Check your pickup before picking up

By JimRental
This is a topic we came upon the other day while talking with Ted at Johnson Creek Rentals, one of OpenRental's partners. Ted’s a young guy, but in a way, an old-timer -- he began as a yard guy, then worked the counter, and now is running the shop.

Ted's an easygoing guy who really welcomes every customer. But over the years he's learned that there's one thing that gets things fired up at the rental counter -- whether a customer’s truck and trailer are hefty enough to haul the equipment the customer wants to rent.

“We want to do everything we can to make a customer's project go well, and go safely. But there are times when a customer brings in a truck and trailer to haul equipment to their worksite, and we just can't let it go out," Ted says.

"We try to sort things out ahead of time when a customer makes the reservation and says they'll pick the equipment up themselves -- we can be flexible on a lot of things, but that's just not one of them. There are safety issues for the customer, and if there were a bad accident involving under-spec'd equipment, our insurance wouldn't cover it. So it's pretty much non-negotiable, no matter how much weight a customer says they hauled the day before."

“When a customer rolls in with equipment that's too light, we can provide a trailer that's suitable, but if the truck isn't big enough, we have to say 'sorry, you'll have to come back with a bigger truck' -- and believe me, no one is every happy when that happens. But we can't budge an inch on it,” Ted explains.
Pretty much all rental yards have similar set rules. So if you plan to tow something like a Dingo mini-loader or mini-excavator, you need a full-size half-ton truck. If your trailer is too light, you can rent one for fifteen bucks a day. Larger equipment requires at least three-quarter ton vehicle.

"It's simple. Bigger trucks have bigger brakes," Ted says. "Even a passenger car can pull a heavy trailer out of the lot, but when it comes to slowing down that load and stopping safely, you're in a world of trouble."

As for SUVs, “A lot of them look like trucks and act like trucks, but they’re on a quarter-ton frame, which is OK for hauling a small trailer with a sod cutter or big rototiller, but not anything larger.”

Plus, a frame-mounted hitch is mandatory on any vehicle towing equipment out of Johnson Creek.

If your trailer doesn’t have a manufacturer’s plate with a sufficient load rating, do yourself a favor - leave it at home and rent a trailer from the rental yard -- most rental shops won't let you leave your trailer at their yard.
The big picture: If you plan to self-deliver heavy equipment, check with the rental shop beforehand to make sure your equipment meets their safety and towing requirements!