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André Franques on: Safety and Why Rental Cranes are More Cost-Effective Than You Think!

by | Apr 9, 2024

When I first devised the liquid load testing method for offshore rental cranes, my first thought wasn’t of the money that could be saved by using water instead of transporting weights at great financial cost. In fact, my first thought was: if traditional weight testing only uses an up-and-down motion to test a crane’s load capacity; what about all the times the crane is moving in a 360 degree motion? It didn’t seem as safe as it could be. When I developed a system of using an inexpensive bag and filling it with readily available seawater, the substantial savings were essentially a pleasant side-effect. As long as I’ve been in the industry, I’ve always made safety my top priority. Expenses are never far from the top of my mind, but years of experience have taught me that few things can be more costly than overlooking safety—especially in industrial construction. Being safe isn’t just about protecting the well-being of those who entrust their safety to you; it’s also the best way to make sure your operating costs stay down in the long-term. There are few instances where this is more relevant than the world of cranes: a world with which I am very familiar. 

Thinking Long-Term 

When comparing the costs of purchasing a crane and renting one, there’s a lot more to consider than the cost of a purchase versus that of a rental. There are several extenuating circumstances that can add up in the long-term, particularly in the case of a purchase.

Naturally, the sticker shock that comes with purchasing a crane is self-evident and therefore requires no explanation. A crane is a big purchase for a project of any size, but many operators might think the cost up front will be worth the savings in the long-term. However, in most instances, that simply isn’t the case. In fact, long-term costs of owning a crane can exceed those of renting even without considering the substantial cost of the initial purchase. I have proven this case around the world.

Access to A Variety of Cranes

Consider this scenario: you’ve spent a significant amount of your budget on a crane and are ready to start reaping the benefits of crane ownership. However, only a few short weeks or months into enjoying it, you find yourself faced with a job that’s not appropriate for the specific crane you purchased. Contradicting the safe operating procedures of your crane is irresponsible and, of course, completely out of the question. Your budget doesn’t have any more room for another purchase and, in any case, would put you behind schedule. This is exactly the kind of scenario that can be avoided when renting instead of buying. 

Skilled, Licensed and Insured Operators 

Another expense that’s often overlooked when preparing to purchase a crane is the long-term cost of operators. Not only is the ongoing cost of an operator’s labor sometimes not factored into the cost of a crane, but also the cost of the operators’ certifications, licenses, and insurance. When renting a crane, these costs are all covered by the rental fee, and the crane’s operators will always be fully licensed, certified and insured, all delivered to our clients by one company. In short, the cost of renting a crane from a reputable company is unlikely to have any surprise costs down the line making budgeting simpler and costs lower in both the short and long term. This is being proven by our rental cranes, and crane operators today all over the world.    

Safety: First and Last 

The most significant consideration in the world of industrial crane supply is safety, but being as safe as possible need not be costly or time consuming. In fact, when renting a crane instead of purchasing, it can actually save time and money to be safe. Reputable crane rental services are full-service, meaning that they safely store, inspect, service and maintain the cranes they are responsible for, ensuring that the crane on your project will be ready-to-use with no time or money spent on regular inspections and maintenance. Liability insurance that is covered by the company responsible for the crane shows they/we put their money where their mouth is: the crane being rented is not only safe and up-to-date on inspection; it’s not the financial responsibility of the operator renting it. This is not the case for a purchased crane, and neither regular inspections nor service cannot be overlooked. The costs of the two can add up quickly. Today, here in the GOM, operators are faced with declining production properties which are referred to as “sunset properties” and the platform cranes that are now 30 years old or older or not worth reinvesting in for the operator. This means that rental cranes are their best and only solution for assisting P&A and decommissioning these properties. As a result, our 50 year business model is still striving today as it was when it was started back in the 1970’s. 

The Bottom Line 

While there are undeniable advantages to owning a crane as well, namely: flexibility of usage, forgoing the wait time for a rental crane and tax benefits. However, careful considerations should be made before committing to such a massive investment that could end up costing a lot more than anticipated in the long term. For more information, feel free to contact us at DLS Energy Services, here in the US, and or Thunder Cranes in Asia, for a more thorough evaluation of your project’s needs and what a rental crane can do for you.