Equipment Tracking Database Helps Rental Companies Take Control of Assets


If you own a tool and equipment rental business and routinely check-in and check-out items, an equipment tracking database can make your operations and your life considerably easier.

Equipment check-in and check out may seem like a pretty straightforward business, but poor tracking procedures can make it a frustrating exercise. Smaller tool and equipment rental companies, in particular, may assume that they need little more than a sign-in/sign-out sheet for keeping track of the whereabouts of the very lifeblood of their business. Unfortunately, that assumption is short-sighted. It won’t be long before an item isn’t logged out, whether intentionally or not. That tool or piece of equipment, in turn, may be lost or simply fall through the cracks, and the company may have no way of ever tracking it down.

Rental Equipment at Higher Risk for Theft

According to Indianapolis-based McAllister Rentals, rental equipment has an even higher risk of theft than owned equipment, and it makes up 30 percent of all construction equipment in the United States. Whether it’s rented or owned, heavy equipment is an attractive target for would-be thieves, earning them an average of approximately $29,000 for every piece they steal. 

Another important point to consider is that manual asset tracking doesn’t capture all of the other data that are relevant to the lifecycle of a fixed asset. An item’s maintenance history, its warranty, insurance policy, lease/purchase information, and depreciation, among other information, all should be tracked and easily accessible to business owners.

Database Delivers Numerous Benefits

The advantages of an equipment tracking database begin immediately. Tool and equipment rental companies know how many fixed assets they own, where those assets are located, and who has them. These audits are vital for the health of the business; they enable managers to get a baseline on what the company has and where the gaps are so they can budget and make other adjustments accordingly.

An equipment tracking database also monitors how equipment and tools are being used – specifically, how often those items are used, who uses them, and when and where those items are being used. Having all of that information in hand also enables business owners to make budgetary decisions based on accurate, real-time conditions versus guesswork, which can result in duplication and waste.

The database provides a 20,000-foot view, so to speak, so business owners can determine (based on analysis of usage patterns) how they should divide assets among their respective locations. If one location is running short on a particular fixed asset and another location has that asset sitting idle, the manager can arrange for a transfer instead of purchasing an expensive new tool or piece of equipment. If they’re expecting a seasonal fluctuation in demand, they can prepare for it by identifying where there may be available inventory.

The ongoing preventive maintenance on all equipment has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and company reputation. An equipment tracking database helps tool and equipment rental companies keep up with maintenance, allowing them to establish custom notifications and alerts so they never miss service dates and keep their equipment in good and safe working order. Additionally, business owners can examine any asset’s complete maintenance history to determine whether an item with an extensive repair history should be replaced.

From a check-in/check-out standpoint, the database saves employees the hassle of tracking down lost equipment. A unique barcode assigned to each fixed asset, in conjunction with the equipment tracking database, identifies the item’s exact location within seconds, along with the identity of the person who has it and its expected return date.


Courtney Roush

Courtney Roush is a freelance writer, editor, and communications strategist with 25 years of experience. Her favorite discipline is crisis communications – and it’s a highly relevant one in our present times.

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