Guide to Equipment Rental Pricing

Guide to Equipment Rental Pricing

Renting heavy equipment is a practical solution for growing businesses and contractors. An equipment rental provides you the flexibility to get the exact equipment you need when you need it without having to arrange financing to buy a new or used machine. Heavy equipment rentals help you control your project costs, manage your overhead expenses and adhere to tight production schedules.

How much does it cost to rent heavy equipment? If you’re weighing your options between buying or renting construction equipment, it’s important to get the whole picture and understand the complete cost of equipment rentals. This guide to rental equipment costs will cover some of the typical rental rates of different equipment types, as well as the factors that affect how much it costs to rent equipment. We’ll also review some of the additional costs associated with renting and operating machinery so you have a clear idea of how to budget for your next project.

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Cost by Equipment Rental Type

Rental prices on heavy equipment vary widely between the types of equipment. Whether you’re renting compact construction equipment like skid steer loaders, compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders, or you select full-size equipment like excavators, backhoe loaders and wheel loaders, your rate will largely depend on the size of the equipment. Full-sized heavy equipment costs more to maintain and repair than compact equipment, which gets factored into the rental rate.

For the most part, rental prices are determined by hourly rates, starting with a minimum number of hours, such as a half day. But it’s often more convenient for contractors to rent equipment by the day. Below are some typical daily rental rates on various types of equipment:

  • Excavators: Excavators are among the most popular rental equipment because they’re often needed for only a short time, such as for digging a foundation for a home or an underground pool. Excavators also vary widely in size, from mini hydraulic excavators weighing between 1 ton and 10 tons to full-size excavators with an operating weight of 190,000 pounds. A typical full-sized excavator ranging between 15 tons and 20 tons will cost business owners between $200,000 and $500,000 to purchase. Compare that to the daily rental rate of just $450 to $3,500. 
  • Forklifts: Forklift rentals help warehouse managers and contractors reduce downtime during planned maintenance or when an unexpected breakdown occurs. Forklift rentals can help managers maintain productivity for a small, short-term cost. A new forklift costs between $10,000 and $25,000 or more to buy. To rent a forklift for a limited time, you can expect to pay between $100 and $600 per day.
  • Skid steer loaders: Another popular equipment rental, skid steer loaders are compact earthmovers that can help you move soil and material, clear and prepare lots or plow snow and ice. Skid steer loaders can cost between $200 and $400 per day to rent. When you factor in your skid steer rental costs, you’ll also need to consider the cost to rent the work tools you need to get the most out of your equipment rental.
  • Scissor lifts: Aerial lifts are often needed for short-term projects where workers must safely reach heights without the need for ladders. Scissor lifts are a type of aerial lift that provides a solid platform for workers while they install equipment or make repairs. Renting a scissor lift is convenient and affordable, costing between $100 and $250 per day.

For more information on the cost of specific equipment rentals, fill out a Quick Quote to help budget your equipment needs.

What Factors Determine Equipment Rental Rates?

There are many factors that determine the cost to rent heavy equipment. From the type and size of equipment you need to the amount of time you need it for, equipment rental rates are based on your specific needs. In addition to your project needs, equipment rental pricing tends to vary widely across the country depending on the local market and what’s competitive for that area.

Below are some of the important factors that will affect your heavy equipment rental costs:

1. Equipment Type

When figuring out your rental costs, it’s important to first get clear on the type of equipment you need to rent. Consider factors like how big the project is and the nature of the project. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Equipment for residential or smaller jobs: For residential landscaping projects, compact loaders like skid steers, compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders are the most popular options because of their enormous versatility with compatible work tools.
  • Equipment for large jobs: For bigger land management jobs, you might consider a larger machine like a backhoe loader, which offers excellent value by providing two machines — a wheel loader and an excavator — in one. Backhoe loaders are great on construction sites because they can be put to use in the initial lot clearing stages, as well as for grading and backfilling in preparation for building.

Other specialty heavy equipment, like forestry machinesroadwork equipment or dump trucks, are available for short-term rentals. Contact The Cat® Rental Store near you to discuss your project needs and get help selecting the right type of machine.

2. Equipment Size

there are two big risks when selecting rental equipment - renting equipment that's too large or too small

Once you've settled on the right equipment type for your project needs, the next factor that determines rental cost is the size of the equipment. There are two big risks when selecting rental equipment — renting equipment that’s too large or too small. Both of these risks can negatively impact your budget.

Equipment that’s too small for the job causes operators to work harder and longer, driving up production costs. Small equipment is inefficient for large jobs, taking longer to complete tasks like grading, digging or brush clearing. Inefficient equipment hurts productivity, increases the amount of time you need your equipment for and can disrupt production schedules.

Conversely, equipment that’s too large for the job can also be inefficient. The larger the equipment, the harder it is to operate. Larger equipment also consumes more fuel, which increases your overhead costs. Full-size equipment is not suitable for smaller spaces, increasing the risk of accidents and damage. 

When you visit The Cat Rental Store, you’ll get help selecting the right size of equipment so you get the most cost-effective solution.

3. Equipment Technology

Another factor that can influence pricing is the age of the equipment rentals. Some rental providers stock older models of equipment that might not perform as well as newer models, particularly if they haven’t been well-maintained. Older equipment may be missing some crucial technology that can drastically improve your bottom line.

Modern heavy equipment is designed with technology that improves productivity, reduces operating costs and enhances safety. Cat Construction Technology improves operator efficiency by providing grading assistance or compaction control so you get the most precise final product. These technologies come standard in Cat rental equipment when you rent from The Cat Rental Store. 

Newer machines that are fully equipped with the latest technology may cost more to rent upfront than older models, which is reflected in your daily rental rates. However, the improvements in fuel economy and operator efficiency offset the additional cost for newer equipment, making it a cost-effective solution for your overall productivity.

4. Contract Length

A significant factor in determining the cost to rent construction equipment is the amount of time you need the rental for. Equipment rentals can range from as short as a few hours to as long as a few months:

  • Hourly rental agreements: In many cases, to rent equipment by the hour, providers will require a minimum number of hours in order to authorize a rental agreement. This can range from two hours to six hours and varies by businesses and their unique policies. 
  • Daily rental agreements: The next-shortest rental length is the daily term. This is a popular option among homeowners or small business owners who have projects they need to accomplish over a weekend or within a couple of days. It gives people the flexibility to get the exact equipment they need for the time they need it without paying for longer contracts. Additionally, many rental providers are able to extend a daily rental agreement should the project take longer than expected.
  • Weekly rental agreements: Contractors are also able to rent heavy construction equipment by the week, which provides a happy medium between the daily rentals, which could be too limited, or the monthly rentals, which could be too lengthy. 
  • Monthly rental agreements: With monthly rentals, businesses rely on these longer-term options for projects like home building or commercial construction. Roadwork and other seasonal jobs also benefit from the flexibility of monthly rental agreements. 

In many cases, rental providers are able to offer deals that reduce the daily rental amount when you rent equipment over a longer period.

5. Location

The cost to rent heavy equipment also varies by location, as some markets are costlier than others. Business taxes are higher, wages are more and supplies or parts are more expensive. All of these economic factors drive up the cost to do business, which gets passed on to customers. 

Each rental provider will set their rates based on what’s competitive in their local market. The cost can vary widely between markets where there are plenty of local options and regions where there are only a few reliable providers to choose from. When looking for an affordable price on heavy equipment, be sure to shop around and compare rates between different providers, including The Cat Rental Store. 

With over 1,300 locations worldwide, The Cat Rental Store is available near you. With a massive dealer network, our locations can offer competitive rates based on the value of our well-maintained and high-performing equipment.

6. Specialty Equipment

A final factor that can affect how much it costs to rent heavy construction equipment is whether the equipment you need is widely available or not. Smaller rental providers may only have a certain number of the most popular equipment available to rent at any given time. 

If you need specialty equipment, like power generation equipmentpump equipment or concrete equipment, you may find that these products are harder to come by when visiting smaller outlets. This may be the case when trying to procure these rentals on short notice. When small rental businesses do stock specialty equipment, they may charge a premium for it, especially when it’s during a peak demand season. 

By choosing a rental provider with a wide inventory across many different locations, you’ll be much more likely to find the specialty equipment you need when you need it without having to pay higher rates. The Cat Rental Store has a global dealer network that helps customers source the equipment they need from other nearby locations. Your rental equipment specialist will be able to find and secure the exact type of equipment you need, and you can rest assured that each rental has been serviced to the same high standard of quality and care.

How Equipment Operating Costs Affect Your Rate

When pricing out your rental equipment and comparing different rates between providers, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the total cost of your rental. Renting equipment doesn’t stop at the rental fee quoted by the provider. There are other costs of renting equipment that you might not realize until after you’ve started your project. Costs like fuel, labor and your time, all add up to reflect the total cost of renting. 

Consider the following costs associated with renting and operating heavy equipment:

1. Upfront Rental Fee

The most obvious cost involved in renting and operating heavy construction equipment is your daily, weekly or monthly rental fee. As we’ve seen, this figure can range from as low as $100 per day to as much as $3,500 per day or more, depending on the type of equipment you need to rent and from where.

Depending on the provider, your upfront rental fee may include the cost of delivering the equipment to your site on the day your rental agreement begins. Or this may be a separate fee you can choose to take advantage of for the convenience of not having to arrange transportation yourself.

For short-term rentals, this rental fee will also include all the maintenance and repairs that make the equipment high-performing and fully functional so you can rely on it throughout your project. If you’re renting the equipment for a few hours or days, then your rental fee may also include the cost of fuel. The exact services and fees included in your rental rate will vary by business, so always ask about what’s included in the fee and whether there are other hidden costs you need to know about.

2. Work Tool Costs

Cat equipment is known for its versatility and is compatible with numerous different attachments

Another expense to consider when renting your construction equipment is the type and number of work tools you’ll need in order to complete your project. Cat equipment is known for its versatility and is compatible with numerous different attachments that can optimize the functionality of the rental equipment and maximize productivity. 

Skid steer loaders and other compact equipment, for example, typically come with a general-purpose bucket included in the rental. This is an adequate attachment if all you need to do is move soil, haul material or do basic digging, backfilling and rough grading. However, if you need to perform anything more specific, you’ll need to select the appropriate work tool.

Examples of work tools to add to your heavy equipment rental can include:

  • Auger attachment rentals: Augers can enhance the value and versatility of your heavy equipment rental. With an auger, you can use the machine to drill holes for footings, signposts and fencing. We recommend renting an auger if you need it for only 60% to 70% of your projects, when you need to temporarily replace a unit undergoing repairs or when you are experiencing a sudden surge in business. When you rent an auger, you avoid additional costs like storage, maintenance and depreciation.
  • Blade attachment rentals: Blades can transform your heavy equipment rental into a powerful machine capable of moving mounds of dirt, gravel, mulch, sand and trash. Blade attachments can boost your heavy equipment rental's productivity, versatility and performance. The Cat Rental Store dealers offer options like angle blades, U-blades for various industries and purposes, dozer blades and box blades.
  • Broom attachment rentals: Brooms help you transform a multi-terrain loader, a backhoe or a skid steer into a sweeping machine. Use this rental equipment to quickly and efficiently collect, clear and sweep debris from job sites, parking lots and streets. Choose from either angle brooms, pickup brooms or utility brooms depending on your needs for brush diameters and sweeping widths. An angle broom is great for clearing parking lots and city streets, while pickup brooms are ideal for depositing debris into a hopper for dumping.
  • Brushcutter attachment rentals: Brushcutters are ideal for clearing overgrown vegetation at an outdoor recreational area, housing lot, utility easement or highway median. You can attach a brushcutter to your heavy equipment rental to get your shrub, brush or tree problem under control. A brushcutter with high-strength blades can easily cut and mulch overgrowth, and the fully balanced blade carrier minimizes vibration and allows the cutter to navigate stumps and rocks. Consider the hydraulic flow rate and cutting width to select the right brushcutter for the job.
  • Compactor attachment rentals: Compactors can be used for compaction tasks that involve materials like sand, gravel and soil. Common applications include laying asphalt surfaces and pouring concrete. By attaching a compactor to your heavy equipment rental, you can complete the job more efficiently and quickly. A compactor comes with vibratory drum rollers made with a revolutionary pod design, giving you the best balance between frequency and amplitude for a superior finish.
  • Flail mower attachment rentals: Flail mowers are useful when you need reliable equipment for your construction or landscaping project. Whether you are getting a piece of land into top condition or clearing tall grass from the roadside, our flail mowers provide excellent performance and a rugged design that allow you to clear away any type of vegetation or debris, such as branches, bushes and thick, tall grass. Even ditches, back roads and hillsides will be easier to navigate.
  • Fork attachment rentals: Forks can be used to enhance the material handling and lifting capacity of a Cat machine. These attachments work well with machines that come equipped with quick coupler systems. Choose from construction forks, industrial grapple forks, logging forks, pallet forks and utility forks. If you don't have enough space to store a fork attachment, renting is a great option.
  • Grapple attachment rentals: Grapples are an attachment option you can use for handling loose material, tearing down buildings, performing cleanup duties, sorting trash and sifting through debris and rubble at demolition sites. Select from grapple attachments including contractors' grapples, forest machine grapples, orange peel grapples and trash grapples.
  • Hammer attachment rentals: Hammers are reliable tools for breaking up bricks or concrete blocks. The hammer can be attached to your heavy equipment rental and transform it into a powerful demolition tool. Tools like the H65E and H55E come with fully enclosed housing to increase operator safety and minimize noise. The automatic shutoff protects against blank firing and wear. 
  • Forestry mulcher attachment rentals: Mulchers can cut and mulch overgrowth and vegetation for a wide range of jobs, including environmental maintenance, land reclamation and brush clearing. Forestry mulcher rentals can be used with heavy construction equipment like skid steer loaders. With a mulcher, you can perform mulching in confined spaces and wooded terrain and turn waste into profit. 
  • Shear attachment rentals: Shears enable you to cut hard materials in demolition and construction environments. The right shears will cut through solid materials and metal structures as needed, allowing you to take on the most high-demand projects with speed and efficiency. Choose from rotating, straight, stick-mounted or boom-mounted shear rentals.
  • Snow plow attachment rentals: Snow plows make your heavy equipment rental more effective during winter activities. Push through heavy loads of ice and snow, and ensure ongoing contact to the ground with reversible bolt-on cutting edges. Spring-loaded trip edges adjust automatically and give you higher ground clearance, and a curved moldboard makes the snow easier to push.

Similar to equipment rentals, work tool rentals will also vary in cost and depend on the model, size and the length of time you want to rent them for.

3. Fuel and Fluid Costs

heavy equipment needs its hydraulic fluid and other fluids topped up routinely

Whether you rent or own heavy equipment, you need to factor in fuel costs. Short-term heavy equipment rentals might include the fuel costs, specifically with hourly or daily rentals where you don't consume much fuel. For longer-term rentals, such as weekly or monthly agreements, you will need to make arrangements to have the equipment refueled as needed.

Fuel delivery services can range in price depending on your location and the economic climate at the time. In addition to refueling, you’ll also need to ensure the longer-term rentals are adequately maintained throughout your agreement. Heavy equipment needs its hydraulic fluid and other fluids topped up routinely in order to function appropriately. This can be arranged through your rental provider.

4. Labor Costs

Another cost associated with renting heavy equipment is the labor to operate the machinery. Whether you’re planning on running the equipment yourself or you have an operator you’ve hired, both scenarios cost money. As the operator yourself, it will cost you your time. When hiring an operator, it will cost you whatever their wage is.

Renting heavy equipment, particularly for a longer-term rental, is not as simple as operating it whenever you need. You also need to conduct routine inspections and operator checklists to ensure the equipment is safe to operate. These procedures are essential, and they cost both time and money to conduct. Be sure to account for these additional costs when budgeting for your project and the necessary rental equipment.

5. Operator Training Costs

Depending on the nature of the project and the type of equipment you’re renting, you may need to invest in operator training to ensure you have fully certified operators on your job site. There are different levels of operator training, ranging from in-person training led by industry experts to simulator training, providing a safe and economical way to train operators. 

Operator training gives workers the skills they need to understand and operate the equipment to its fullest extent, maximizing production. It also teaches operators the vital safety behavior they need to ensure they protect themselves and others on the job site.

Operator training ranges in price depending on the level of training and the private training provider.

6. Transportation Costs

The cost to rent heavy equipment also involves transportation expenses. Some rental providers include delivery in their pricing or offer delivery services for an additional fee. They’ll drop off the equipment, set it up for you and then be back to pick it up at the end of your agreement.

However, if you’re renting equipment long-term to put to work on multiple different projects, you'll need a way to transport the equipment to and from your various job sites. For this, you will need a trailer that’s adequately sized for the machine. Additionally, you’ll need to pay for the trailer’s insurance to ensure it’s legal to drive on public roads to and from different locations.

Rent Your Heavy Equipment From The Cat® Rental Store

Renting heavy equipment is a cost-effective and convenient way to take on more projects and maximize profitability. With the ability to keep overhead costs low and gain access to high-performing equipment, renting gives you the most productivity from your investment. Renting from The Cat Rental Store dealers optimizes value with well-maintained, high-quality machines.

For more information on the cost to rent heavy equipment, visit your local dealer today. Work with our rental equipment specialists to select the right heavy equipment and get a quote on short-term or long-term rentals. Browse our rental equipment online or find a dealer near you. Call us at 1-800-RENT-CAT for more information.

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