As part of the construction industry’s ongoing efforts to curb costs and maximize efficiency, some companies are looking at alternatives to owning heavy machinery. An assortment of equipment rental networks has sprung up to answer their sourcing needs. These companies allow builders to secure whatever equipment is needed on a temporary basis via app or website with as much ease as renting a car on vacation.
“In the past, sourcing was built upon relationships with salesmen and a quality product,” Scott Cannon, CEO of BigRentz, which claims to be the largest equipment rental network in the nation, told Engineering News-Record. “The world today is based more on the convenience of access to product selection, speed of procurement, and ease of payment. The need for human interaction is dwindling since everything is done via an app or on the web.”
The nascent equipment rental network marketplace has some decent-sized players, but none have become household names just yet. The very concept of contractors browsing a marketplace for heavy machinery rentals is also novel. Considering those unknowns, the process of selecting an equipment rental network may seem daunting.
Here are 5 questions every contractor should ask before making their choice.
1. How Well Do They Screen Their Equipment Suppliers?
The rental network model usually works like this: A rental company partners with one or more equipment suppliers, and brokers the connection between the equipment owner and the renter. To ensure the machinery renters end up with is functioning properly, the rental company must trust their suppliers to keep up with maintenance and repairs. Rental companies should keep records documenting any equipment failures or other problems and only work with suppliers with a stellar reputation.
2. How Transparent is Their Billing?
While it may seem obvious that cost is a key consideration, asking tough questions about how a rental provider arrives at its prices and any additional fees shows you’ve done your homework. Providers should, on request, present you with an itemized billing summary in writing, detailing every rate and fee. They shouldn’t spring any last-minute surprises on you. Nationwide single-source equipment providers tend to have more leverage in offering competitive prices.
3. Do They Offer a Wide Selection?
Another instance where nationwide providers have the edge is in equipment selection. The larger their network of suppliers, the less likely it is that a piece of machinery will be unavailable when needed. Deeper rental networks also make it easier to find niche pieces of equipment, even if the contractor is located somewhere remote.
4. How Modern is Their Platform?
Part of the reason the hotel and rental car industry found a natural home online is the transparency of every aspect of the transaction. Just as a hotel should provide all necessary details to a customer, a reputable equipment rental network should offer information like real-time updates and accurate scheduling. It should all be available 24 hours a day from an easy to use platform. Changes like extending or cutting short a rental should be available within an app or web platform.
5. Do They Offer End-to-End Service?
The convenience factor shouldn’t be ignored when selecting a rental network. It defeats the purpose if the process isn’t seamless from start to finish. This means the provider should handle details like sourcing, delivery and pick-up as well as billing. An ideal relationship with an equipment rental network should be as turnkey as possible.
The business benefits of using an equipment rental network are fairly obvious. They allow smaller contractors who might not have the capital expenditure budget for an $80,000 (or more) piece of equipment to access the same machinery as their larger competitors. The rental model is also an option for those needing a certain piece of equipment for a one-off project. As with many other recent technological advances the industry has gravitated towards, it adds a layer of flexibility and convenience while saving time and money.