There are a lot of benefits to renting equipment as opposed to investing in ownership of them. It can be a huge money saver: no more wasting money on one-use equipment, no paying out for long-run maintenance costs and no paying to transport & storing them. It can actually allow for more indirect benefits, like doing more DIY because renting is much cheaper and more accessible.
There are many things to take into consideration though. This isn’t like renting a DVD from blockbusters or even a car on holiday. There are more variables at work here, more safety to take into consideration and more room to go wrong. Below are five tips that will help ensure you protect yourself when it comes to renting equipment in terms of money, safety and liability.
Only rent from trusted companies. This is one that quite often goes neglected. Just because a company has a physical store, a lot of stock and looks relatively established, it doesn’t mean they’re safe to do business with. They might be, but there are usually several options in any given town so it is worth assessing. How do you assess? Firstly, make sure the company has good customer service available – for example Boels have a dedicated customer service number. Many things can go wrong when renting, and it is much quicker to phone up than it is to have to travel down to the store every time. Secondly, check the online reviews. Even just the Google reviews alone can say a lot, with both an aggregated star rating and details of their customer experience. Thirdly, clear and fair terms and conditions are important, but this will be explored more below.
It is important that you (and your employees if you’re a company) take the necessary training. Some equipment you can get training in but aren’t absolutely vital, like a ladder hire, but many are prerequisites. A quick crash course will not take long usually, and it will improve both the safety and efficiency of using the equipment. It is a good idea to start learning ahead of time. Otherwise, a week long rental will turn into 90% training and 10% actual work getting done. You can read the manuals online, watch Youtube tutorials and ask lots of questions in-store before actually receiving the equipment. It is worth noting that some rental companies actually offer training themselves, which may be more convenient.
Terms and Conditions
Read the T&C. Read it again, and ask some questions. The first thing to clarify, which can usually only be done via a conversation, is to understand what both parties’ perspective on wear and tear is. It should also be understood where you go/communicate if they equipment breaks, and understand fully what the charges are upon damage. It should also be clear what the fees are for handing back the equipment late is, because this is a very possible reality for even the most organised of people. If they offer insurance, get it. There’s no need to risk having no insurance.
You can save money by renting the equipment at the last possible moment- the day that you need it – but this is not always wise. You need to find a balance, and reserve a space and organise delivery ahead of schedule. This is to ensure the item will not be out of stock when you need it – which can often be the case with both niche and popular tools (but usually the niche ones). If you schedule ahead too far though, the day of delivery may come around and your plans may have changed – the equipment may still be unneeded for a week. Perhaps booking a month in advance may be a suitable time, but it really depends on the individual.
Lastly, you can actually hand in your equipment before the arranged time. If renting on a day-by-day rate, then it’s possible to save money this way. It is good practice to hand in before arranged dates regardless, as this will hedge against the possibility of incurring charges or fines.
Some other ways to reduce costs
- Sharing’s caring: Before renting the equipment, ask neighbours if they need the equipment too. If they’re on the fence, offering to split to costs may incentivise them. This can be a great way to split the costs, although you will have to take into consideration that you may be liable for their damages.
- Record as an expense: Don’t forget, if you work from home or if the hiring of equipment is related to your business, this can likely be tax deductible (but check your own laws)
- Hiring a professional: This sounds expensive but if the job is outside your capabilities, this may end up saving you money. Firstly, it’ll be much quicker than wasting your own time (perhaps when you could be working). Secondly, it will mitigate the risk of doing damage or making a situation worse, which would inevitably lead to the hiring of a professional anyway.