Managed Tool Trailers Cut Tool Costs and Boost Productivity

Companies that right-size their tool inventory and monitor their tool usage can save big.

Tools have a way of going missing or walking off the worksite, and you pay the price in dollars and lost wrench time. What’s more, contractors often overestimate their tool needs, buying or renting tools that don’t get used (but may still get “lost”).

If you’re looking to cut waste and boost profits on your next large project, improved tool management by way of an onsite managed tool trailer is a good place to start.

Where are the tools?

With an onsite managed tool trailer from United Rentals, custom stocked for your project, workers know where to go for the tools they need, and those tools are guaranteed to be in good working order. If a tool is broken during use, United Rentals will swap it out immediately for a backup that’s already on-site.

Who’s got what?

Every time a worker comes to the tool trailer to pick up a tool or PPE consumable, a barcode is scanned, as is the worker’s ID badge. If an item goes missing, you know who took it and when. If someone needs a tool that’s on-site but not in the tool trailer, you can quickly track down who has it and determine if they still need it.

When the item is returned, the barcode is scanned again and the item is added back to the inventory list.

Without an inventory system, workers can hoard tools or be careless about returning them. A carpenter might hold onto a drill in case they need it again, or they may let someone else borrow it. Eventually, it could leave the worksite. Even if it doesn’t, nobody has any idea where it went, so it must be replaced. A managed tool trailer solves these problems.

Right-sizing your tool inventory

Especially for large projects, many contractors end up buying or renting more tools than they need, but they don’t realize it because they don’t track tool utilization. Companies also tend to acquire all the tools they think they’ll need for the entire project at the get-go, which is not always the most cost-effective approach.

United Rentals uses your craft curve and historical data from your previous projects, if available, along with utilization data from other customers with similar projects, to right-size your tool inventory from the start. The inventory is expanded during craft peaks and contracted when fewer tools are needed, so you always have both the right tools and the right number of tools.

Each month, customers receive a utilization report. If certain tools aren’t being used and aren’t immediately needed for the next project phase, you can return them and reduce your spend.

Preventing tool loss and hoarding also reduces the overall number of tools you need. When workers have unlimited access to tools, they often take a few extras because they can. A managed tool trailer eliminates the “candy store” mentality. It also lets you limit who can take out tools.

Boosting productivity

When workers having functional tools at their fingertips, productivity increases by an average of 23% and can increase as much as 32% according to Candice De Melo, United Rentals regional product development manager for managed services. That’s because workers don’t waste time hunting for the tools they need or dealing with broken tools.

Cutting costs

Companies typically save money by renting a managed tool trailer vs. renting and managing tools on their own. (And of course, renting avoids a capital expenditure, leaving more capital budget to spend elsewhere.)

One United Rentals refinery customer expected to spend more than $1 million on tools and consumables for a shutdown. United Rentals bid the managed tool trailer at $600,000. The actual tool costs were even lower because inventory was downsized at certain points during the project.

Another customer saved 32% of its tool budget, or $262,000, using the managed tool trailer and cut their typical tool loss rate of 50% down to 7%.

Managed tool trailers can be an untapped resource in your drive to make projects more productive and also more profitable. Often, a managed tool trailer from United Rentals pays for itself, and then some.


To rent a managed tool trailer or learn how one could benefit your next project, email us or call us at 833.347.6180.

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