One key concern regarding warranties for equipment rental is equipment reliability. The warranty should spell out the consequences if the equipment is unusable, either because safety features are missing or inoperative because of mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic malfunction. The warranty should define the amount of time it will take to get a replacement, the rental agency's liability for substandard performance, and available discounts for lost time.
Any illegal activity, including exceeding the capacity of the equipment during use, violating codes and ordinances, using it in an unsafe manner, or using an untrained operator, will automatically void the warranty and might lead to other penalties and fines.
In addition to these issues, managers also can ask these questions to ensure a productive experience:
The willingness to provide this information can indicate the rental agency has a good record-keeping system, which lessens the probability of unsafe operation.
Finally, the rental contract should clearly spell out payment issues: any security deposits and their due date; payment schedule during the rental period; penalties for late payment; the party responsible for paying fees, assessments and taxes; and the party responsible for paying for maintenance and repairs during the rental period.
Note that all of these payment issues refer to the rental period. It is essential to agree on the start and end of the rental period. Does it start when the equipment leaves the rental depot or when it arrives at the job site? Often, transportation time is included in the rental period, so it is important to have a clear understanding of this point and to ensure no delays occur in transporting the rental equipment if the rental period includes transportation time.
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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