The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Construction Equipment Rental

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In a survey of over 70,000 business owners, CEOs, managers, and procurement professionals between 2011 and 2014, found that heavy equipment rentals are increasing across the nation. During that time period rentals for compact truck loaders shot up 925%, wheel loader rentals skyrocketed 273%, and forklift rentals jumped 90%.

Construction Graphic

Whether this increase in rentals is due to the ailing economy or due to other socioeconomic trends, the rental movement is likely here to stay.


Like with every new trend, there is apprehension about renting construction equipment. Is it really more cost-effective to rent over buy? Is renting construction equipment really best for your company?

Read on to gauge whether construction equipment rental is best for you and your firm.

There is one clear driver for the growth of construction heavy equipment rental: the “bottom line.” As a project-based industry, construction equipment is too-often left to collect dust until it’s needed for a new project. Naturally, doing so only leads to equipment depreciation. Renting can thus be a double benefit to construction companies; rental fees are often immediately deductible as business expenses as opposed to depreciated over a long period of time. Thus, in the short-term, construction businesses immediately benefit.

The raw cost of renting is more manageable in the short-term as well. Let’s break down some specific numbers when looking at industry averages and prices from Big Rentz, a major heavy construction equipment rental agency:

  • Mid-range excavators weighing 15 to 20 tons generally range in price from $100,000 to $200,000 new (and can run up to $500,000 for larger customized models). Renting an excavator averages $571 a day, $1,233 a week, and $3,433 for four weeks.
  • According to Warehouse IQ, a new 6,000 pound forklift costs between $11,000 and $13,000. Big Rentz rents out forklifts for $196 a day, $547 a week, and $1,640 for four weeks.
  • Need a skidloader? CostOwl estimates that a 2,000 pound Bobcat skidloader costs approximately $20,000-$30,000. Meanwhile, Big Rentz rents out the same skidloaders for $379 a day, $927 a week, and $2,367 for four weeks.
  • Scissor lifts cost about $22,000 new. But if you opt for renting, the same lift cuts down to $99 a day, $287 a week, and $399 for four weeks.

Of course, Big Rentz isn’t the only major player in the construction rental space. In fact, United Rentals dominates the market, followed closely by Sunbelt and Hertz.

New technology is challenging these leading players though. For example, Getable made waves earlier this year as an innovative free iPad app that matches construction contractors looking to rent and those looking to rent out their own equipment.

As TechCrunch put it, “As software eats the world, it seems no industry is safe. One vertical in particular that appears to be getting more attention from startups is construction, where we’re seeing new apps pop up to make building things a whole lot easier and more efficient.” Check out our construction management software directory to see what they’re talking about.

Man Worker In Safety Vest And Hard Hat Using Tablet

There are a number of other benefits to renting construction equipment instead of buying it, including the opportunity to “upgrade” your equipment as you see fit, which gets around maintenance costs, and foregoing costly storage space. At the end of the day, for many construction firms, renting instead of buying heavy equipment is a net benefit for the company.

Finally, renting gives construction managers the opportunity to try out construction equipment before making a purchase, should they be considering that route.

Naturally, there are many situations where it makes more sense to buy your equipment instead of rent. If you are using your equipment most working days in the foreseeable future, and you have the storage space for it and capacity to keep it maintained, owning will likely be cheaper in the long-run than renting.


Still deciding if you want to rent or buy? What are your major concerns? Do you prefer to rent or own your equipment? Leave your thoughts below!

Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Rachel Burger

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Rachel is a content strategist for Targetprocess, a project management tool dedicated to scalable and accessible visual management. She specializes in project management tips, tools, and tricks, and continues to play a foundational role in recognizing and strategizing for the future of Agile in the workplace. On the rare occasion Rachel isn't writing, she's reading, hiking, jogging, or spending time with her friends and family.


Well, heavy equipment are extremely important for industrial purpose and technology in big construction equipment does not change rapidly. Hence, it’s wiser way to lease them. Nice blog. Thanks for sharing!


Very interesting and informative article. I think you presented a compelling argument in support of forklift rentals and one that I absolutely agree with.

I definitely agree with your point that new technology and apps are challenging leading players, while providing options that may not have been available in the past. I think in today’s society with the popularity of technology and entrepreneurship, this trend will only continue. Whether this be new apps or ideas all together or constant improvements on existing options, today’s world is privileged in the sense that there are more options to choose from than ever before. I definitely see this continuing. Do you agree?

Also, personally, I work for a local, medium sized construction company. We do not have the storage space and capacity for all the equipment that we would like and turned to renting. It has been a fantastic option and we have not looked back since. The mere fact of trying out equipment before making a purchase was an advantage in and of itself, but the financial savings, time commitment and the upgrades available really make the decision an easy one. We use Johnston Equipment for our forklift rental and they truly do everything to make you feel comfortable and confident before you make the purchase. Here is the link if you or any other readers were interested in checking it out:

There is no need to buy more trucks than your normal operation requires and this is why forklift rental is such an advantage. Forklift rental should continue to be utilized by more companies in the future as it really is the best option out there.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. Great article and thanks again for sharing this!

Thanks for the information,

Rent Scissor Lift in Singapore

Thanks for posting this informative article! You’ve made it clear that renting for a short period can be dramatically cheaper than purchasing and maintaining equipment, but it will be interesting to see how more companies renting out their idle equipment will affect the market.

Using the rental fees as a business expense instead of having to depreciate the cost of a machine over many years is great advice. It can be expensive trying to maintain the machines if they are only needed for a few weeks. This would especially be beneficial for smaller construction companies as well.

Thank you so a lot for sharing this sort of wonderful data.
Equipment Rental In United States

I agree, it seems more cost effective to rent construction equipment than to buy it. Renting over buying equipment to deduct it as a business expense seems like a really good reason for renting construction equipment. That’s something that more companies should take into consideration when debating whether they would be better off buying their own equipment.

I’m glad to hear that I can rent a excavator for a much cheaper price then buying one. It could really help me with landscaping I need to do around the house. I’ll have to look into more. Thanks for the post.

Renting seems better than buying, it’s cheaper and you don’t have to worry about your construction equipment depreciating or servicing it per month, renting can save a business a lot of money, thanks for the informative post, business owners will find this article highly informative.

This is some really valuable information for anyone planning on renting heavy equipment. I know a lot of people have a tendency to go into their rental blind and it usually costs them a lot of time and energy. But simply by doing a little research and learning what you need to know before operating or using these kinds of heavy equipment, you can save all that energy and time. Thanks so much for writing!

Fragmentation in this space has been a problem in the construction equipment rental industry and this is why technologies aggregating the supply and making available to renters will become the norm as we move forward. You can rent construction equipment online now much like you hire a car or book a flight.

Hey this is awesome!
You made it easy for people so as to purchase these tools easily and that too at much reasonable rate! 🙂

Keep sharing! 🙂

I think that whether you should rent or buy your equipment depends on how much you plan to use it. Like you said, if you plan to use the equipment almost every day, then it can be worthwhile to purchase and maintain it. However, if you are only going to use the equipment for a limited time, renting it will usually cost a fraction of the purchase price. Thanks for the article.

A great article literally. It is really a challenging job of selection of heavy equipment rentals companies and rates. This article will help me so far. Thanks

Thank you for that information on renting large excavators. I am glad to have a good frame of reference so I can know what a good price to budget for my upcoming project. I have a great deal of fear that I will be taken advantage of. Knowing market value is helpful in my decision making.

I liked that you mentioned the one clear driver for construction heavy equipment rentals, and how that it’s dealing with the “bottom line”. You also mention You mentioned that renting equipment might be the best route for your construction company since it’s a project-based industry. I also think that it’s good to consider buying your equipment outright so that you do not have to worry about the hassle of equipment availability and convenience.

I love that you mention that renting equipment gives you the chance to test out equipment before making a purchase. I’m sure that without that option, the process of making such a huge purchase would feel quite a bit riskier! When you get a chance to test drive the equipment, you can be reassured that it’s going to fit your needs and be a quality investment.

The trend in procurement of industrial equipment is slowly and steadily changing. Rather than owning the equipment, people have started renting it from some reliable rental providers.

Very helpful piece of information! Renting the equipment can sometimes be the way to go for your project, so it’s crucial to know where to look. I would recommend that check also out our latest blog post about equipment sharing services.

I know for certain that the professionals over at prefer rentals. When you’re looking for equipment rental be sure to go with the local pros.

Absolutely amazing article for people looking for information about heavy equipment services. As the world is evolving and increasing day by day in the numbers of population and heavy work this business is also increasing day by day and is becoming the need of every third person. When I was in need of such equipment in Dubai I was quite worried how to get them then I used the services of blue fin rentals as they were amazing for me in the right budget….so if any one in Dubai need such services then I recommend the Blue Fin rentals to them……thanx

I wouldn’t ever go so far as to actually buy construction equipment. Our technology is advancing at a never-seen-before rate. It would take a long time to earn your money back if you were to buy construction equipment nowadays. I’m sure that even the tools that we now use will become obsolete in the years to come. So, yes, renting is the way to go.

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