Renting vs. Buying Construction Equipment: A Growing Trend

Tight lending conditions and lulls in development activity have led to contractors tightening their belts over recent years.


Tight lending conditions and lulls in development activity have led to contractors tightening their belts over recent years, and for many firms, that means renting construction equipment instead of buying. In 2013, equipment rental revenues increased 7% over 2012, reflecting economic recovery in the construction market and a growing preference for renting instead of buying.

Rental growth has outpaced that of the overall economy, and will continue to expand, according to data compiled by the American Rental Association. Nearly 40% of construction equipment used in the United States is rented rather than purchased, and that figure is expected to rise another 12% by the end of 2014.

Purchasing construction equipment often requires large down payments, diverting a large portion of a company's capital. Additional expenses associated with ownership include insurance, taxes, licensing, interest on loans and paying for a storage yard.

When renting, you pay only for the equipment you need, when you need it. Rental equipment contract periods make it easy to get the right equipment for the job for any length of time, from a day to a year, so you don’t invest in machines that will only see a short period of use. If business slows down, you can simply return unneeded equipment to the rental company.

When you own your equipment, you're responsible for hauling it from one jobsite to the next. Rental companies can get equipment to new worksites quickly and efficiently, using computerized maintenance programs and GPS systems to keep tabs on location, status and service needs.

Plus, rental companies upgrade their inventories on a regular basis, offering access to the newest and most advanced equipment, making it easy to keep up with changing EPA emissions standards. And when something goes wrong, they’ve got the tools and expertise to make it right again. United Rentals can quickly dispatch mechanics to fix malfunctioning equipment on-site, or send a replacement when you need one.

Need help choosing the right equipment for your project? Consult the experts at United Rentals at 1-800-UR-RENTS, or visit


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