The right equipment is essential for construction work. However, over a long enough period, your fleet of vehicles and other machines may start to feel more like a liability than an asset.
Even when you’re not using your construction equipment for a given project, you must store, maintain and keep it in good working condition. While you can always sell and replace equipment, this process isn’t quick. Capital invested in machines can restrict your cash flow, limiting the services your company can offer.
There are significant benefits to using rental equipment for your construction company, rather than purchasing your machines outright.
These are the top five reasons renting equipment may be the right option for your business.
1. Access to the Latest Technology
Manufacturers are always developing upgrades and implementing new technology — like motion-tracking safety systems and telematics — into their latest models. Even if you buy the latest equipment, you will eventually miss out on potential benefits you could have received if you’d waited a few more months or years to make the purchase.
Equipment rental gives you access to a wide range of machines. Depending on the budget you have available for a given project, you can invest more heavily in cutting-edge tech — or opt for less advanced, but still modern, rental equipment instead.
2. No Upkeep Costs
Maintenance is one of the most significant costs of vehicles and construction equipment. For every piece of equipment in your fleet, you’ll need to develop a maintenance schedule, budget for new parts and keep on a technician with training in each machine’s specific needs.
Used equipment, while more cost-effective, can also be more expensive to maintain. Natural wear and tear may create major problems over time, and a manufacturer may no longer support a given machine — meaning replacement parts can become harder and more expensive to source.
Rental equipment can still fail, but there’s less at stake if a rented machine breaks down during a job. While you may still face some downtime while you wait for a replacement, you won’t need to worry about fixing a machine or finding a new one.
3. Lean Storage and Fleet Management
Renting equipment means that you can acquire machines as needed for a given project. If you need a trench digger in the future, but the current job doesn’t call for one, you can hold off on renting until you break ground on that future project.
While you wait, you won’t need to store and maintain that trench digger, or ensure that you have it safely secured so your workers can operate it when the time comes.
As a result, renting instead of purchasing gives you some extreme flexibility to implement very lean equipment storage and management practices.
If you build equipment rental into your project workflow, there’s a better chance that you’ll see equipment costs coming and always have the right tool for a given job. You won’t have to spend time trying to figure out if a machine you’ve already purchased can do a job as effectively as a more specific tool that you’d also need to buy.
Equipment rental can make fleet management more complicated. For example, many first-time renters make the common mistake of not correctly managing paperwork, leading to budgeting errors or lost tax deductions. However, with the right practices, renting can help any construction company dramatically reduce their spending on storage and fleet management.
4. No Depreciation
Construction equipment rapidly declines in value. Good depreciation policy can offset this cost somewhat, but effective management requires excellent accounting and meticulous record-keeping.
While you can avoid some of these problems by buying used equipment, you may eventually run into other issues — like mounting maintenance costs — and you still won’t be immune to the effects of depreciation.
You can avoid the problem of market value depreciation by not making the investment in purchased equipment to begin with.
Renting means you won’t have to worry about depreciation or how wear and tear may affect your machines’ resale value. All you’ll need to worry about is the cost of renting for the length of the project.
5. Room for Experimentation
A purchase is a major commitment — once you’ve brought a machine into your fleet, replacing it with another vehicle or piece of equipment can be a major undertaking.
Even if you prefer to purchase equipment, renting can still be a valuable opportunity to test equipment before fully committing to a new machine. While some vendors may give you the chance to test-drive a vehicle, you may not have the opportunity to fully stress-test a new piece of equipment.
It can be hard to know if a specific machine is the right fit for your business’ unique needs or resources. Renting compact equipment will give you a chance to see how it performs in the field with your workers’ expertise and your current construction workflows.
If you’re weighing the same kind of equipment from different manufacturers, renting can also give you hands-on experience with multiple, similar machines.
When you rent, you’ll be able to get hard numbers and feedback from your vehicle operators on everything from efficiency to how the vehicle feels to handle and use. While it may cost slightly more than buying outright, renting compact equipment as a trial run will help you avoid purchasing a machine that’s not the best fit for your specific needs.
How Your Company Can Benefit From Equipment Rental
Depending on the budget you have available, you may feel tempted to purchase machines for your construction company outright. While this is one option, the benefits of renting compact equipment often make it a better choice for those in the construction industry.
When you rent, you won’t need to worry nearly as much about long-term storage and maintenance, depreciation or equipment upgrades.
There will be some challenges in renting — like managing rental paperwork and transporting rented equipment — but the potential advantages often outweigh these difficulties.
Megan R. Nichols is a technical writer and blogger who covers industrial and scientific topics.
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