Ultimate Guide to Renting Earthmoving Equipment

Ultimate Guide to Renting Earthmoving Equipment

When it comes to land management, you have many tools at your disposal. To get the job done faster and more effectively, you need attachments that drastically cut back the job time and powerfully deliver vegetation control and management solutions. Cat® C Series mulchers are high-performing land-clearing tools that cut down thick brush and trees and shred them into smooth mulch byproduct that’s good for the environment.

Mulchers take your compact land management equipment to the next level, helping you stay safe and productive on the job. With mulcher rentals, you get the flexibility, compatibility and cost-effectiveness you need to operate a profitable land management business.

Jump to a section:

Earthmoving Equipment Applications

Earthmovers are employed across a range of industries, lending themselves to multiple applications. Some of the industries in which you’ll find earthmovers include:

  • Construction: When clearing a site for new development, earthmovers dig foundations, hammer away rock and backfill and grade the lot. They’re also used in road and utility construction to trench out ditches for irrigation or buried cable lines.
  • Landscaping: To make room for new landscape installations, earthmovers are used to extract tree stumps and clear brush, as well as dig holes for new plantings. Earthmoving equipment is also necessary for hauling, dumping and spreading soil, gravel and other landscape materials.
  • Mining: Whether open-pit or surface mining, heavy-duty earthmoving equipment is used to extract and collect mined materials. Earthmovers are also used to transport materials around the site and haul away overburden.

A range of earthmovers get these jobs, and many more, done quickly and effectively.

Top Earthmoving Equipment Rentals

When deciding what earthmoving equipment to rent, you have a vast selection of machines to choose from. Earthmoving is a broad equipment category, encompassing compact loaders to heavy-duty industrial-grade machines. Earthmovers can perform a specific type of task, or they can be multipurpose tools that deliver more bang for your buck.

If you need an earthmover for your construction, landscaping or industrial project, a reliable rental company can help you find the ideal machine for the job. Below are a few popular earthmoving equipment options to choose from:

1. Dozers

The bulldozer is one of the toughest earthmoving machines available. Weighing anywhere from 18,000 pounds to 230,000 pounds, this machine puts the “heavy” in heavy-duty equipment.

The primary purpose of a bulldozer is to push massive amounts of dirt, rock or other materials around vast construction sites, typically in preparation for construction. They’re built with a large, flat blade, which the operator can control and set at a precise angle for grading level ground or working on a slope. Integrated feedback technology in modern bulldozers helps the operator produce a smooth end result. 

Since bulldozers are large, heavy machines that run on tracks, they’re incredibly stable, easily tackling rugged terrain without sinking into soft ground. The most common type of dozer is also called a crawler dozer because it floats on top of the ground as it propels itself forward. Dozers commonly come equipped with a rear ripper — a heavy-duty blade for puncturing the ground.

Here are some of the jobs you can get done with a bulldozer equipment rental from The Cat® Rental Store:

  • Clearing and piling debris after a demolition project
  • Sloping and grading a new lot for residential construction
  • Breaking up hard ground with the rear ripper
  • Managing forestry cuttings and building bushfire containment lines
  • Towing other equipment or extracting stumps with a hydraulic winch

Dozers differ in their operating weight, as well as the type of blade they’re fitted with. You’ll also find other types of dozers that have wheels instead of tracks.

2. Excavators

When digging is the job, an excavator is the answer. These tracked earthmovers are a job site staple. They’re seen on projects as small as residential landscaping to operations as massive as mining. Excavators are designed to dig with their front bucket, which is attached to a stick-and-boom articulating hydraulic arm. The excavator operator is able to independently rotate the arm left and right, dig into the ground, close the bucket and then deposit the excavated material aside. 

An excavator conveniently rotates 360 degrees, making digging and backfilling much easier. Additionally, excavators can be outfitted with a variety of attachments to expand their uses beyond digging. Specialty excavators, like dragline excavators, are also available for specific applications, such as surface or open-pit mining.

Excavator rentals are the ideal solution for jobs like:

  • Digging foundations, footings, pools, septic fields and more
  • Building trenches and ditches for road construction and utility installations
  • Unearthing stumps and piling brush cuttings
  • Hammering into hard materials for demolition or lot-clearing jobs

Cat excavators come in a range of sizes, from mini excavators designed for small landscaping and construction jobs to larger models meant for quarry and mining operations.

3. Backhoe Loaders

Earthmoving equipment is constantly evolving, and one of the more revolutionary equipment inventions is the backhoe loader. Backhoe loaders are a versatile earthmover that provide three functions in one:

  1. Tractor: The backhoe is built on a tractor framework, meaning it can traverse rugged terrain with its heavy-duty tires. Having a turbocharged diesel engine gives it the power and speed to cover lots of ground in a shorter time than other earthmovers. As a bonus, it can actually be driven on city roads.
  2. Loader: The front end of the backhoe loader is the loading appendage. The loader is equipped with a standard bucket, which the operator is able to lift and lower from the cab controls.
  3. Excavator: The back end of the backhoe loader is the digging appendage. Equipped with a boom-and-stick digging bucket just like an excavator, this rear appendage rounds out the backhoe loader’s suite of functions.

Backhoe loaders are convenient, multipurpose machines because the operator can perform two jobs in one machine — digging holes with the backhoe and hauling away the excavated materials with the loader. 

Backhoe loader rentals make a wise rental choice for landscaping and construction projects. Rather than renting two separate machines, the contractor can get the same functionality from one rental, saving on the rental price and fuel costs.

4. Wheel Loaders

Wheel loaders are heavy-duty machines with significant hauling and lifting power. Active construction sites constantly need to move materials from one area to another. A wheel loader is up for the job. With a huge front bucket and a hydraulic arm, the wheel loader can scoop, lift and transport loose materials, construction supplies and anything else that needs to move.

Wheel loader rentals are ideal when you need to tackle tough jobs like:

  • Backfilling foundations and compacting soil to reinforce structures 
  • Scooping up and disposing of brush cuttings and tree stumps
  • Moving landscape materials like soil, sand, mulch or gravel from the truck to their destination
  • Removing dirt and rock from a fresh excavation site
  • Grading lots and smoothing out terrain in preparation for building

Wheel loaders are available in a variety of sizes, including compact size. Though compact wheel loaders are bigger and more powerful than skid steer loaders, they’re also compatible with the range of skid steer work tools that Caterpillar is known for. Residential and commercial landscaping and construction jobs can benefit from compact wheel loaders because their smaller size and better fuel efficiency makes them more suitable for tight lots compared to full-sized wheel loaders.

5. Compact Track and Multi-Terrain Loaders

When you need more power, better traction and great productivity, choose compact equipment that’s designed for rugged conditions. Both compact track and multi-terrain loaders are designed for greater weight distribution over the surface area, allowing them to propel over uneven terrain with greater power.

While many people use the two terms interchangeably, compact track loaders are different from multi-terrain loaders. They both have tracks and are both loaders, meaning they both have front-end buckets. However, their differences are in the way they're designed, particularly in their undercarriage. 

Here's a comparison between compact track and multi-terrain loaders:

  • Compact track loaders: Designed with a rigid undercarriage, a compact track loader is a stiff machine, like a skid steer loader. As a result, it can withstand very rugged conditions while minimizing the amount of wear on its undercarriage parts. They’re often used as an alternative to skid steer loaders, which can be too harsh on sensitive terrain or may not get enough traction.
  • Multi-terrain loaders: Built with lighter-weight components and a suspended undercarriage design, multi-terrain loaders apply very low pressure to the ground compared to rigid machines, like skid steers and compact track loaders. Their suspension design allows them to maintain better contact with uneven ground surfaces.

Both compact track and multi-terrain loader rentals are available from The Cat Rental Store through your local dealer.

6. Skid Steer Loaders

Skid steer loaders are one of the most popular pieces of construction and landscaping equipment. Originally built as a way to efficiently clean barns, skid steer loaders have come a long way since their first iteration in 1957. Today’s skid steers are multipurpose compact construction tools that are safe and easy to operate. Like all loaders, they have a front bucket, which can be replaced with numerous attachments.

Skid steer loaders get their name from the way they are skidded in order to turn. Skid steers have four wheels, just like other wheeled loaders, but the wheels aren’t attached to a steering mechanism, meaning the operator can’t steer the machine like you would a car. Instead, the wheels are fixed, but variations in weight and speed allow one side to turn while the other side doesn’t. 

Since skid steers are compact and can turn in their own footprint, they’re ideal for residential construction and landscaping, as well as for hobby farming and other light applications. Skid steers are also ideal for seasonal jobs, like snow plowing and removal.

When you rent a skid steer loader from your local dealer at The Cat Rental Store, be sure to ask your representative about the numerous work tools available for this loader. Cat work tools help you tackle precise jobs with better productivity and efficiency. 

7. Motor Graders

Motor graders are a critical piece of heavy machinery for contractors seeking efficiency, speed and productivity. Built with an angled blade, also called a moldboard, motor graders resemble bulldozers but are less bulky, with their lean frame and wheels instead of tracks. 

Unlike bulldozers, the motor grader’s blade is attached in the middle of the machine’s frame rather than out front. The multi-directional blade can also extend beyond the frame of the machine, making it useful for grading ditches and slopes out to the side. Just as bulldozers have a ripper in the back, motor graders can also be outfitted with a rear ripper attachment for breaking up rock and asphalt.

Motor grader rentals allow you to take on a variety of applications, including:

  • Processing, mixing and smoothing materials in road construction
  • Compacting and smoothing out backfilled areas and cleared lots
  • Finish-grading in compact spaces or around precise areas, like sidewalk curbs and manholes

Motor graders can get jobs done quickly because they can be driven at greater speeds than many heavy machines. It’s common to see motor graders being driven on city roads, which is convenient when moving between nearby work sites. 

8. Trucks

A final and crucial component of earthmoving projects is the ability to deliver or haul away materials. For that, busy construction projects depend on a variety of different trucks, all of which are heavy-duty enough to carry massive loads safely.

Below are a few of the earthmoving truck rental options from The Cat Rental Store:

  • Articulated trucks: Used on a variety of construction sites, as well as in mining and quarry work, articulated trucks are dump trucks that are designed so the rear trailer section moves horizontally relative to the front tractor section. The advantage is that it allows the operator to dump or load materials at angles or in corners.
  • Dump trucks: Dump trucks are classic trucks seen on construction sites. They’re used to deliver materials to the site, such as gravel or soil. Or they haul things away, such as extracted materials, debris or other equipment. 
  • On-highway trucks: As the name suggests, on-highway trucks are used for transport between work sites or to and from suppliers since they can be driven on the road. On-highway trucks serve multiple purposes from waste removal to cement mixing. 
  • Off-highway trucks: Off-highway trucks are enormous construction vehicles used on mining or quarry operations or major industrial construction and infrastructure projects. Larger off-highway trucks are strictly used on work sites and not driven for road uses.

Four Benefits of Earthmoving Equipment Rentals

When you need access to high-performing and modern heavy equipment for short-term or flexible contracts, renting is the best way to go. Trusted rental providers, like The Cat Rental Store, have a vast inventory of earthmovers to choose from. 

Rent earthmoving equipment and save on long-term costs. Find the right equipment for the job and test out a variety of machines before you invest. Below is a look at four reasons why renting earthmoving equipment makes sense.

1. Fewer Ongoing Costs

The primary reason renting earthmoving equipment is beneficial for contractors is because it gives them immediate access to the equipment they need for less money. A rental agreement is an all-in-one payment that includes all the associated costs of equipment acquisition. Because this cost is distributed over a short-term contract length, the contractor pays only for what they need compared to owning equipment, which involves an ongoing carrying cost.

Here are some of the ongoing expenses you don’t have to worry about when you rent your earthmoving equipment:

  • Financing and interest payments
  • Maintenance and replacement costs
  • Insurance fees
  • Storage and transportation expenses

When you rent earthmoving equipment, you simply pay the rental fee and the cost of fuel to operate the equipment.

2. Flexible Contracts

Contractors who rent equipment love the flexibility they have with their rental terms. For residential construction and landscaping contractors, daily, weekly or monthly rentals are ideal for shorter projects.

For bigger industrial construction, infrastructure or mining projects that take many months or years to complete, project managers benefit from long-term contracts that are more affordable over the long run. If circumstances change and the project runs overtime, you can easily adjust your contract term with your rental provider to have access to the necessary equipment for longer.

Having contract flexibility is especially valuable for companies that perform seasonal work. Renting makes different types of equipment available for different projects throughout the year.

3. Wide Selection

The rental marketplace contains a massive inventory of equipment. When you rent, you get access to the exact equipment you need, as well as work tools that are designed to get the job done faster. Looking for a specific earthmover that’s the right size? A rental company can help you locate it. 

The inventory available at a reputable rental provider is also extremely well-maintained and serviced on an ongoing basis. This means you’ll get the right equipment for the job and it will perform at its best. Trusted and professional rental companies typically provide newer equipment that's up-to-date with the latest in technology and features. You’ll benefit from the most efficient and productive equipment available.

4. Try Before You Buy

Thinking of buying heavy equipment but aren’t sure which is the right earthmover for you? Renting is the perfect way to ensure you’re making a wise investment before you sign the deal. Renting opens you up to a variety of equipment options, allowing you to decide between a compact loader vs. a skid steer loader, or an excavator vs. a backhoe loader. 

By renting different types and sizes of equipment for your upcoming projects, you can test out the different machines before you settle on a final decision. With the help of trusted rental experts, you’ll narrow down your choice that much sooner.

How to Rent Earthmoving Equipment

A reliable rental provider will make the process as easy as possible, so you can get up and running and turning a profit in no time. Here are some things to know about how to rent earthmoving equipment:

1. Choose the Right Type

When you rent earthmoving equipment, the most important first step is narrowing down the type of machine you need. While each machine is unique, many can accomplish similar tasks. Some earthmovers, like the backhoe loader, act like hybrids, offering you more than one primary function in a single machine. 

In some cases, it will be obvious which type of earthmover you want, but sometimes it won’t. A knowledgeable equipment specialist will ask you about your upcoming project and help you choose the right earthmover for the job.

2. Select the Right Size

It’s not enough to know which type of earthmover you need — you also need to select the right size. Many contractors who rent earthmovers for the first time either up-rent or down-rent their equipment without realizing it. 

When you rent equipment that’s too big for the job, it can be problematic. Equipment that’s overkill takes more skill and safety precautions to operate. It also costs more and burns more fuel.

On the other hand, equipment that’s too small won’t be as efficient, and you’ll lose productive time. To be safe, consult a trusted rental representative who can advise you on whether you need compact or full-size equipment for your project.

3. Find a Trusted Dealer

Ultimately, the rental dealer you choose can make or break the project. That’s because they’re the ones with the expertise and experience to guide you through the rental process. To make sure you’re getting the right type and size of equipment, you need to consult the industry-leading experts at The Cat Rental Store. 

The Cat Rental Store representatives specialize in working with contractors like you to identify and source the right equipment you need. With your local dealer, you get expert customer service and high-performing, well-maintained equipment backed by the trusted Cat name.

Choose The Cat® Rental Store for Your Earthmoving Equipment Rentals

Selecting the right earthmoving equipment for your upcoming project is a critical decision. Earthmovers are the lifeblood of construction sites, and contractors need machines that perform at their peak. Renting earthmoving equipment is the best way to get access to the right equipment at the right time for a lower cost and flexible term. 

The Cat Rental Store is your trusted source for high-quality earthmoving equipment that will keep your project productive and profitable. Visit one of our dealers' 1,300 global locations to get the expert advice and reliable earthmoving equipment your project deserves.

Find The Cat Rental Store Near You