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The Hazards of Local Truck Renting

4X4 Truck Rental Posted by Chuck Hooker, Director of Sales on November 14, 2014

If your business has to bid for work, or has project-based vehicle needs, the best way to beat the competition is with lower overhead costs and greater operating efficiencies. One approach to achieve those objectives is to use a truck rental provider to fill your project-based requirements. The question is how to choose between the local provider and a commercial fleet rental company in order to achieve the benefits you know are there.

Local providers might look like the most convenient option, but for many “hard use” commercial renters local rental companies are not prepared for your kind of use and will bite you in the end. Remember not everything that says ‘commercial’ or ‘heavy duty’ actually is. This is also true with rental 4x4 pickup trucks. Whether you own them or rent them, you need the right vehicle to get the job done. If you need specialized vehicles with practical, off-road capabilities, that can be used in remote locations, and will be returned with commercial levels of wear and tear, a local offering is not going to serve your needs. Instead you should be looking at national B2B commercial rental companies that know how you will use the vehicles that you are renting.

The Right Tools for the Job, On Time, Where You Need Them:


Let’s say that you have been awarded a construction job at a remote location. You’re looking for quick access to reliable, ¾ ton or 1 ton diesel pickups or diesel crew cab pickup trucks (an industry best pick). Among the first and biggest issues you’re going to run into are finding the right trucks for the job, getting them to the job site, and getting them there on time.

Chances are, the right trucks simply aren’t carried by many local rental locations. Most carry stripped down ½ ton trucks (which are cheaper for them to own) that are probably not matched to your hauling and off road needs. They might appeal to you with a cheap price to overcome the objection that your real vehicle needs are not available in their fleet. But watch out. Using the wrong truck for the job, say a ½ ton when a ¾ ton is called for, can cause breakdowns, accidents, and/or penalties on return. Ask yourself: Do they know what I need or are they relying on me (and my field hands) to live within the capabilities of the truck they forced on me? 

Conversely, nationwide commercial 4x4 rental companies are specialized to understand how to match your use to the vehicles you need. They’re going to get you the right vehicle every time. Plus, the right vehicle has the right tires, the right suspension, and the right hauling capacities. What’s more, the right vehicle is equipped for the heavy-duty, off-road use that you’re going to put it through. You simply won’t find that in a local offering.

Restrictions on Off-Road Use, Read the Fine Print:

A surprising but telling fact is that most sports utility vehicles, Jeeps, and other 4X4 trucks rarely spend any time off-road. In fact, some analysts claim that over 90% of all 4x4 vehicles never leave a paved road their entire life; 4x4 is a fashion statement except for commercial users like you. Most local offerings have ‘fine print’ that includes heavy restrictions on off-road use, even on vehicles that carry ‘4x4’ and ‘off-road’ decals. The hardest workout they will get is during a snowstorm. Sounds crazy right? Why is this?

The quick answer is that most of us like to appear rugged, but never actually have occasion to intentionally go off-road. Manufacturers save costs by not building most trucks to a specification that is beyond the likely use. The important lesson is that when you take a truck beyond its capabilities, you’re going to wind up with damage. A local rental company is likely to charge you for the cost to repair that damage, maybe more. With a specialized company, this is avoided because your use is understood and the trucks you get are built for hard duty off-road use. In the local scene, you will be hit with big fees for this “excess” wear and tear, but a specialized company will never punish you or charge you extra for using the vehicles as you need to.

Limiting “Lazy” Assets:

Let's say you regularly bid great jobs in remote areas, requiring you to send manpower and tools out into the field. Sometimes you get the bid and sometimes you don’t, but you need to be ready to start at a moment’s notice once the bid is awarded. This means that you need to have trucks sitting in a yard waiting. Those trucks depreciate every month and need routine maintenance - regardless of whether you’re on the job or just waiting. When trucks are ‘just waiting’ they are lazy assets. Worse still, they are attractive to your staff for personal use since they’re just sitting there… right? 

For all these reasons, the use of project based short-term rentals is the best match for the job because vehicles you rent are only ‘on the payroll’ when they are producing revenue from a job. When you factor in maintenance, tires, oil changes, shipping, insurance, depreciation and personal use, most businesses find that unless you're ‘on the job’ use of a truck is over 90%, renting is much less expensive than ownership.  With a specialized rental company, all you have to do is call them up, have the trucks delivered, and give the keys back when you're finished.

Amazing Customer Service:

National rental companies are in the business of building ongoing relationships based on a keen awareness that your reputation for getting to and getting around the jobsite on time is their reputation. Simply, they shine only if they help you shine. Where a local rental company has only a few trucks and are often looking to make a quick one time sale, specialized rental companies are built around the idea that you will use them regularly and often. They understand your need for a cost effective, off-road transportation solution. This leads to a long-term relationship based on great service rather than a single quick exchange of money.

A specialized company that you’ve formed a relationship with understands your company and its needs. With the right rental company, you will never send your workers to a roadless site only to find out that your local rental company has upgraded your vehicles to convertibles, just because a counter agent thought you were a VIP. They will deliver the right vehicles, to the right location, at the right time. Every time.

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