Crane Rental Options—Bare Rental vs. Operated & Maintained

A crane at sunset

If you need heavy lifting services, one of the first things to consider is whether to do a bare rental or an operated and maintained rental. With a bare rental, your crane rental provider will only rent you the crane itself. If you’re looking for a comprehensive package of services, including labor and maintenance for your crane rental, then an operated and maintained rental will be the best fit. Here is a look at what is required for both crane rental options and the pros and cons:

Crane Rental Options: Bare Rental vs. Operated and Maintained 

Before you rent, understand the differences between bare rentals and operated and maintained rentals. 

Crane rental - Bare rental vs operated and maintained
Crane rental - Bare rental vs operated and maintained

What is a Bare Rental Agreement? 

In a bare rental, your crane rental provider will ONLY provide the crane for rent. In this type of rental, all additional expenses related to labor, maintenance, and repairs fall on you, the customer. That means you would be responsible for hiring certified operators and performing oil changes and other maintenance work while the crane is in your possession.

What is an Operated and Maintained Rental Agreement? 

In an Operated and Maintained rental, rental companies will rent the crane and handle set-up, transportation, insurance, and other components of the operation. By taking this approach, you can let the crane provider manage the crane from start to finish.

At a glance, a bare rental may seem less expensive. However, there are many factors to consider when deciding to rent a crane; some carry added expenses that may offset the savings. After considering every variable, companies may determine that an operated and maintained crane rental is better. 

What’s Required for a Bare Crane Rental?

While bare crane rental can be a more straightforward approach in that it sources only the crane, there are still several steps you must complete along the way. When you apply for your bare rental, here are some of the requirements to consider:

  • A credit check will be performed to ensure reliability. 
  • A rental agreement will be written to establish all terms and conditions. 
  • There are Insurance requirements that need to be met by the renter. Additionally, a certificate of insurance must also be provided.

What to Prepare For 

Choosing the bare crane rental option requires you to independently manage all other aspects of crane operation. That can have many moving parts, so you should ensure your business has all the resources to manage your rented crane effectively. These are a few of the things you’ll need to prepare for: 


Obtaining a crane and an operator can be challenging, especially when looking for skilled labor, including certified crane operators. Begin your search as soon as you become aware of your project need. Not only must you find an operator certified to use a crane and experienced enough to handle your application, but some types of cranes may be unavailable at the time of your need, so that you may be placed on a waiting list.  


 Depending on the application, some cranes can be driven on highways, while others may need to be hauled to the job site. If they are large enough, some cranes may need to be assembled onsite. In these cases, the provider will not only charge you to rent the crane for the job site but also for using the “assist cranes” needed to assemble and disassemble the crane. The user will have to plan and pay for these extras with a bare rental. 


Cranes must be adequately insured before renting them, and you must provide proof of insurance before the rental can happen. The exact insurance coverage requirements are likely to vary by provider, but some standard coverages include: 

  • Boom damage to protect from operator error or environmental conditions. 
  • Overloading, in case excessively heavy loads are inadvertently lifted.
  • Land subsidence to protect against treacherous terrains.
  • Additional coverage for potential catastrophes like sinkholes or earthquakes. 

At Maxim Crane, we require general liability, property, casualty, workers’ compensation, and an umbrella policy waiver of subrogation.   

Because of the number of risks and possible expense of any damage, it is generally recommended that bare crane rental be chosen only if the job site is very safe. In either case, the insurance capabilities of each insurer can vary, so be sure to speak with your agent to determine the exact coverages and limits of your insurance.  

What’s Required for an Operated and Maintained Crane Rental?

Unlike the bare rental, the operated and maintained crane rental option offers a more hands-off approach in terms of the renter’s overall management of the crane rental. In this model, the crane rental company will provide and manage all the labor needed to run the crane and complete the project. 

Although the provider will handle all crane-related tasks under this model, you must still execute a contract, commonly referred to as an Operated and Maintained Agreement. The exact details will vary by company and region. Typically, the sales department will have a signed quote that stipulates the financial obligations placed upon the renter, delivery dates, terms and conditions, and the scope of the services provided.

4 Tips to Follow Before Hiring a Crane Rental Company

1. Research for Reputation 

Before entering any crane rental agreement, it is critical to ensure that you engage with a legitimate provider. There are essential selection factors to consider when evaluating your rental options, including: 

  • National footprint to ensure they can meet your rental needs across the country. 
  • Size of the employee base to ensure the team is large enough to complete the job.
  • Number and certification of operators, so qualified personnel will run the crane correctly.
  • Fleet size, so you will not be placed on a waiting list due to lack of crane availability.
  • Project scope to see how they have handled jobs of a similar magnitude before. 
  • Transportation management, so your crane can be delivered intact and on time.
  • Heavy haul management if an extra-large crane is needed.  
  • Safety practices like training minimize the risk of an injury.

Inquire about additional features as you research each crane rental company’s services. For example, at Maxim Crane, we offer project management services to help our clients create a site and logistics plan based on their budget, resources, and timeline. We also provide engineering services to further assist with all phases of crane use, making the job much more efficient for all. 

Working with any equipment provider is a big commitment when a project is on the line, so thorough research is critical before any work begins. Once you have done your homework, it is best to choose a crane rental company that offers you a comprehensive array of end-to-end services, is established y as an industry leader and has the team and resources to guide you every step of the way. That way, you will have the crane your site needs to make the project a success. 

2. Understand Your Insurance Obligations

Whether you opt for bare rental or operated and maintained; it’s critical to know what type of insurance coverage is required for your crane. Because different crane providers require different coverage elements, you will need to know whether casualty, boom damage, or other types of coverage must be included in your insurance plan.

3. Understand the Contract Before Signing Anything

As with any contract, it is essential to read and fully understand your crane rental agreement before signing any official documents. There can be many terms and conditions in a crane rental agreement, so read each line carefully and feel free to ask questions about each party’s responsibility if anything is unclear. You may also wish to consult your legal department if necessary. 

4. Fully Document the Equipment’s Condition Upon Rental and Return 

Whether it is a vehicle or a piece of equipment, no rental agreement should be entered without a thorough inspection of the item’s condition — and the same is true for cranes. Before receiving your crane, it is essential to take careful stock of each subsystem to ensure it is appropriately certified and inspected. 

Crane Rental Options: Pros and Cons  

There are quite a few parameters to account for when choosing the crane rental option that is best for your project, so here is a recap of the benefits and drawbacks of each: 

Bare crane rental only rents out the crane, which is usually more cost-effective upfront. However, after the operation, transportation, assembly, and maintenance expenses are factored in, it may not save as much as initially thought. Generally, this option is best for teams that are well-equipped to handle the cranes themselves and have a very safe environment that poses minimal risk of damage. 

Operated and maintained adds the cost of labor to the crane rental. Although including labor increases the overall cost of the rental, you may save in the long run when you consider having to manage to find the operator and labor yourself. 

Whichever option you choose, you should conduct thorough research to ensure your crane supplier is reputable and carefully familiarize yourself with each provider’s contract and insurance requirements. 

Maxim Crane: Rental Options for Every Need

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to renting a crane, as choosing the right option depends mainly on the application and project requirements. At Maxim Crane, we have a vast fleet of cranes with all the capabilities you need for that heavy lift. We back it up with an experienced team of engineering experts who will go the extra mile to ensure your crane project stands tall. We offer both bare rental and operated and maintained options and additional services designed to make your project run according to spec. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Disclaimer Statement:

We hope you found this article informative. Our content is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute advice or necessarily reflect the range of services Maxim Crane Works, LP provides. Readers should not act upon this information without first seeking assistance from a qualified industry professional. For crane recommendations for your specific project, consider speaking with one of our sales professionals. Although we attempt to ensure that postings on our blog are complete and accurate, we assume no responsibility for their completeness or accuracy.


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