Equipment Rental Tips During COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Editorial Team
  • Heavy Construction Equipment
  • 29 May 2020

For several months now, the United States and the rest of the world have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. While many steps have been taken to ensure public health and safety, the economy has faltered as a result and many businesses have been forced to shut down. Many heavy equipment businesses have been considered essential and allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic, and other businesses are now starting to reopen as well as state and local governments are beginning to loosen restrictions on stay-at-home orders. With people beginning to go out more, however, there is still a possibility of a resurgence of the coronavirus and a return to varying degrees of lockdowns. With such a large amount of economic uncertainty, many construction companies, contractors, landscapers, and individuals completing DIY projects at home may turn to heavy equipment rentals as there are a great number of benefits associated with renting equipment in times such as these. To help make the most informed decisions, we have compiled a list of 11 tips for renting equipment.

First, you must understand the job to be completed. If you do not have the specific type of equipment to complete the job, could any of your other machines do it?  If not, what equipment do you need to finish the job?  A rental dealer may have suggestions for what machine or piece of equipment is needed to complete the project.

Second, you should know the amount of time that the equipment will be in use. Typically, a machine should be in use about 60-70% of the time to make it worth purchasing. Knowing the amount of time that you will have a piece of equipment in use can help you determine whether to rent or buy.  If less than 60-70%, renting might be the best alternative.  Also, knowing the amount of time that a machine will be needed to complete a project will help determine the rental duration and avoid any late fees.

Third, you need to study the economy and economic indicators. Although you might originally believe that you will utilize a piece of machinery frequently based on the number of projects that you have to complete, economic uncertainty as there is right now during the COVID-19 pandemic might cause many projects to be canceled or delayed. In that case, renting equipment might be the best choice so that you don’t spend a ton of money on an expensive machine that might end up sitting unused more than you had originally anticipated.

Fourth, map out what rental options are available to you. There are a variety of alternatives that you can check into, ranging from online marketplaces such as Equipment Anywhere that can connect you with dealers across the country to smaller local equipment dealers that offer equipment rental options. Find out what options are available to you and suit your needs in terms of the types of rental equipment that they offer.

Fifth, have an inspection done on any construction equipment that you are interested in to ensure that it is high quality and can complete the task. Thoroughly examine the machinery inside and out. Check the mechanical and structural components, hydraulics, fluids, exhaust, in-cab, tires, and tracks, and make sure that everything is in good working order.

Sixth, you should also learn the history of the machine to ensure its quality. Ask for and examine the repair and maintenance records for any used heavy equipment to ensure that you are getting a machine that has been well cared for. Newer equipment also has telematics information that can be provided upon request. Make sure that the equipment has been certified for use as uncertified equipment might be of poor quality, unsafe, and even illegal in some cases.

Seventh, research the equipment dealership to make sure that the dealer has a positive reputation as this will provide you greater confidence in renting equipment from them. Ask colleagues, customers, and others in the industry for their opinions about the equipment dealer. Research the dealership online and perform a business background check. Confirm the dealer’s ownership of the equipment.  Finding a reliable dealer is a vital consideration when looking to rent equipment.

Eighth, examine the contract to verify the full cost of renting the equipment and whether it will meet your requirements. Determine whether insurance for damages or theft, transportation fees, and fuel surcharges are included. Make sure it specifies how long the rental is for, how the equipment will be both obtained for use and returned, whether there are late fees, and who is responsible for the maintenance and repairs on the machine.  Study the billing policies and find out who is permitted to use the machinery. Knowing all of the contractual details will not only make you aware of the full cost of rental, but it will also inform you of any risks associated with renting the equipment.

Ninth, check and see if a long-term rental would make sense and get you any more bang for your buck. Since you would be providing a dealer more long-term business, they may be willing to offer a larger discount for a longer-term rental. Renting long-term may also help you as the equipment operator by ensuring that you have the equipment when you need it and avoiding the more significant investment to purchase the equipment.

Tenth, obtain the proper training to ensure safe operation of any heavy equipment. Not only can misusing large equipment be dangerous, but it can also make you contractually liable for any damages that might occur. Do any research needed on how to properly use the machinery, and you may even ask the dealer if they provide any operation or safety training.

Eleventh, obtain the necessary contact information for the rental company. Make sure that you know who to call if there is an issue with the equipment, if they can provide any back-up options, what their hours of operation are and what you can expect in terms of response time.  Also, find out if they have a customer service or help line or if you can contact the dealership directly to answer any questions or resolve any problems. Being able to quickly get in contact with the dealer, especially in case of emergency, can prevent you from falling behind on a job and losing business and profitability.

In conclusion, do your research to determine whether renting or buying is the right choice for you. If you have the money to spend and plan on using a piece of construction equipment for years to come, buying might be your best option. However, during times of economic uncertainty such as the one we are currently facing during the coronavirus pandemic, renting might be your best alternative. By following the suggestions above, you may determine whether renting is the correct choice. Whatever you decide, MY Equipment is here to help and offers all of your heavy equipment rental or purchase options, so contact us today for your equipment needs!