Construction equipment costs can spike up without warning, taking a toll on the budget of any project. Big-ticket requirements such as portable tower cranes, bulldozers, diggers and other heavy machinery for sale or rent not only require serious capital, they also come at different rates.

It is thus important for the contractor to understand when to buy or rent heavy equipment to ensure that the project only gets what it needs. By determining the accurate equipment costs, the contractor, builder or project manager will manage expenditures well.

Whether the contractor chooses to buy or hire construction equipment, the tips below can help avoid unforeseen heavy machinery costs especially when it comes to hiring and buying cranes.

1. Consider Equipment Usage and Maintenance

What is the equipment for? Will you need it for long-term or short-term construction? If you will use the machinery for a long period of time, buying it will be a smart decision. However, you always have to conduct regular inspections and maintenance. This way, you ensure that the equipment will last longer, enough for you to gain back your investment.

One of the benefits of renting construction equipment is that you no longer have to worry about maintenance. All you have to focus on is to return the equipment in a good condition before the end of the rental period.

By weighing your maintenance needs and the length of usage, you’ll come up with the right decision on whether to buy or rent an equipment. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary costs that come with buying an equipment you don’t need for a long period.

2. Get a lower rental rate.

If you’re renting, remember that the crane rental company will take into account the present market and the machine’s availability. It’s also important to let the crane company know how you plan to use the equipment.

The key to getting a lower rental rate is to lease for a length of period that makes sense from the standpoint of a business. The longer you rent the equipment, the better rates you’ll get.

To get the best rental rates, make a schedule to anticipate when you will be using the equipment. For instance, if you have construction jobs that will take three months each with a two-month break in between, it’s better to rent the equipment for eight months. With this, you can also assure the availability of the machine.

To get a lower rental rate, you also have to check the crane hire company’s equipment repair and maintenance policies. Ask who will be responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the equipment while on rent. Mostly, the responsibility for all routine maintenance lies with the crane hire company. This includes filter and oil changes unless there’s an agreement ahead of time.

3. Have a contingency plan.

Beyond just machine maintenance, you also have to deal with the following items when renting heavy equipment.

● Before entering a rental agreement, check if there’s an insurance.

● Consider investing in wet hire instead of dry hire. This is safer especially for huge machines like tower cranes which require expert operators. Getting an expert crane service will help you ensure safety and lessen casualty costs.

Also, take note of the following final expenses you may incur when renting equipment:

● The cost of delivery and setup. If you need the crane company to haul the equipment back and forth to the job site, you will incur an extra fee for that.

● When you return the machine, the crane will be inspected for damage, and you’ll be paying for any necessary repairs.

● Unless you have rented a crane with an electric motor, you should return your rental unit with a full tank of fuel so as to avoid refueling charges.

4. Make training a priority.

When you choose to hire only the equipment, make sure that your people have the essential skill sets to handle machines. Poorly trained operators may damage equipment and cause delays in the construction project.

This is particularly true when cranes will be used for your project. Make sure that only an extensively trained and experienced remote crane operator manages the machine to minimize accidents and avoid incurring any extra costs.

When certified trainers teach your operators the proper use of equipment, you can ensure maximum safety and lessen casualties. The best rule of thumb is to allocate five percent of your payroll in training to guarantee employee efficiency.

Ensure project success

Equipment costs can eat up a large portion of the project budget, especially if no sufficient research was conducted prior to procurement. But smart procurement, proper maintenance and having competent operators can guarantee project success in the building, renovation and construction industries.

When managing a project regardless of its size, it pays to strive to make more informed choices. This way, you’ll be able to save costs, improve your project’s profit, and ensure project safety and quality.

Author’s Bio: Hermann Buchberger is the Founder and CEO of Active Crane Hire (ACH). He’s taken the company from start-up to industry leader offering the largest fleet of construction cranes in Australia. ACH launched a new type of crane previously unheard of in the Australian market: electric tower cranes. The company’s infrastructure and associated services now comprise a fleet of trucks and trailers, a crane-rigging team, mobile crane technicians, a fleet of service vehicles, and an extensive range of crane spare parts.

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