Use these tips to find the rental program that makes sense for your company.

For many contractors and construction companies, renting equipment can offer an attractive, cost-effective alternative to consider as construction work strengthens this year and shows growth in 2011.

At a time when cash flow and credit can be tight, renting offers construction companies access to a wide variety of construction equipment for added job versatility without the added headaches associated with ownership, including the cost that comes from warranties, regular maintenance and repair, transportation, insurance and storage. Once you've decided renting is the better option, the next step is to determine which rental company you will work with.

To help contractors and construction companies find equipment rental stores, the ARA offers, an online rental locator. Users can enter their zip codes and the types of equipment eeded to get a list of local ARA-member rental companies that can help meet their needs.

To select the equipment rental store that's right for you, first determine what is most important. For many, price can be a key factor, but the lowest price doesn't always ensure the greatest value.

Other criteria to consider include equipment availability, proximity to the jobsite and customer service. Equipment rental company trained professionals should be available to help assess and secure the right equipment for the job you have at hand and provide training on properly using the equipment.

If you share the details of your project with rental store personnel, they can recommend the type and size of equipment needed and help organize any additional supplies necessary to complete the job correctly.

Equipment rental inventory is turned regularly, providing later equipment models with the newest safety features, emissions controls and better fuel economy that meet new governmental requirements.

What most contractors and construction companies say they usually expect from a rental store is a clean facility with well-maintained equipment that works as promised, prompt delivery and the ability to reach someone at any time if there's a problem with a machine.

Those who rent construction equipment recommend asking several questions before signing a rental contract, including:

  • What is your maintenance schedule for equipment?
  • What is your response time if the equipment isn't working?
  • What are your pickup and delivery times?
  • What are your hours? Is someone always available after hours if there is a problem?
  • What training do you provide?
  • What are your rates?
  • Are there any additional fees?
  • What are your billing policies?
  • What are your policies for returns?

By selecting the right equipment rental company, you will have a partner to provide the equipment and service you need to complete your project. If you're paying closer attention to the bottom line, you'll also see the fixed cost of renting equipment keeps the burden of capital investment, maintenance and selling equipment on the rental business balance sheet instead of yours.


Construction Business Owner, September 2010