Concrete road-building jobs aren’t simple undertakings. They have layers of work—from roadside safety and traffic management to breaking up old roads and recycling the concrete to repairing bridges and medians. Each job either requires specialty equipment or could be done more efficiently with it.

Specialty equipment is just that—special. When a contractor needs an ultra-specific piece of equipment for an out-of-the-ordinary project or unusually challenging task, renting rather than buying that equipment may be the less demanding path to take. For contractors who bid on work outside of their normal areas of expertise, renting specialized equipment is also one way to make the numbers pencil out.

In this article, three manufacturers share the ins, outs, and necessities behind renting highly specialized, niche equipment.

For one job only

Buying an optimized, specialty product for an atypical project usually lacks fiscal sense; hence the booming rental market. Remote-controlled demolition machines made by Brokk Inc. are one example of unconventional equipment.

Such machines may be ideal, for example, in a road construction or bridge repair project where a contractor might find a need for remote operation. Crew members might be working in the confined space between the embankment and the underside of a bridge. Or they could be performing concrete crushing, breaking, or digging from dangerous positions such as beneath the bridge or near the edges. Or maybe work needs to be done next to active traffic in a narrow, 6-foot lane where maneuverability is an issue. In these situations, a mini-excavator may be too large, not powerful enough, or put operators in danger.

“Contractors may not encounter these circumstances every day, but when they do, it’s a huge benefit to be able to rent for a week or two and get the job done in the most efficient, safest way possible,” says Peter Bigwood, vice president of sales and marketing at Brokk.

The same can be said for E-Z Drill horizontal concrete drills, designed to meet the strict highway specifications for standard spacing of dowel bars. Drilling these holes by hand with a rotary drill is a lengthy process, not to mention physically demanding and risky.

“For a contractor who lands a job that requires many holes to drill, E-Z Drills are a faster and safer alternative, and they never get tired,” says Randy Stevens, vice president of sales at E-Z Drill Inc.

Test-driving products

“Giving customers the flexibility to rent equipment gives them a feel for the machine and an idea of the impact it has on their production,” says Sean Donaghy, national sales manager at IROCK Crushers. This way, those who truly need a short-term rental can get their job done, and those interested in investing in a unit can demo the equipment.

Donaghy says rentals are on the rise. One of the manufacturer’s current dealers has 14 IROCK machines consistently out on rental jobs. The RDS-20 closed-circuit crushing and screening plant is one of the most common IROCK products rented, usually by companies that need to complete asphalt or concrete recycling. Other contractors rent the company’s Wheeled Jaw Crusher-2844 and pair it with a screener sized appropriately to the operation.

While the machines occasionally go out to the smaller contractor or road construction crew, they often land in the hands of a quarry owner or recycling operator who wants to try them before committing to a purchase.