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8 Tips for Renting a Skid Steer

skid steer

Whether you’re digging a basement, grinding stumps, or clearing away snow, skid steers can help you work quickly and efficiently. If you need a skid steer for a job, but don’t plan on using it on a regular basis, consider renting one. Renting is a great option if you don’t need the equipment long term, along with being more affordable than buying. If you’ve never rented heavy equipment, check out Equipment Trader’s eight tips for renting a skid steer.

1. Figure Out the Job

Skid steers can help with a number of projects, from construction to landscaping. Will you be demolishing drywall? Paving roadways? Digging foundation? Before you rent, you should figure out what kind of job you’ll be doing with the machine.

Skid steers come in different sizes—small, mid-size, and large—that have advantages for various tasks. For example, smaller skid steers are great for jobs in tight spaces, while larger models can tackle heavy-duty demolition, excavation, and roadwork. Mid-size skid steers are a versatile option that aren’t so large, but provide more power than smaller units.

You should also determine if you’ll need to rent any attachments for your skid steer. These small but mighty machines can be equipped with attachments, such as a bucket, rake, or fork, that will enhance your use of the skid steer for any task.

2. Create a Timeline

A timeline can help you map out how long you’ll be using the skid steer. If you plan to actively use the equipment for a few days, weeks, or months, it’s always better to add in some cushion time just in case there’s a delay on the worksite. Remember to also consider how long it will take to find and rent a unit, as well as get it to your jobsite.

3. Determine Your Budget

Once you know how you’ll use the equipment, decide how much you want to spend on your skid steer rental. It never hurts to do a little research on the current supply and demand for this machine. You should also factor into your budget potential extra costs and fees for renting the skid steer.

4. Compare Skid Steer Listings

When it’s time to start browsing for-rent skid steers, you’ll have a few options. You could check out the inventory directly from a nearby heavy equipment dealer. You could also compare listings on an online marketplace like Equipment Trader, featuring skid steers to rent from dealers locally and across the country.

Whichever you choose, you’ll want to do some research on the dealer. Online reviews of dealerships can provide peace of mind when renting their equipment.

5. Inspect the Skid Steer

Before you sign a rental agreement, take some time to inspect the skid steer. If you live near the dealership you’re considering renting from, you can do this in person. If you live farther away, ask the dealer for pictures of the machine and videos that show it in action. Read our previous article on inspecting used equipment for a breakdown of what to examine on the machinery.

Just like you want to be confident in the dealer you’re renting from, the same can be said for the rental equipment itself. Be sure to ask for the skid steer’s maintenance schedule and repair records to ensure that you’ll be renting a machine that’s been cared for and is certified for use.

6. Plan for Transporting the Skid Steer

You should devise a plan for how you’re going to transport your rental skid steer to the jobsite. Do you have a vehicle that can tow it and a trailer to load it on? Make sure your tow vehicle has the capacity to carry the weight of the equipment and any attachments. The trailer or flatbed truck should have a sturdy enough ramp to support the skid steer when you load it.

If you don’t have access to these vehicles, you can ask the dealer what transportation options they offer. A dealership might be able to drop off and pick up the skid steer to and from your jobsite during the time of your rental for an additional fee. You can also look into a third-party company to do the heavy lifting and hauling.

7. Review Your Rental Contract

When it’s time to sign the rental contract for your skid steer, make sure to read through it carefully. Your contract should breakdown all the costs associated with your rental. A few questions to ask include:

  • Do I need rental insurance?
  • Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance?
  • Who can operate the skid steer?
  • What are the billing policies?

Getting answers to these questions can help you fully understand the potential fees and risks that come with renting the equipment.

Before you leave the dealership, get the contact information for someone who would be able to help you if any questions or concerns arise during your rental period.

8. Make Sure Operators are Trained

Now that you have your skid steer, ensure that you or the machine’s operator are properly trained. Only certified operators who have taken a safety course in skid steer training should use the equipment while you’re renting it. If not, you could be in violation of your rental contract, which could make you liable for any damages.

Find equipment safety courses and operator training online, or ask the dealership if they offer any certifications.

If you have a short-term project that requires you to lift and move heavy material, look no farther than a skid steer rental. By following these tips, you’ll be able to properly plan, research, and secure your rental so you can get to work. When you’re ready to find a for-rent skid steer, begin your search on the nationwide online marketplace at


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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

Other Resources

5 Tips for Renting During an Inventory Shortage

To help navigate the market demand, Equipment Trader has five tips for renting during an inventory shortage.

8 Tips for Renting a Skid Steer

If you’ve never rented heavy equipment, check out Equipment Trader’s eight tips for renting a skid steer.

10 Tips for Renting a Tractor

Renting a tractor gives you a chance to try out new equipment before buying. Here are Equipment Trader’s 10 tips for renting a tractor.

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