9 Steps To Take When Renting Tools
Sure as the swallows make their annual return to San Juan Capistrano, we, along with tens of thousands of “tool types” make our yearly trek to the National Hardware Show in Chicago to revel in latest and greatest in nuts, bolts, gadgets, gizmos and power tools. We especially like the power tools. To say that we feel right at home or are “in our element” would gross understatements. A more apt description would be “like a couple of kids in a candy store.”
Although the show abounds with traditional tools such as drills, saws and sanders, there is no shortage of more specialized tools such as chain saws, power snakes, pressure washers, air compressors, generators and rototillers. Argh, Argh, Argh! Can’t get enough of those tools.
While the former can be found in most workshops or tool sheds, finding the latter (sometimes “ladder”) is more rare. Why are most people more likely to have a driver/drill than a rototiller? There are many reasons.
The most obvious is need. More people can find things to do with a driver/drill than larger, more sophisticated tools. A rototiller may come in handy during the annual spring planting season, but may remain idle the balance of the year.
There are other less obvious reasons such as cost (purchase and maintenance), storage space and even an “intimidation factor.”
For example, it doesn’t make sense for someone to spend a bunch of money on an extension ladder that will only be used every three to five years when it’s time to paint the house. And while a pressure washer might be a marvelous tool to have, an above-average or top-of-the-line model can, for some, be a sizable investment that will never yield dividends. Worse yet, in this day and age of precious storage space, the device will only serve to make an already crowded workshop, garage or storage shed that much less “workable.” Other people are simply intimated by the size and complexity of some tools and would rather have the work that requires such a tool performed by a pro.
Tool rental can be just the answer for folks who don’t have the budget, space or frequent needs associated with tool ownership. It can also be a more affordable means of overcoming “tool intimidation.”
A trip to your local tool rental store will reveal an army of hand tools and power equipment that can usually satisfy virtually any short-term tool or equipment need. Short term is the key here. Most tools can be rented by the hour, half-day, day, week or longer. Keeping a tool for a period longer than you need it can wrack-up rental fees that are more than it would otherwise cost you to buy the tool brand new. By the same token, if you find yourself renting a particular tool often enough, it usually makes better sense to buy it.
If you have never rented a tool or consider yourself a novice, there are some steps that you can take that can make your rental experience a pleasant one.
1. Plan ahead. Time is money in the tool rental business. Be ready to use the tool when you get it home. Many a rental dollar has gone down the drain sitting idle while other tasks are being performed in preparation for its use.
2. “Don’t send a boy to do a man’s job.” Many people tend to “under tool” (choosing a tool that isn’t powerful enough to perform a given task). By doing this they are “shooting themselves in the foot.” An inadequate tool will take longer, which will stress out both your back and your pocket book and will often result in damage to the tool – more stress. When in doubt, get more horsepower than you need – call in the cavalry.
3. Before leaving the rental store, have someone qualified completely explain how to safely and effectively operate the tool or equipment.
4. If you will be renting a gas-powered tool or piece of equipment, make certain that the gas tank is full and there is adequate motor oil. Inquire as to the type of fuel required and whether the fuel must be mixed with oil and, is so, at what ratio. Moreover, if you don’t own a gas can most rental yards will include one at no charge or for a modest fee. Some yards are equipped with fuel pumps and will sell you extra fuel in advance. Running out of fuel can blow your tool rental budget.
5. Safety first. Always have the necessary safety equipment when operating a tool. Gloves, safety goggles and earplugs are almost always a must.
6. Don’t forget accessories. A floor sander isn’t much good without sandpaper. Most tool rental yards will sell accessories that are used with their equipment such as sandpaper, saw blades and cleaning products (as in the case of a carpet cleaner). Always get more than you need and return the excess for credit. This can save big time on running around and eating up precious rental dollars. When renting a saw always get plenty of blades. A dull blade isn’t safe and makes the work twice as hard.
7. Buy the “Damage Waiver Fee” (DWF) – it’s good insurance. The DWF can protect you from costly repair bills should the equipment become damaged or require replacement.
8. Avoid extra charges by returning the equipment and accessories in a neat and clean condition.
9. If you don’t have a truck or other means of getting larger equipment home and back, some companies will include free delivery within a certain distance. Be sure to check if delivery is available and what the cost is before borrowing a friend’s truck. The delivery fee may be a lot less of a hassle.
Remember to be safe, have fun and be careful not to plow down your neighbor’s hedge with that riding mower you rented.
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