Renting Equipment

rjk512

LawnSite Member
Location
Connecticut
Hi...

As I said in my thread on the "Introduce Yourself" forum, I'm a high school student starting to do landscaping as a high school job, slowly easing into it over the next few months hopefully. I've done plenty of work with friends with more established companies as well as family.

I have a question that could probably be answered by many on here... Regarding renting construction/landscaping equipment. A friend of mine rented a mini excavator yesterday for his house that we used to backfill and level a trench as well as take out a few stumps. The whole idea of him renting the machine and us getting the job done with so much ease really peaked my interest. Because I am still a student and don't have a huge fully established company, let alone lots of cash to make an investment on such a machine, renting or borrowing are my two really legitimate options.

So, I have a question for those who have had to rent equipment such as backhoes and mini excavators (or whatever the case may be) - How do you guys charge the customer for having to rent such machines? When quoting the job out, do you tell them then and there that you're going to need the machine and that they have to pay for the rental fee, do you split it two ways, or do you just incorporate it into the price you give them and not say anything? What's the best way to do this?

Any answers/feedback or discussion on the topic is welcome. I'm just looking for ideas/input.

Thanks.
 

wbw

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
houston tx
If you are providing the customer with a lump sum bid (Ex. I will furnish and install plants a, b and c for $X) then it is not going to be a line item in your bid that they will ever see. If you a bidding time and materials (Ex. 4 plant A's at $227 each, 2 plant B's at $192 and 6 plant C's at $207 plus 16 hours labor at $28 per hour and equipment rental of $502. Sub-total $3384 plus 15% profit and overhead equals Total $3891.60
Posted via Mobile Device
 

Ditta&Sons

LawnSite Bronze Member
I include the rental price plus markup (for time to pickup and return, legwork of calling and securing equipment, having the available credit for deposit) in the estimate. I may mention that I have to rent a machine, I may not). I dont think you should ever split the cost though, youre not having the work done, the client is. This is a business expense that you need to be fully reimbursed for.
 

Barnabas

LawnSite Member
If you owned the machine your price would need to reflect machine usage to maintain/replace the machine. No different if you rent it or own it. Just factor it into the cost of the job and bid accordingly.
 
And to add to that, before you start thinking about renting heavy equipment, in a lot of states you have to have a heavy equipment license to rent certain equipment. Not to mention there is almost always a deposit, a washing fee if you don't get it clean, they might even charge you $50.00 in labor for filling up the gas tank. ;) Why not start small? Nothing at all against you being a student and jumping into landscaping. I think it will build good work ethics, but always remember you have to learn to crawl before you walk. If your asking how to charge for renting heavy equipment, I would start with the smaller stuff in the field and learn as you go. You lose less money if you bid wrong on planting plants, a few small tree's, or laying mulch. Like I said, nothing against you trying to learn I'm totally with you on hat and trying to learn more by the day myself. Despite all I've already learned, I still wouldn't jump into heavy equipment jobs and lose my butt because I didn't know how to bid it or made a simple mistake.
 
OP
R

rjk512

LawnSite Member
Location
Connecticut
If you are providing the customer with a lump sum bid (Ex. I will furnish and install plants a, b and c for $X) then it is not going to be a line item in your bid that they will ever see. If you a bidding time and materials (Ex. 4 plant A's at $227 each, 2 plant B's at $192 and 6 plant C's at $207 plus 16 hours labor at $28 per hour and equipment rental of $502. Sub-total $3384 plus 15% profit and overhead equals Total $3891.60
Posted via Mobile Device

I see what you mean. The issue I had with just throwing out the number and that's it was if I give said client a price, and it's 300 more than the other guy because of the equipment rental, they might just think I'm trying to nail them for more. But if it's broken down into time and materials then I see how it could be incorporated. Thanks for the answer, that's really exactly what I wanted to know about that part.

I include the rental price plus markup (for time to pickup and return, legwork of calling and securing equipment, having the available credit for deposit) in the estimate. I may mention that I have to rent a machine, I may not). I dont think you should ever split the cost though, youre not having the work done, the client is. This is a business expense that you need to be fully reimbursed for.

Splitting the cost was an idea I was just pondering and wasn't necessarily sure if it was a common practice or not. It seems that it is more reasonable in a situation where the job COULD be done by hand, let's say, but is just that much easier with the machine. So sort of a need versus want sort of situation.

If you owned the machine your price would need to reflect machine usage to maintain/replace the machine. No different if you rent it or own it. Just factor it into the cost of the job and bid accordingly.

OK. Makes sense. Thank you.

And to add to that, before you start thinking about renting heavy equipment, in a lot of states you have to have a heavy equipment license to rent certain equipment. Not to mention there is almost always a deposit, a washing fee if you don't get it clean, they might even charge you $50.00 in labor for filling up the gas tank. ;) Why not start small? Nothing at all against you being a student and jumping into landscaping. I think it will build good work ethics, but always remember you have to learn to crawl before you walk. If your asking how to charge for renting heavy equipment, I would start with the smaller stuff in the field and learn as you go. You lose less money if you bid wrong on planting plants, a few small tree's, or laying mulch. Like I said, nothing against you trying to learn I'm totally with you on hat and trying to learn more by the day myself. Despite all I've already learned, I still wouldn't jump into heavy equipment jobs and lose my butt because I didn't know how to bid it or made a simple mistake.

Thanks for the reply and the kind words.

Just to clarify - by heavy equipment, I'm not talking about a full sized backhoe or anything like that (As much as I'd like to be). I'm talking about equipment such as compact sized utility tractors (JD 2000/3000 series if you know what I mean) with the mini loader/backhoe functionalities. The reason I thought of this was because I was doing some work with a friend at his house a few days ago and they rented one of those really small track excavator things from the local Home Depot.

And on top of that, I'm not going into jobs expecting to rent tractors or other machines. I posted this to just get some ideas as to what I would need to do if I determined that it was absolutely necessary or was practical in the given situation.
 

shane-pa

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
emporium, pa
I just finished a patio. I had to rent a plate tamper because I don't have one. The nearest rental place is 30 miles away. In the estimate, I added the cost of the tamper, the time, and gas. I put this under labor.

Specialty equipment like aerators, tampers, jackhammers, etc. I rent because I don't see the need to buy yet.

The rental place won't rent heavy equipment to anyone under 18. You must have insurance to haul equipment if for personal use or business insurance for commercial use.
 

PaperCutter

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Northern VA
Splitting the cost was an idea I was just pondering and wasn't necessarily sure if it was a common practice or not. It seems that it is more reasonable in a situation where the job COULD be done by hand, let's say, but is just that much easier with the machine. So sort of a need versus want sort of situation.

Put yourself in the customer's shoes. If I'm hiring you I have better things to worry about than how you're getting the job done. You can strip sod off a front lawn with a sodcutter and a tractor with a rake, or you can throw five guys with pickaxes and flat shovels at it. If the price is fair and competitive, I'll hire you. But if bringing in a piece of equipment as a want vs a need puts your price out of line, you're not getting the job.
 

recycledsole

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
MD
You don't need to tell them you are renting it.
If it costs $200 to rent for the day + $160 to deliver and pick up, consider that into your bids.
 
OP
R

rjk512

LawnSite Member
Location
Connecticut
I just finished a patio. I had to rent a plate tamper because I don't have one. The nearest rental place is 30 miles away. In the estimate, I added the cost of the tamper, the time, and gas. I put this under labor.

Specialty equipment like aerators, tampers, jackhammers, etc. I rent because I don't see the need to buy yet.

The rental place won't rent heavy equipment to anyone under 18. You must have insurance to haul equipment if for personal use or business insurance for commercial use.

That's exactly why I don't buy some of the specialty equipment - I don't use it on a regular basis like the equipment I do own and I can't justify the investment. Easier to rent per use.

Put yourself in the customer's shoes. If I'm hiring you I have better things to worry about than how you're getting the job done. You can strip sod off a front lawn with a sodcutter and a tractor with a rake, or you can throw five guys with pickaxes and flat shovels at it. If the price is fair and competitive, I'll hire you. But if bringing in a piece of equipment as a want vs a need puts your price out of line, you're not getting the job.

From what everyone's told me and my personal opinions I think what it all comes down to is if renting the machine is worth it to cut the labor costs of however many guys doing it by hand. And like you said, if you were to throw in the cost of the equipment without actually needing it that's what would really offset the bid.
 

Top Forums



Top