Understanding Costs and Value When Renting a Crane

When renting a crane and comparing crane rental companies, costs always become part of the conversation. While the cost of renting a crane is only one factor to consider as you assess crane rental providers, understanding the variables that impact costs is important. However, keep in mind that not all crane companies are created equal. Make sure that you understand the scope of services, overall capabilities, and ease of doing business when comparing crane rental companies to ensure you’re getting the best overall value for your job site.

Coming up with a range of costs for a crane rental may sound easy. While cranes can be rented on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis, getting to ballpark pricing is difficult given all the complexities and factors that go into a crane rental and your job site. Outlined below are  factors that influence the price of renting a crane.

Factors That Influence Crane Rental Costs

variable costs of renting a crane include engineering services, rental duration, project management services, labor, type of crane and transportation.
Understanding Costs and Value When Renting a Crane

How much does renting a crane cost? While renting a crane may be cheaper than buying one, crane rental costs may vary for the following reasons.

Crane Type

Crane rental costs depend on the type, size, and configuration of the crane you need for your project. The lift weight and radius must both be considered to determine the best type, size and configuration crane for a given project.

Consulting a crane professional is always the best way to make sure you’re getting the right crane for the job. Given the variety of crane types, sizes, and configurations, it can be confusing to understand which crane and configuration works for your lift. Larger cranes may have higher lifting capacities and therefore can perform lifts below that lifting capacity, so you want to make sure that you don’t overpay for a large crane that can do your lift when a smaller, more cost efficient one will do. Crane experts like those at Maxim Crane can make sure you get the crane you need, not the crane that will do the job at a higher cost.

Labor Requirements

When renting a crane, consider the professionals you need to hire to operate your crane. You’ll need everything from transportation and logistics coordination to personnel to operate the crane and truck drivers to deliver the crane. You’ll also need qualified technicians to maintain the crane while it’s on the job site (i.e. oil changes, lubes, etc.) You’ll also need someone to coordinate the logistics of the job site as well. The amount of labor needed to properly execute a project can be overwhelming and it needs to be factored into the overall cost.

There are typically two types of crane rentals; bare rentals and operated and maintained rentals. When you choose a rental company like Maxim Crane, opting for the operated and maintained rental means that the company takes the work off your hands by coordinating transportation, assembly, and dismantlement; the hiring of certified operators and service personnel; and providing the necessary insurance coverage, which allows you to focus on other aspects of your job.

Choosing an operated and maintained rental eases several burdens and offers a turnkey solution for your crane rental. When comparing pricing for bare rentals vs. operated and maintained, consider the time and effort saved and the value created for your job site when you hire a crane rental company to do it all for you. Bare rentals, while more economical on the surface, leave you responsible for the coordination and management of licensed operators for the crane & providing the necessary insurance coverage. Once you add in those costs and consider the time you may spend hiring labor, an operated and maintained rental may become a more efficient choice.

Project Duration

The duration of time required for the crane to be on a job site also influences the cost of a crane rental. Some construction projects will need a crane for a small section of the work and may only require a few hours with the crane, while others need it for the entire project duration which could be years. Depending on your job demands, you can rent a crane:

  • Hourly
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly

A full-service crane rental company, like Maxim Crane, will consult with you to make recommendations based on your unique needs and the duration of your project

Transportation/Hauling Requirements

Getting the crane and all its parts from point A to point B can be complex, especially if you’re delivering multiple cranes and multiple loads to a job site. The number of truckloads required, state government permits, and distance traveled are all transportation-related items that impact the overall cost of a crane rental. Not to mention the personnel and logistical coordination needed to ensure the equipment is delivered correctly and on time. When comparing your crane rental options, keep transportation in mind and make sure the rental company you choose has the capability and expertise to manage the transportation aspect of the rental.

Crane rental providers, like Maxim Crane, with locations and equipment depots all over the United States can help share in the economies of scale of a national branch footprint, creating efficiencies and value that companies with smaller fleets and fewer locations can’t match.

Project Management Services

Once you rent a crane, it is helpful to have a project manager to advise from the beginning to the end of the project. Project management involves assisting in creating a site and logistics plan based on resources, budget, and timeline.

Involving a project management team from the crane rental company ensures timely delivery and assembly of the rented cranes, but not all crane rental companies provide this service. Consider the project management needs of your lift and consult with your crane rental provider on their capabilities to assist you with project management services. Some crane rental companies offer this service as part of the crane rental, while others offer it as an additional line item or simply don’t offer the service at all.

Engineering Services

Developing lift plans to ensure the safe operation of the crane and a successful lift is an invaluable tool. Engineering services from a crane rental company aim to improve operation safety, better productivity, and overall better planning for your project. Highly experienced engineers and engineering services offer peace of mind by helping develop lift plans specific to your job and working with sales, logistics, and service to make your lift that much more efficient.

Like project management services, some crane rental companies offer engineering services, and some don’t. While there may be additional costs associated with selecting engineering services for your lift, the value created by handing off this aspect of the lift is hard to put a price on. When comparing quotes, be sure to ask if engineering services are included in the price.

Popular Cranes to Consider

To figure out which crane would be most suitable for the job you’re looking to do, it’s important to know the types of cranes available. Fleet size becomes increasingly important when looking at the impact on costs. Companies with more varieties of cranes across a larger fleet have an edge in making sure the crane type you need is available when you need it. Depending on your lift requirements, your crane rental company may recommend one or more of the crane types listed below.

Tower Crane

Tower cranes are quite common on construction sites. They are mostly commonly used to lift building heavy materials and other supplies to heights that are unreachable for other lifting equipment or where space limitations do not allow a larger mobile crane.

The tower crane is fixed to the ground or set on a ballasted base for working heights up to about 250’.  For taller projects, the tower can be tied to the structure and climbed to final heights in excess of 1,000’.  Lifting capacities vary from small self-erecting models that pick a couple tons to large models capable of lifting 50+ tons. Tower cranes frequently require multiple truckloads for delivery, additional cranes to build them on the job site, and tend to be on a job site for months rather than weeks or days. These factors play into the overall cost of the tower crane rental.

Crawler Crane

With a lifting capacity of up to 2,500 tons, the crawler crane is the most suitable for super-heavy weight lifting. You’ll mostly find crawler cranes on commercial construction sites as well as industries like renewable energy building wind turbines or in the energy sector at various factories and plants around the country as well as petrol and chemical facilities.

Crawler cranes vary in size and can come with dozens of components including various boom sizes, jibs as well as counterweights which often require many truckloads to deliver and occasionally additional cranes to assemble on the job site. Additionally, the lifting surface typically needs to be prepared for a crawler crane and may require a “dance floor” to be constructed. This dance floor is a constructed platform that further solidifies the ground where the crane will sit.

The cost of a crawler crane varies widely based on the items noted above. A crane rental company like Maxim Crane will consult with you from start to finish to help you select the best crawler crane option for your job.

Carry Deck Crane

Carry Deck cranes are light mobile cranes that have a rated lift capacity of 8 to 25 tons. These smaller cranes are primarily used in industrial plants, but also have applications in bridge building and other general infrastructure construction. Typically rented for hours or days, carry decks are transported via semi-truck and are used to complete lighter and less complex lifts. Consider the need for transportation when comparing carry deck crane rentals.

Hydraulic Truck Crane

Hydraulic Truck cranes can be used for both short-term and long-term projects. At Maxim Crane, the hydraulic truck cranes have rated lift capacities ranging from 40 to 100 tons. These cranes have over-the-road capabilities, making the transportation of hydraulic truck cranes easier. However, there may be additional loads required for booms, jibs, counterweights, and other components of the crane required for your lift. Again, logistics coordination will play a role in the cost of a hydraulic truck crane rental.

All-Terrain Crane

All-terrain cranes offer the most versatility when it comes to delivery of the crane as well as the terrain it can be used on. It offers superior off-road maneuverability and speeds of up to 55 miles per hour on highways, which reduces the costs associated with freight and transportation. It provides a great blend of power and precision with a lifting capacity of between 40 and 1,000 tons and can reach 500 feet.

Like other cranes, truckloads may be required for the delivery of additional crane components like booms, jibs, and counterweights. However, the over-the-road capabilities combined with the lifting capacity of the all-terrain crane may be a more economical choice for your job depending on the requirements.

Rough Terrain Crane

The standard truck-mounted cranes aren’t suited for extremely rugged terrain. An excellent alternative is the rough terrain crane, ideal for all forms of off-road use. It has several features to ensure it is worthy of handling these sturdy construction project conditions.

Rough terrain cranes are mounted on four rubber tires to enable high ground clearance. It has an outrigger, a wide wheelbase, and tires to enhance stability. Rough terrain cranes feature power steering and all-wheel drive for improved off-road handling. The load capacity for most rough terrain cranes is a range from 30 to 165 tons, which makes these cranes suitable for many uses in a large variety of industries.

Unlike all-terrain or hydraulic truck cranes, rough terrain cranes and any additional components are transported via semi-truck to the job site. Transportation and logistics may have an impact on the costs of renting a rough terrain crane.

Why Renting a Crane Is the Best Option?

Despite all the factors that go into crane rental pricing, renting a crane along with additional services may be less expensive than owning a crane outright, especially over the long-term. This is especially true when you take maintenance and repairs over the life of the machine into consideration.

Also, purchasing a crane means that you’re limited to its specifications and capacities. Each crane has specific functions, so you can’t use it for lifting on a variety of projects — you can only use it on projects it’s designed to tackle. That huge investment may be hard to justify.

By renting a crane, you can get the type that meets your specific needs on any project. To keep operational expenses low, consider renting cranes for specific jobs only when you need them. You’ll escape the stress of owning and operating a crane.

Search For Value from Your Crane Rental Provider

With all the variables that go into crane rental rates, you’ll need to engage a reliable rental company that can advise you on the appropriate crane for your project, advise on the requirements of your lift, and plan logistics accordingly. A company like Maxim Crane Works specializes in the rental of cranes and heavy lift equipment, including rough terrain cranes, tower cranes, crawler cranes, hydraulic truck cranes, and other conventional truck cranes.

As a one-stop-shop company, we also provide a turn-key solution, offering project management, engineering, maintenance, and heavy haul services in one company and through a local single point of contact, so that you can focus on managing other aspects of your project.

Reach out to us today for a smooth crane operation on your next project.

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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