7 quick ways to reduce rental equipment costs

Before you visit the rental store with your list of equipment needs, take time to help ensure you will have the right tools and machines for the job — and the jobsite.

1. Examine the jobsite. Take a look at travel distances, steepness of grades and underfoot conditions. Know the height and reach requirements for the aerial equipment you may need. “Specifying the right machine can help prevent work delays,” says Rod Beeler, manager of rental and used equipment services for Caterpillar.

2. Select the right machine. In general, select the smallest machine that will get the job done. But don’t cut yourself short on size and power. If the machine isn’t large enough or is under powered for job requirements, it may take longer to complete a task.

3. Consider work conditions. Know whether rental equipment will work inside or outside — or both. Measure the size of building entries. If emissions are a concern, you may need equipment that’s electric-powered. Also consider any lighting you will need, such as portable light towers.

4. Know the terrain. A piece of machinery operating on 4 inches of loose gravel may have different requirements than one working on smooth concrete. Flotation tires may be necessary in some situations, while tracks may be required in others. Solid tires may even be needed if underfoot conditions are especially abusive.

5. Calculate rental duration. Carefully calculate how long it will take to complete your work. Be careful not to underestimate the length of a rental. If you need a piece of equipment for three weeks, it may be more cost effective to rent it for an entire month, so be sure to ask.

6. Determine equipment delivery. Many contractors require the rental store to deliver equipment to the jobsite. If your rental store does not do this, be sure to calculate whether your truck and trailer can haul the equipment’s weight and size. If you have a truck capable of towing equipment but no trailer, ask whether the rental store will rent you a trailer.

7. Rely on the experts. Working with professional and well-trained rental store staff can save you time and money — and help increase your productivity. “The customer wants to work with a salesperson who understands his business and his needs,” Beeler says. “A contractor, for example, appreciates it when we recommend he rent a skid steer loader with work tool attachments. This helps him complete multiple tasks with one machine, eliminating the need to rent one or dedicated-task rental machines. The bottom line is we save him time and money.”