The days of visiting your local dealer to hire hand tools, lifting equipment or industrial machines are numbered. Instead, companies and individuals can simply head online to find the highest quality tools at the cheapest rates, supplemented with great service guarantees. What is more, every company, service and tool come with a catalogue of unbiased reviews, meaning you or your firm can quickly search and select exactly the right equipment for your need.

Whether you are trade or just a DIY enthusiast, there are certainly great deals to be found if you know where and how to look. By searching smart, avoiding certain pitfalls and knowing a bargain when you see one there is plenty of money to be saved. Here’s a five step guide to doing just that.

A Guide To Online Equipment and Tool Hire

Let’s be honest, the first thing on most people’s lists of criteria when it comes to equipment hire is cost. ‘Where can I get what I want for the lowest price?’ There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach; after all, we all want a bargain. It is important to be sure, however, that you are comparing like for like.

Most equipment hire companies will not openly display their prices, which is to be expected, especially when no two jobs are the same. Typically, a firm will request you submit a job description or a brief summary of how long you wish to hire the equipment for and perhaps the type of work you plan on doing with it.

Don’t be afraid to request prices from a number of hire companies as they do not place any obligation on you to actually go through with the rental. Once you have several quotations, you can compare each for value for money along.

  • Reviews and Testimonials

Price isn’t everything though, and as mentioned, it is important to be sure you compare like for like quotations. This doesn’t just mean comparing the same tools or similar brands, it should also include finding out exactly what type of service you can expect from the rental company – something that was once very difficult to do.

Fortunately, the internet allows you to find client testimonials and reviews for almost every company in the country. Use it to your advantage. Before hiring equipment from any company, be sure to check for reviews via search engines and review sites. Go further than simply reading the testimonials they place on their own site as these are naturally going to reflect favourably on the firm.

Moreover, check reviews for the individual pieces of equipment you plan to hire. This will give you an idea of which brands and models are most suitable for your specific job.

  • Brand Quality

On a similar note, it is important to compare several different brands of tool or equipment for quality and value for money. In some fields, individual brands stand out as industry leaders, whereas in others the competition is fiercer. Speak to colleagues, clients and search the web to find out the best brands to use.

Be aware that the biggest names may not necessarily produce the best tools and that a tool’s quality is not always reflected in how well known its manufacturer is. In some industries, niche tool makers often produce the most suitable and effective tools for specific jobs.

Most good equipment hire companies will actually offer a range of leading brands. Take a look at as an example.

  • The Sharing Economy

For individuals and small companies, an affordable alternative to using a traditional hire company may be to partake in the sharing economy. Peer to peer rental sites have revolutionised the way individuals lend and borrow tools, expanding your network of potential lenders from your next door neighbour and your dad to anyone within a drivable radius.

The fees associated with peer to peer lending are naturally far lower, although be prepared to put up with less than perfect tool-to-job matches and, in some cases, lower quality tools. Not all equipment is available on such a basis too; whilst you might be able to borrow a power drill from Mr. Jones, who lives on the other side of town, he is unlikely to be able to lend you a JCB.

  • Warranty and Insurance

Finally, whether you use peer to peer lending or a traditional rental site, ensure you have adequate cover and insurance for you and the tool. It is important to be absolutely clear who has responsibility for the tools upkeep and maintenance whilst it is in your possession and who will be responsible for footing the bill should something go wrong.