Whether you’re a new homeowner or are tackling a more involved and specialized lawn renovation project, you might be thinking of renting lawn care equipment. But there’s a lot to know about what types of equipment you can (and should) rent, and how you might be able to save some money on your lawn equipment rental.
I’ll cover everything you need to know in this article, including what to rent, what to skip, and how to save some of your hard earned cash.
Why Rent Instead of Buying
The cost of buying lawn care equipment quickly adds up, and one of the costs that isn’t often discussed is the amount of garage space you lose by owning extra lawn care equipment.
The last thing you want to do is to spend a fortune on the types of specialized lawn equipment that you will only use occasionally or seasonally. It’s not worth the cost, and it’s not worth losing the valuable storage space in your garage or shed.
Just a few of the pieces of lawn equipment that I suggest renting are:
- Core Aerators
- Walk-Behind Leaf Vacuums
In this guide, I will explore what you need to know about the different lawn equipment rental options you’ll have to choose from, what to choose, how to plan your work, and how to get the best value for your money.
Let’s get started.
Types of Lawn Care Equipment Available for Rent
Below is a list of types of lawn care equipment that most rental shops have available to you.
This includes rentals from big box stores like Home Depot, and local equipment rental companies.
- Trimmers and Edgers
- Sod Cutters
- Tools for Tree and Branch Removal
- Fence and Post Tools
- Lawn Conditioning Tools
Deciding whether it’s better to purchase or rent a piece of equipment should depend on how frequently you will use it.
For example, it’s usually necessary to own your lawn mower, so that you can use it once every week or two.
With equipment that you use only occasionally or seasonally, renting is often the best option. I aerate my yard every other year and consider a core aerator to be a vital tool for lawn care, but it’s still worth it for me to rent that machine instead of owning it.
I don’t want it taking up space in my garage only to use it every two years.
Tips for Saving Money on Rentals
There are three primary tips I can share to save money on your lawn equipment rental:
You can usually save money on lawn care rentals by renting at less-busy times. For example, you could try renting your equipment during the week instead of on a weekend.
Spring and Fall are typically the busiest times of year for these rentals as well, so if there’s a project that could be completed outside of these times of year, consider that.
If you’re renting a machine for the day but only need it for the morning, see if your neighbor across the street has interest in splitting the rental with you.
You can pick up the machine, use it in the morning, let him/her use it in the afternoon for half the cost and then bring it back at the end of the day. This way your property (and the one you look at all the time) both enjoy improved lawns and your rental costs half as much.
Pick It Up Yourself
Most equipment rental stores offer you the option of picking it up or having the equipment delivered. If you’re able to pick it up and drop it off yourself, that will save you some money, even if it costs you some time.
About Picking Up Your Lawn Rental Equipment
When you contact local stores that provide rentals, you can get extra information and advice on the equipment. They’ll even give guide you on how to proceed with your project.
When you contact each store, tell them about what it is that you need to do on your property and ask them what kinds of equipment they have available.
Most stores have knowledgeable staff who can guide you toward renting all of the equipment items you’ll need.
If you’re inexperienced with using lawn care equipment, make sure to spend extra time getting advice on how to use it correctly and safely.
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a new machine to your property and then not understanding how to turn it on (or off).
Follow the Rental Requirements
It’s essential that you find out the store hours, as well as its return policy and rental rates.
It’s important that you know how long you’ll need the equipment, as the amount of time it’s required will help you select the best rate options. You also must understand all the responsibilities you bear for the lawn equipment rental. For example, you may be required to hose off the machine and remove any grass, dirt, and debris in order to avoid extra charges.
Make sure that you purchase the extra rental insurance that should be offered. It’s easy to talk yourself into skipping this, but it is crucial for your protection in case anything happens to the equipment while it’s in your care.
Your responsibilities as a renter of lawn care equipment include:
- Using the equipment as specified
- Cleaning it after use
- Safely returning it on time
Failing to clean the equipment and return it in good shape means you’ll be subject to fines and extra fees that are easily avoided by planning ahead and understanding the rules.
Planning Out Your Project Day
In order to spend the least possible amount of money on your lawn equipment rental, make sure you’re using it the whole time you have it.
This means that you should thoroughly plan out your project day before picking up your equipment. And again, make sure you will have enough time to clean the equipment after use, before you return it.
Prep Your Yard For Work Ahead of Time
Prepare your property for work completely and gather all the supplies you need before picking up your equipment.
You don’t want to find yourself in a situation in which you’ve already picked up your rental equipment and then realize it will take another day or two to get your property ready for the work to do be done.
You’ll either end up having to rent the equipment longer or get hit with late fees.
This can cause a hefty cost increase, and it will stress you out and make the project less enjoyable.
Do your homework, plan ahead, and make a schedule. For example you can see a sample schedule for a big fall project weekend I use in this article.
Plan Your Work Requirements
Your goal is to be able to start your project’s work the moment you get home with your lawn equipment rental. There shouldn’t be any delay.
To decide how to plan out your project day and get your lawn ready, you need to consider all the requirements of what you want to accomplish, and what’s involved.
This will vary significantly among different projects, and I recommend budgeting for more time than you think. Build in some time to master the use of the equipment, especially if it’s your first time.
Again, you want to be able to enjoy the work, not stress out about the time all day and worry about finishing in time.
Lawn Equipment Rental In Use
Let’s take the example of lawn aeration and getting your lawn ready for using a rental core aerator.
You need to prepare your lawn for it to benefit from aeration. You need to give your lawn a thorough watering, about two days before you do your aeration.
Make sure to use a minimum of one inch of water on the lawn at that time. Use sprinklers or a garden hose like you usually would when watering, if you don’t have an irrigation system. Ensuring that the lawn has this thorough watering will facilitate the aerator’s proper penetration of the soil and ability to extract soil cores with ease.
If you have an irrigation system in your lawn, make sure to flag the heads of the system, as well as other difficult to see objects so that you don’t damage them (or the aerator) when you aerate your lawn.
Also, make sure that you’re planning to do your aeration during the right season. The most effective time each year to do aeration depends on your climate. I’m in New England and tackle this project in September every other year.
If you have cool-season grass (such as rye, bluegrass, or fescue), you should do aeration between August and October. During this time of year, your grass is coming out of dormancy and starting to go into active growth.
If you have warm-season grass (examples include Zoysia, Bermuda, and St. Augustine), you should aerate sometime between April and June.
Let’s Look at Another Example
Another example we can take a look at is renting sod cutters.
If you’re planning to purchase sod, and lay down some rolls of new turf, it’s best to rent your sod cutter 1-2 days before you will receive the sod delivery (depending upon the size of your project). This way you can cut all of your old turf out for removal and start to prep your lawn for the new sod installation.
After removing the sod you’ll need to till the soil (something else you might rent) to loosen the top layer and prep it to receive the roots of your fresh sod. After that, you may want to add some new topsoil and grade and level the space.
How long you expect all of this to take will determine when the best time to rent this equipment is, so you really need to plan ahead (and plan on each step taking longer than you expect).
Getting the Most From Your Lawn Equipment Rental (and lawn)
For many years people thought that lawn equipment rentals were only for contractors and professionals. Many homeowners felt they had to hire a pro for big projects like this.
But as lawn care has become mainstream and more people in the suburbs adopted the weekend warrior mindset, lawn equipment rentals dropped in price and they have become an amazing option for homeowners.
When renting your equipment, make sure you are fully aware of all the instructions on how to properly use the equipment, as well as your responsibilities and obligations as the renter.
Remember to buy extra rental insurance to protect yourself just in case anything goes sideways.
Bring down your costs as much as possible by being ready to start work as soon as you get your equipment home, renting at less popular times, and by splitting the cost by sharing the tools you’re renting with a neighbor.
Good luck with your project, and remember to take time to kick back with a cold one and enjoy your family on your lawn after your big project weekend!
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