Managing Rental Equipment Agreements

Operator training on rental equipment is necessary to ensure safety, and it is a small price to pay to avoid accidents and injuries.

By Thomas A. Westerkamp, contributing writer  

In the above example, management sees the job through to an economical and efficient completion with detailed preparation and tactics, as well as complete resources known and planned for in advance. The job of lifting 15 beams onto a roof can be done in three hours with professionally trained management and workers, each with clear, detailed assignments based on their job responsibilities. 

The same attention to accessories applies to any job. Selecting resources such as the primary equipment – a skid steer, for example – is only the beginning of planning the work. The right attachments that meet the task’s demands are equally important. The skid steer and mini-skid steer can accommodate more than 50 attachments, from augurs to 12-inch tree cutters. With the appropriate equipment and accessories, a job that might take days if done manually or with the wrong equipment selection can be completed in a few hours. 

Managers also now can rely on 3D lift plans of the area to show access to the roof in terms of load, height and reach. This technology saves a great deal of time by allowing technicians to visualize the access points, as well as overhead and underground obstructions, to make the job go smoother, more safely, and at lower cost with no unexpected delays. 

Contracts, costs and training  

The agreement between the lessor — the equipment owner — and the lessee — the person or company renting the equipment — contains detailed specifications of the equipment, conditions of use, maintenance and separate insurance coverage if not provided by the lessor. The lessor writes the agreement, and the lessee must go over it in detail and sign it to ensure full and complete understanding. 

Failure to do this could result in the lessor showing up unannounced and taking possession of the equipment while the lessor must keep paying the rent when due for the life of the agreement. Any violation of the terms of the agreement can be costly to the lessee. A violation such as using the equipment for a purpose not intended can be the cause of repossession. 

Rolling and rotating equipment rental checklists are a useful tool for the lessee to evaluate the equipment for good appearance, maintenance and operating condition. Examples of items included are safety devices, tires, hydraulics, engine spark plugs and cab controls. Since the lessor will do the same when the equipment is returned, the checklist is an effective way to document the condition when received by the lessee. Any deficiencies are noted and resolved by the lessor or documented if minor body damage so the lessee will not be charged. 

Operator training on any piece of rental equipment is necessary to ensure safety, and it is a small price to pay to avoid accidents and injuries. The more attention managers pay to training, the safer and better executed the job will be. 

The scope of the training should include training for the operator, the maintenance technician, supervisory staff and management. Manufacturers, lessors, consultants and government organizations offer training programs. The lessee might have enough demand for training to have an in-house training department that covers new equipment training, training for new employees, and updated training to reinforce previous training. 

If the jobs are forecast annually, all rental equipment — generators, aerial lifts, digging and grading equipment and grounds equipment — can be rented in seasonal groups and scheduled to reduce costs. This equipment — as well as special tools, such as welders, chainsaws, pressure washers, floor strippers, augers and pipe tools, to name a few — have mechanical advantages that can make them more productive than manual methods. 

Laws covering equipment rental training vary by state. Lessors might not be allowed to rent equipment unless the lessee has been trained for that specific equipment. Good equipment rental practice includes checking with state codes to ensure training programs meet these requirements. 

Operating equipment over 26,000 pounds might require a commercial driver’s license. Federal departments provide training through approved training programs, and they provide grants for training to non-profit organizations. 

Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC. 

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  posted on 11/10/2022   Article Use Policy

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