Many factors go into renting the right equipment — from project needs to space constraints to fuel costs to operator experience. A trustworthy construction rental provider will walk you through the renting process, helping you select the right model and size of equipment for your project needs. There are plenty of construction equipment options to choose from. Ask yourself the following questions to pick the machines that help you stay safe and productive on your next project.
The first thing to consider is the type of project you’re being contracted to do. There are a few broad categories of construction equipment based on the types of projects the machines are best suited for. Some of the general types of projects equipment rentals can help fulfill include:
Whether your project is residential, commercial or industrial, and in rugged or ideal outdoor conditions, renting construction equipment is a smart option to reduce overhead costs and optimize your productive output.
After considering the broad categories of project types, the next important factor when choosing what equipment to rent is the level of versatility you require. Construction machines range in level of versatility from highly flexible, all-around workhorses to uniquely engineered machines for niche performance.
Generally, earthmoving equipment is some of the most versatile equipment. Today’s construction equipment is designed to universally attach to an impressive range of work tools. Having so many attachments available for a single type of machine allows you to get the most for your money when renting equipment.
Whether renting a skid steer loader, wheel loader or excavator, your rental has the ability to be outfitted with multiple types of attachments. You can perform various job site duties without having to rent a whole new machine. For example, by renting a compact wheel loader, you can do everything from lot clearing to digging to trenching to material hauling by switching out the work tool. Bucket attachments, in particular, are very flexible and allow you to perform a variety of jobs with a single machine and only one attachment.
On the specialty end of things, there are attachments like augers, brooms and brushcutters, which help you perform niche tasks. In many cases, there’s no need to rent an entirely new machine — simply swap out the work tool and get the next duty done. Alternatively, some projects like road construction or pipeline building require specialty machines that were designed for a specific kind of job. While this equipment may not be as versatile as an excavator or loader, it's the right machine for the project and what you need to stay safe and productive for these demanding jobs.
Next, it’s time to consider your job site conditions. Working in the elements always presents uncertainty, especially in extreme-weather regions. That’s why you need to pick the equipment that’s best suited for handling certain types of terrain. You have two broad categories to choose from when addressing concerns about job site conditions — tracks or tires.
Overall, tires are better for stable, solid conditions where the terrain isn’t at risk of giving way. They’re also useful for on-road driving, as they tend to be permitted on public streets. However, tracks may be best if you’re operating in muddy, wet, snowy or generally unstable terrain. Tracked machines evenly distribute weight over a larger surface area, giving the equipment more traction. With higher traction, the machine stabilizes better, doesn't sink into the ground and can also climb hills easier, which is a benefit on sloped job sites.
Here are the types of equipment to choose from when deciding between tracks or tires:
When making the critical decision between tracks or tires, consult a knowledgeable rental equipment expert to help you choose the best option for your project.
Once you have a good idea of the scope of your project, you need to consider the physical area you’ll be working in. Residential or commercial lots tend to be smaller, meaning you’re limited to the size of equipment you can rent. Larger machines, such as full-size wheel loaders, might be more efficient, but you’ll need to consider whether there’s enough space for them to safely operate. You might be able to get them into places, but will they be able to turn around?
When it comes to determining size limitations, also consider any height restrictions you’re facing. Overhead beams, powerlines or other obstructions will limit your reaching capacity when renting lift machines or telehandlers. That’s why it’s important to choose the right type of aerial lift, such as one with an articulating arm, so you can overcome height restrictions.
Choosing the right size of construction equipment is crucial for productivity, safety and overall performance. You want to get the biggest size of machine possible without overdoing it. Bigger machines are more efficient and much more suitable for heavy construction projects. Larger capacity loaders cover more ground, haul bigger loads, move more earth and generally get more done in less time. But on smaller projects, full-size equipment can overcomplicate things and pose safety risks with inexperienced operators.
Compact machines also have their perks. While they can’t haul or move as much material at once, they are much more energy-efficient, saving you on fuel costs. They’re much more maneuverable in tight spaces and are generally easier to operate. For this reason, they’re considered safer on residential or commercial job sites. Operators in smaller machines tend to have better visibility, meaning there’s less risk of running over people or objects.
Finally, you’ll need to consider transportation. Heavy equipment is harder to transport, sometimes requiring a flatbed truck. Compact equipment can easily tow behind a standard pickup truck. While reputable rental companies are fully capable of delivering your equipment to the job site no matter the size, they’ll typically charge a delivery fee for heavy transportation. Towing compact equipment rentals yourself can save you money, as long as it’s the right size machine for your project.
When considering the right size of equipment for the job, it’s crucial to think about who’s operating the machine. Compact construction equipment like skid steer loaders, compact wheel loaders, compact track loaders and mini excavators are designed to be easy to handle. Modern technology built into newer models of compact construction equipment makes operating these versatile machines much easier and safer. Even people with limited experience can operate compact equipment with the right guidance.
People with limited operating experience shouldn’t jump into full-size heavy equipment right away. In these cases, it’s critical to hire a professional who has undergone the correct training, is certified and has the experience necessary to safely and efficiently handle larger machines.
Construction sites are high-risk areas, and safety is always a top priority. Operators need to know how to operate the machine itself while maintaining lots of other responsibilities. They need to watch for nearby pedestrians or other workers, account for overhead power lines, consider underground piping and stay vigilant to any nearby hazards.
A final consideration when deciding what equipment to rent is how long you need the machine for. Figuring out the rental term ahead of time can help you adequately price your project and better manage multiple projects at once or line up projects back to back.
When thinking about rental contract lengths, you need to consider other aspects of the project and whether you need to wait for one stage to be finished before you can get to work. You might only have a narrow window of time when you need the rental, and having the equipment lined up for this time frame is essential. Longer projects incur more operating costs, so getting a more fuel-efficient model is a wise choice.
Working with an experienced, reputable rental provider can help ensure you get the exact model of construction equipment you need when you need it. Rental companies typically offer flexible contracts. Daily rates tend to be more expensive than weekly rates, which typically include a discount for a longer term. Monthly rates tend to be the most cost-effective, but they might not be necessary.
Since projects don’t always go according to plan, you also need a rental provider who can remain flexible and extend your contract if the project runs over the estimated timeline. Always ask your rental provider about their contract terms to make sure you can secure the equipment for an extended time if needed.
When deciding what equipment to rent, it’s important to have a good idea of the range of options available to you. If you’re still undecided about the right type of machine to rent, consider these popular construction equipment rentals and the applications they’re useful for.
Earthmovers perform a wide variety of tasks by moving large amounts of material, usually dirt, rocks, gravel and sand. In addition to moving material from one location to another, you can also use them to move heavy pieces of equipment or other large objects that are too big or heavy to move around by hand. Earthmovers can be fitted with a wide range of attachments, transforming them into whatever your job needs.
Some popular earthmoving equipment includes:
Aerial equipment is used to lift personnel, equipment and materials to higher heights. It's a useful replacement for a ladder due to its ability to move along the ground and remain at height without constantly relocating the ladder. Some of the most popular aerial equipment includes:
Material handling equipment is designed to move materials around with efficiency and ease. There is a range of machines available that can make quick work of your material handling needs, including:
There's one final element to consider when renting the right machine — which construction rental provider will you choose? For expert knowledge, look no further than The Cat® Rental Store. With hundreds of locations globally, The Cat Rental Store is known for providing customers with well-maintained, high-quality construction equipment.
Our dealers have the expertise and vast inventory to help you choose what equipment to rent for your next project. Find The Cat Rental Store near you today, or give our dealers a call at 1-800-RENT-CAT for more information.Find The Cat Rental Store Near You