment.

2. Rent Reliable Equipment

Do you view renting heavy equipment as a purely transactional experience? One factor often overlooked is the reliability of the equipment manufacturer. Always consider how a vendor maintains and supports their rental fleet to ensure you won’t encounter problems that can’t be solved quickly. From build quality to availability of parts and support, a rental dealer’s low rental price could reflect low reliability.

Did You know? When renting from a Cat Rental Store, Cat standards are always followed and each store is connected to the Cat dealer network of parts, service, and support resources.

3. Consider the Quality of Customer Support

Some heavy equipment rental companies also may not offer the same quality of support should breakdowns occur. Especially for time-sensitive projects, access to parts or replacement equipment and responsive field support should be factored into your decision.

The last thing you want is to wait weeks for a part or technician to complete a project on a job site!

4. Rent the Right Type of Heavy Equipment

It’s easy to overlook certain unique features or benefits of certain models compared to others until it’s too late. Be sure to consult with a heavy equipment rental rep to determine the right equipment you need ahead of time. Choosing the wrong machines can cost your operation valuable time and money.

5. Plan Ahead to Reserve Equipment

Always plan ahead and reserve equipment in advance to avoid delays or unavailability. For example, your best option may be to reserve popular heavy machinery you know you’ll need first, and add additional rental contracts later on for less popular equipment with high availability.

An accurate project timeline is also crucial when considering renting equipment. If you over- or underestimate how long you’ll need the machine, you can pay higher rental rates.

6. Coordinate Transportation

In many cases, the company you rent heavy equipment from will deliver the machine directly to your job site and pick it up when the rental period concludes. However, certain jobs may have additional transportation requirements that you will be responsible for.

For peace of mind, budget extra time to account for transportation and hauling.

Depending on your internal capabilities, a few extra rental fees for moving equipment may be worth the cost.

7. Plan for Operator Training

If you rent new equipment your team may be unfamiliar with, have a plan to train your operators according to OEM standards and safety practices. Formal training can also be a great investment for your team to minimize on-site training which can be time-consuming and lead to mistakes.

Operator training schools like the Carolina Cat Training Center help train operators on various Cat equipment models following OEM recommendations.

It’s also a good idea to consider the interoperability of machines in your fleet to reduce the learning curve for operators. Different pieces of equipment by manufacturers like Caterpillar often include familiar controls across the product line.

8. Include Rental Options in Your Contingency Plan

Construction equipment rental can be a great addition to your business plan for a specific project with a tight deadline. Especially for machines with a high frequency of use, your rental backup could pay for itself considering the cost of downtime.

For example, worktech software vendor Eptura estimates construction companies generally plan for 20 to 30 percent of unplanned downtime for each piece of equipment.

Carolina Cat can help you make an informed decision based on your project and business variables. As a best practice, always consult a reputable company that has rental, new, or used options and can provide unbiased advice on when to rent vs. when to purchase heavy equipment.

9.  Inspect Your Equipment On Return

Before returning a machine, always inspect for damage that may have occurred during use before returning. You can use a simple inspection checklist as part of your process, documenting anything out of the ordinary. It’s important to know what’s in your rental contract to understand what’s covered under the rental agreement vs. what may be an out-of-pocket.

Lastly, ensure you budget enough time to perform maintenance checks before your return date.

10. Ask Questions

Before you visit your local heavy equipment rental store, here are a few questions to ask:

  • How much does it cost to rent heavy equipment for my project timeline?
  • What is the billing policy?
  • What are the different models offered?
  • How does the maintenance schedule work?
  • Do you offer attachments and accessories in addition to heavy construction equipment?
  • What are the support hours, and who should I contact with questions or concerns?
  • What are the delivery and pickup times?
  • Is there a cancellation or returns policy?
  • What additional fees should I be aware of?

Contact Carolina Cat to Learn More About Heavy Equipment Rentals

Our friendly staff can walk you through how to rent heavy equipment and help you find the right pieces for your unique situation. Browse heavy equipment rentals at your Carolina Cat Rental Store or contact Carolina Cat for more information.

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