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FAQs About Renting A Crane For The First Time

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Cranes are not cheap. And on most construction projects, you really only need a crane for a day or a few days. As such, it's not usually beneficial for a construction company to buy their own crane unless they are tackling a large volume of projects that require one. This is why the crane rental industry has become so important. Companies rent out cranes, often by the day or week. Renting a crane when needed is much more affordable than buying and maintaining one of your own — but you may have a few questions before you rent for the first time. 

Who will operate the crane?

If you have someone on your team who is trained and licensed to operate a crane, then the rental company will typically allow them to do so. (You may be asked to show proof of this person's license and certifications when making arrangements for the rental.) But if you don't have a licensed crane operator on your crew, that's just fine. Most, if not all, crane rental companies are willing to send an operator with the crane, if needed. You will pay a bit more for this than you would to simply rent the equipment. But at the end of the day, for one fee, you are getting not only a crane but the work performed by a licensed crane operator.

Do rental companies need to visit the site?

Sometimes a crane rental company will send a representative to the construction site prior to renting out the crane. This is usually done if you're requesting an operator along with the crane. It is a chance for the rental company to assess the work that needs to be done and estimate how long it will take. This way, they can charge you more accurately.

If you are simply renting the crane for a certain number of days without an operator, most companies won't need to visit the site prior to the rental. There are some exceptions, though. If they are worried about access and want to be sure they know where to drop the crane off, they may come out beforehand to assess the layout of your construction site.

Who supplies the rigging for the crane?

It's usually the rental company's responsibility to supply the rigging for the crane. This includes web slings, rope slinks, hooks, and shackles. Often, a company will send you a list of the rigging included with your crane rental. You can review this list, and if there is anything additional you think you might need, you can arrange to have it added. Most crane rental companies want you to use their rigging and not rigging you buy elsewhere, as they cannot guarantee rigging purchased elsewhere is compatible with their crane.

What happens if you need the crane longer than initially planned?

It's really common for construction projects to be delayed or to take longer than was assumed. Crane rental companies know this, and they typically structure their contracts to allow for this flexibility. For example, if you arrange to rent a crane for three days, your contract may specify that you have the option of extending the rental for up to an additional three days for an extra fee. The crane will eventually need to go back so it can be rented out to someone else, though, so you still want to stay on-schedule as much as possible.

Renting a crane, as needed, is almost always a better choice than buying one. If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to ask a crane rental company in your area.