A Complete Skid Steer Rental Guide

A skid steer is a dynamic, compact, versatile machine. A skid steer rental can make your projects more productive and efficient, provided you know how to rent a skid steer for the intended purpose. With the right skid steer price guide, you and your team can provide quality and efficient services, confident that you have the best equipment for your industry and unique project needs. 

What to Know About Skid Steer Rentals

Minimizing costs and boosting efficiency are primary considerations whenever you begin a project. Although primarily used for digging and hauling, skid steers are versatile — using a single machine to perform varied functions reduces rental costs. It also boosts productivity, one of the reasons skid steers are so popular across different industries. 

Functions a skid steer can complete include earthmoving, construction, material handling and more.

Some of the functions a skid steer can complete include: 

  • Earthmoving: Skid steers are compact yet powerful machines, making them ideal for residential and commercial earthmoving and landscaping applications. Attachments like wood chippers, trenches and stump grinders make them suitable for landscaping projects. 
  • Construction: A skid steer is perfect for working in tight spaces on construction sites, performing tasks like mixing cement, milling pavements and transporting materials. 
  • Material handling: Skid steers’ advanced maneuverability and efficient lifting capabilities make transporting materials around job sites safe and convenient. 
  • Snow clearing: Skid steers can clear snow even with a standard bucket, although snowblade and blower attachments can expedite the process. 
  • Drilling and trenching: Skid steers can create precise trenches and drill holes for fences, tree planting and utilities with specialized attachments. 

The Benefits of Skid Steer Rentals

Deadlines are critical in landscaping and construction. Renting a skid steer can boost your project efficiency, providing your team with the following benefits: 

  • Practicality: Skid steers are relatively small compared to other heavy equipment rentals. However, they are still powerful enough to complete various tasks in congested areas or tight spaces. 
  • Safety and visibility: Skid steers lack the bulkiness of other equipment, giving operators a better line of sight and improving safety on your job site. This visibility also results in precise and efficient work, improving overall project quality. 
  • Cost-effectiveness: Skid steer rentals are fuel-efficient and easy to transport, reducing overall costs. Reliable rental partners also deliver and collect your equipment, making the process more convenient. 
  • Adaptability: A selection of attachments means using a skid steer to complete various tasks, streamlining your workflow and reducing downtime. 
  • Ease of use: Skid steers are easy to operate, with intuitive joystick controls and unobstructed driver seat access. These machines also offer excellent maneuverability, turning in a tight radius to work in confined spaces. 

Types of Skid Steers

Skid steers come in many shapes and sizes to suit your unique job requirements. Rated operating capacity (ROC) and frame size can increase your project efficiency when matched with the project’s size and scope. Despite these differences, skid steers come in two lift types — vertical and radial.

  • Vertical lift: This skid steer keeps the load close to the machine throughout the lift path. It has a more complex linkage system and multiple pivot points, giving you more reach and versatility. Vertical lifts are perfect for material handling, stacking, loading and drilling. 
  • Radial lift: A radial lift skid steer has an arm on the rear that pivots, extending upwards and outwards. These machines have the best mid-range reach, making them ideal for tasks at or below eye level, such as digging, pushing, loading, backfilling and grading.
Types of skid steers include vertical lift and radial lift

Renting vs. Buying: A Strategic Decision

Cost savings are always paramount when running a construction or landscaping business. Whether to rent or buy is a big decision, with more considerations than the cost. Buying a skid steer means you can use the machine whenever you need it, and it’s an investment in your business — but it’s a significant financial commitment. If you’re completing specialized tasks, using the machine sparingly or need the latest technology to be effective, renting may be a better option.

Renting a skid steer has significant benefits, from accessing the latest technology to bearing no responsibility for storage and maintenance. You can save money using innovative features to increase productivity and precision on every job. A rental is also an excellent option if you work at various locations. Many rental partners offer on-site rentals, taking care of the transport so you can rent from the site. If you’re considering purchasing a skid steer, a long-term skid steer rental allows you to familiarize yourself with the equipment before you commit to an investment.

Many organizations choose to rent skid steers to benefit from the cost savings. You can enjoy considerable savings depending on the frequency and duration of your projects. However, choosing the right rental provider is essential. A reputable rental partner prioritizes customer service, giving you the following advantages:

  • Guidance and expertise: A reputable rental company has a team of experts who assess your needs and ensure your rented equipment is up to the task. They’re available to answer questions and troubleshoot if your equipment fails.
  • Reliable equipment: Your rental partner should maintain and clean all equipment when it returns from a job so you can rent confidently, knowing experienced technicians have inspected and cleared it for work.
  • Access to a broad equipment selection: Choosing a rental partner that offers a wide range of equipment means you can get all the gear you need in one place. They will keep updating their selection so you can access the latest features to streamline your workflow.

Choosing the Right Skid Steer for Your Project

The right tools significantly impact construction project success, and skid steers are no exception. With many skid steer models available, making the wrong choice can slow you down and increase project expenses.

The first rule of skid steer rentals is to choose a machine that meets your project needs. The terrain, type of project, lifting needs and environment all influence your final decision.

Some principal considerations when choosing a skid steer include:

Size Your Skid Steer

Skid steer size is the most critical consideration for any project. The skid steer’s size depends on the site and job requirements. Finding the right skid steer requires balancing a machine that fits in the available space with enough horsepower and ROC to lift the necessary materials. 

A skid steer too small for your project can be dangerous, as overloading can push it past its tipping point. It will also be less cost-effective, using more fuel and making more trips to complete the same task. Conversely, if your machine is too large, it may not fit in the available space or damage the ground. You’ll also pay for horsepower and lifting capacity you don’t need.

Factor fo choosing skid steer size include operating capacity, weight, and lifting needs

Keep the following factors in mind:

  • Rated operating capacity: ROC outlines how much weight a skid steer can carry without reaching its tipping point. The higher the ROC, the higher the engine output and the more advanced the hydraulic system. 
  • Weight and size: Skid steer frames can be small, medium and large. Large frames often have the highest ROC, while small frames are compact enough for urban construction and landscaping applications. 
  • Lifting needs: Consider whether a radial or vertical lift frame is better suited to your project, as this aspect affects skid steer balance.

Match the Equipment With the Project

Aside from size, your skid steer choice must align with other project elements, including: 

  • Terrain: Your skid steer rental must remain safe and functional regardless of the terrain. Wheeled skid steers are excellent for flat surfaces or minimizing damage. Tracked models are ideal for soft or uneven terrain. 
  • Operator comfort: Traditional skid steers operate via levers and foot pedals, while more modern versions have joystick controls, which are more comfortable for most drivers.

Customize Your Skid Steer With Attachments

A skid steer can perform numerous tasks with the proper attachment. Most skid steer attachments are designed to be universal, and you can use adaptors to make your rental more convenient.

  • Buckets: A bucket is one of the most common skid steer attachments, and they come in various sizes to suit many material handling tasks.
  • Trenchers: With this attachment, you can dig holes for footings, drainage ditches or utility lines. 
  • Backhoes: Your skid steer can double up as a backhoe loader so that you can complete numerous additional landscaping and construction tasks.
  • Grapples: This attachment is invaluable in earthmoving applications, able to grip and move rocks, rubble and other debris. Some have tines for pulling roots and stumps in land clearing, while others secure and move large materials. 
  • Brooms: A broom attachment makes site cleanup more convenient. Many come with adjustable bristles to suit various materials.
  • Augers: An auger makes drilling holes for trees, fence posts and footings easy. 

One of the many benefits of renting a skid steer is that you can customize your machine and attachments for each project. Your rental partner can provide customized attachments, boosting task-specific efficiency. Your team will be able to work confidently, and with the right equipment, you can expect improved productivity.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Skid Steer?

A massive 78% of construction projects go over budget, and earthmoving accounts for 20% of a project’s total expenditure. Skid steer rental price is one of the most crucial elements of every project. Your specific rental cost will depend on several factors.

Earthmoving accounts for 20% of a project's total expenditure

Although it’s always best to discuss your project requirements and budget with a trusted rental partner, some of the following factors may affect your rental pricing:

  • Project timeline: Consider how long you need a skid steer for your project. Monthly or weekly skid steer rentals are more cost-effective than renting by the day, so discuss longer-term options with your rental partner.
  • Skid steer size and type: Although large, powerful skid steers can complete some projects faster, they often come with additional fuel costs and are more expensive to rent. Find a balance between power and expenses to maximize your budget. The type of skid steer you need can also affect your rental costs. Tracked skid steers are more expensive than wheeled models, for example.
  • Location: Your rental provider will deliver and collect your equipment. The price for this service may change depending on your project location. 
  • Attachments: Project-specific attachments like wood chippers and snow blowers may come at additional cost. You may need to rent them separately, so discussing this with your rental partner is best. 
  • Fuel: You are responsible for the fuel costs during your rental period. Consider how much fuel you’ll need for your project and factor the amount into your budget. 
  • Operator training: Operators may need training to get familiar with the equipment. A reliable rental provider will train your team on the rented equipment to boost project safety and efficiency. 

Rental Agreements and Insurance Explained

When you rent a skid steer, your rental partner will ask you to sign an agreement and provide information about your project, including: 

  • The job site address
  • Company and contact information
  • Payment options

Each rental company has a different rental agreement. Review yours carefully and ask questions focusing on insurance, servicing and billing. Always prioritize transparency and fairness in your rental agreement and work with a convenient, ethical service partner. 

Many rental partners want proof of your rental equipment insurance to proceed with your rental, covering you and them in case of a job site accident or theft. A rental protection plan provides complete equipment protection and no out-of-pocket repair costs for covered stolen or damaged gear. 

Skid Steer Rental FAQ

Finding the right skid steer can be complex, but the following answers to these commonly asked questions can provide some clarity:

How Much Does a Skid Steer Weigh? 

A skid steer’s operating weight with a full fuel tank, operator and attachments can range between 3,000 and 10,000 pounds.

Do You Need a License to Operate a Skid Steer?

While no law mandates licensing to operate a skid steer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s general safety and health provisions require operator training. Employers are required to train their operators so they can recognize and avoid safety hazards. 

Are Skid Steers Safe?

Operating heavy equipment comes with a degree of risk. However, 20% of skid steer injuries and fatalities directly result from operators bypassing built-in safety features. When you choose the appropriate skid steer for the job, train your operators and leverage skid steer safety features, you mitigate many risks.

What Attachments Can You Put on a Skid Steer?

Skid steers are compatible with hundreds of attachments. You can use almost all attachments with the correct adaptor, provided they are not too heavy.

Are You Liable for Damage or Theft of Your Rented Skid Steer?

A liability damage waiver does not cover accidental loss or damage to your rented skid steer. However, a rental protection plan can save you thousands of dollars. All you need to do is open a police report or explain how the damage occurred and you’re covered.

Trust Herc Rentals for All Your Skid Steer Rental Needs

Trust Herc Rentals for all your skid steer rental needs

Renting the perfect skid steer for your next job involves a set of checks and balances to boost project efficiency and profitability. Working with a reliable rental partner makes your skid steer rental easy so that you can focus on deadlines and high-quality work. At Herc Rentals, we believe rentals should be convenient. Our team handles logistics, delivers and collects equipment, and provides comprehensive safety training.

We have all the expertise and gear you need to keep your project running safely. Our rental equipment undergoes thorough inspections and maintenance after every rental so that you can work with confidence. Browse our extensive selection of trusted skid steer brands or contact us for more information on your next rental today.

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