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Complete Guide to Compact Equipment Rental

Category: Equipment and Solutions

Contractors are turning to compact construction equipment to build on small commercial or residential sites. Compact equipment includes machinery such as skid steer loaders, backhoe loaders, track loaders and excavators. Using compact equipment is an affordable way to boost productivity and conquer smaller projects efficiently. Unlike large pieces of construction equipment, compact equipment:

  • Is highly versatile
  • Can use different attachments
  • Fits into tight spaces
  • Is easy to operate and maneuver
  • Is less expensive than buying tools for short-term projects
  • Is easy to tow

If you’re in the construction or landscaping business, you might be wondering how to get started with construction equipment rentals. After all, many different types of brands and equipment are available on the market. We understand there is a lot to consider — let this be your equipment rental guide.

We’ll show you equipment rental tips and the benefits of compact equipment to help you make safe and informed decisions. Using compact equipment is easy compared to large pieces, and renting equipment is even easier. Let’s get started.

Why Rent Instead of Buy?

When you buy a piece of heavy equipment, it is yours to use whenever you wish. You are also responsible for storage, maintenance, repairs and selling the equipment when you no longer need it. Considering those factors, it does not always make sense to buy a piece of heavy equipment when you can rent construction equipment instead.

Buying a piece of heavy equipment is a huge investment. Heavy equipment costs thousands of dollars. Some machines, like excavators, for example, can cost as much as half a million dollars. Skid steer loaders, though not as pricey as excavators, will also cost you thousands.

In other words, heavy equipment is not cheap. Considering construction projects come and go, and some seasons are busier than others, renting can be an economical choice. Here are all the reasons it sometimes makes more sense to rent than buy when it comes to heavy equipment.

  • Use only what you need: When you buy a piece of equipment, you’re stuck with it whether you plan to use it again or not. Buying equipment makes sense if you plan to use it frequently for an extended period. However, a construction machinery rental gives you the freedom to only use what you need, when you need it — no long-term commitment required.
  • Do not have to resell: The value of heavy equipment depreciates as much as 40 percent within the first year, and you will need to keep your equipment in excellent condition to get a fair price. When you finish using rental equipment, all you have to do is drop it off at the dealer or call for someone to pick it up. You choose how much to pay according to how long you want to keep the machinery, and you do not have to worry about depreciation.
  • Find the right equipment for the job: Because you do not have to commit to a piece of equipment when you rent, you have more opportunity to find the right equipment for your project. You can try different pieces of equipment and stick with the one that does the job best.
  • No breakdowns: You can expect less downtime and higher productivity with rental equipment. You do not have to worry about the equipment breaking down in the middle of a project or require repair. Rental equipment is well-maintained, safe and ready to perform. In contrast, when you buy, all maintenance and repairs are up to you.
  • No storage expenses: What do you do with equipment when you complete a project? You need to store it somewhere, and that will cost you. However, when you rent equipment, storage costs are not a concern.
  • Try before you buy: Perhaps you know you want to own a piece of heavy equipment. Rental equipment gives you the opportunity to try different models before making an important decision and significant investment so you can find the perfect equipment for your business goals.
  • Tax deductions: Although construction equipment is tax-deductible, their depreciating value affects how much you get in your return. A piece of rental equipment allows for an immediate tax deduction.
  • Use the newest technology: Rental equipment lets you experience and test out technological advancements in the industry. Boost productivity with new equipment designed to perform more efficiently than equipment of the past.

What Types of Equipment Are Available to Rent?

You can rent whatever you need to complete the job, whether you want earth-moving equipment or landscaping equipment. Construction equipment rentals perform like big machines, but are far more mobile and can work in areas large pieces of equipment can’t reach. For example, contractors might choose compact equipment to work between buildings or in residential yards.

Whether you’re landscaping or clearing a site, compact equipment pieces are great for tight spaces, reducing manual labor and boosting efficiency. Worried a piece of compact equipment can’t handle the job? You can use different attachments to suit your needs. At NMC Cat, we carry a wide variety of Cat® attachments for different tasks, such as:

  • Augers
  • Blades
  • Backhoes
  • Brushcutters
  • Brooms
  • Buckets
  • Compactors
  • Hammers
  • Forks
  • Tillers
  • Mulchers
  • Rakes
  • Plows
  • Stump grinders
  • Blades
  • Wheel saws

Instead of having to purchase multiple machines, attachments help you make the most out of one piece of equipment. Whether you work in construction or agriculture, attachments give you greater flexibility in what you can do for your customers.

Although you can rent many types of construction equipment, this guide is going to look at some of the most popular earth-moving equipment — compact track loaders, multi-terrain loaders and skid steer loaders. Each type of loader serves a unique purpose, and may or may not be the best choice for your project.

1. Compact Track Loaders

A compact track loader (CTL) is a piece of earth-moving equipment that functions like a skid steer loader, but is much more versatile. Instead of running on wheels, CTLs use high-flotation rubber tracks, offering greater stability and traction.

You might consider a CTL if your job site involves challenging underfoot conditions, like rocky or sticky surfaces. They also may be a good choice for tight spaces on sensitive surfaces, as with residential landscaping projects, for example. With steel undercarriage components, CTLs are built to last and handle harsh terrain that other pieces of equipment can’t take. You can use different attachments to complete a variety of tasks. In general, the benefits of a CTL include:

  • High durability
  • Can handle challenging underfoot conditions
  • Lower ground pressure than skid steer loaders

Because there are numerous ways to use a CTL, you want to make safety a priority. Keep the following tips in mind to reduce the risk of work-related injuries.

  • Evaluate the job site: Before you operate a CTL, evaluate the job site and the type of work your machinery will do. Next, consider the capabilities of your equipment. Even though a CTL is highly versatile, that does not mean it can handle every job. Make sure you work within its capabilities to prevent injury or equipment damage. For example, do not plan to carry a load too heavy for its size, as the equipment could become unstable.
  • Consider potential hazards: Because you can use a CTL in many different environments, consider the environmental hazards you might face before the operation. For example, in very hot or cold environments, make sure to keep an eye on fluid levels, so the machinery continues to operate smoothly.
  • Choose attachments carefully: One of the most significant benefits of a CTL is the option to use different attachments. However, keep in mind not every attachment will work well for your machine, depending on its size and capabilities. Choose the right attachments for the job and the machine, considering the size and hydraulic power.

2. Multi-Terrain Loaders

Multi-terrain loaders (MTLs) are similar to CTLs, but their undercarriages are designed to handle very delicate or soft terrains. They can also move faster than CTLs and have lighter rubber-coated roller wheels versus the steel undercarriage found in CTLs. They are the preferred choice for working on slippery, muddy, sandy, snowy or any soft or uneven surface that requires greater traction and suspension. A few of the benefits of MTLs include:

  • Extremely low ground pressure
  • Slightly lighter weight than CTLs
  • High flotation
  • Improved traction
  • Smoother ride

Because MTLs are lightweight, landscapers might use them to protect yards from damage. However, MTLs cannot handle gravel or heavier loads as well as CTLs. Sharp surfaces could puncture the tracks for both types of machinery. MTLs and CTLs are the go-to choices for work sites that require low ground pressure in tight spaces.

3. Skid Steer Loaders

For working on hard surfaces like asphalt, skid steer loaders (SSLs) are an excellent choice. Hard surfaces can put wear and tear on tracks, but an SSL uses wheels to handle the pavement. Benefits of an SSL include:

  • Lower owner and operating costs
  • Higher speed than track machines
  • Can travel greater distances in less time
  • Exceptionally maneuverable
  • Lighter-weight than track equipment
  • Easy to haul

Although SSLs can be an affordable choice for construction projects, they are only safe to use in certain applications. For example, SSLs are not a good choice for muddy, sandy or snowy conditions.

SSLs might be the right tool for jobs on hard surfaces, but they can be dangerous. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the most common causes of injury with SSLs are rollover accidents and workers getting crushed by moving parts.

Here are some safety tips for operating an SSL and other pieces of heavy equipment:

  • Never leave the equipment when the engine is running or when the lift arms are raised.
  • Never operate equipment from outside the cab.
  • Always wear a seatbelt.
  • Read and know the operator’s manual and warning labels, and ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
  • Report missing or damaged equipment immediately.
  • Inspect tires, cab and seatbelts for damage every day before use.
  • Always check for fluid leaks.
  • Make sure steps are free of mud or debris to prevent a slip.
  • Make sure to mount attachments correctly and fasten them securely.
  • Enter and exit only when the engine is off and lift arms and attachments are down.
  • Never use control levers as grab bars.
  • Never lift an attachment above a person.
  • Never lift loads too high.
  • Do not overload attachments, and always check the capacity label.
  • Evenly distribute loads on the attachment.
  • Lift loads slowly.
  • Carry loads close to the ground to avoid tipping.
  • Don’t drive too fast.

For more information about renting an SSL, check out our Complete Guide to Skid Steer Rentals.

Tips for Renting Construction Equipment

If you scheduled a project you plan to finish in a few weeks, you’re probably ready to rent equipment. Renting construction equipment is a simple process, but there are a still few things to keep in mind. When you’re ready to get to work, use the following tips.

  • Figure out your budget: Your first step to renting construction equipment is to know your budget. That will help you determine what you can rent to complete a project on time. You’ll need to consider your estimated project length and how many times you need to rent the equipment. Although a rental does not require a large initial investment, it could still cost more in the long run if you intend to rent the equipment for multiple uses over time. Therefore, you’ll need to consider the cost of ownership versus renting when deciding what’s right for you and your budget.
  • Consider the project size: Ask yourself what the project entails and the type of equipment you need to get the job done as efficiently as possible. For example, do you need equipment that can fit into tight spaces, or do you have plenty of room to work with? Can one machine handle multiple tasks, or will you need to rent several machines?
  • Consider the conditions: What underfoot conditions do you expect to handle with your project? Make sure to consider terrain before making a purchase or renting equipment, as this is an important deciding factor.
  • Consider load weight: What kind of loads do you need to lift? Make sure to choose equipment that can handle the weight without threatening safety.
  • Consider the environment: In what type of environment is your project going to take place? For example, if you plan to work in wet conditions, expect to deal with mud and choose equipment, like an MTL, for example, which can work well on muddy surfaces.
  • Choose the right rental company: Make sure to choose a rental company with proximity to the job site and which offers excellent customer service. Work with a company that wants to help you succeed and that can assist you in emergency situations. A good company should be able to help you choose the right size and type of equipment you need and recommend accessories to complete the tasks. Select a company with quick delivery that also offers maintenance and repair services.

When it comes time to decide on a rental company, make sure to find out the following information:

  • Maintenance schedules
  • Response time if equipment fails
  • Pickup and delivery times
  • Store hours
  • Customer service hours
  • Rates and additional fees
  • Billing policies
  • Return policies

Where to Rent Construction Equipment

If you’re looking for a Cat rental store in Nebraska, look no further than NMC The Cat Rental Store. At NMC, we’ve been delivering the most trusted brands in heavy equipment since 1938. We take pride in not only providing the best equipment in the industry but also the highest-quality customer service. Your satisfaction and safety are important to us. So, why rent from NMC? Here are just a few benefits you can enjoy with NMC The Cat Rental Store:

  • The best brands in the business, like Cat
  • Daily, monthly and weekly rentals to accommodate flexible schedules
  • Competitive pricing
  • Unbeatable customer service
  • Prompt delivery to your worksite
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • Rent-to-buy options
  • Mobile fueling services
  • The latest technology in heavy equipment
  • Responsive pickup when you no longer need equipment

Trained technicians inspect all our equipment before rental to ensure efficiency and reliability. Not sure what you need? We’ll work with you to help you find the best equipment for the job. Browse our equipment rental inventory or contact us today for a quick quote!

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