Tracking Equipment Maintenance for Your Contracting Business

It seems like every time you start a project, something else breaks. Equipment is expensive, and whether you rent or buy, you still need to ensure that everything you have is ready for use. Equipment maintenance takes time and doesn’t bring in the big bucks, but there are plenty of good reasons to make it happen. Here are a few tips to understand why regular maintenance is important, and how you can set a reasonable schedule to track it.


Make Maintenance a Priority
When you get into the busy season, it can be difficult to imagine having spare time for equipment maintenance. You may be running almost nonstop from dawn until dusk, and you need those tools and machines sometimes on a daily basis. Paradoxically, this is why upkeep is so important. If you can’t think of giving a day toward maintenance, you definitely can’t afford to lose the machine for a week or more. If you’re running on tight margins, paying out for repairs will cut into your bottom line much more than scheduled upkeep. When you make it a priority in the first place, you can avoid the bigger issues that cut into your project timelines.

Document Your Equipment Upkeep Needs
You probably keep some kind of inventory for supplies. Your equipment needs the same level of attention. Tracking the state of your assets is a good business practice, no matter what industry you’re in. If you don’t have a lot of equipment, you might wonder what is the point of documenting the fact that you have a drill. The benefit of documentation is that you know what you have, and you can make a plan to maintain it from there. Write down:

  • all of the equipment you own for your business, including administrative tools
  • when you bought it
  • how long it should last with good care
  • frequency of upkeep
  • the last time you maintained it

This will give you a single point of reference for planning.

Research Maintenance for Rented Equipment
With such a robust market for equipment rentals, you may not have much owned equipment at all. You still have to keep track of it. Rented equipment can save you a lot of money, but only if the tools are in good shape. When you research rentals, follow up with the company to find out when the tool or machine was last maintained. If you’re keeping the equipment for a longer duration, find out if upkeep is part of the service, or if you’re on the hook to do it before you return it. If a company can’t show you how often they attend to their inventory, look elsewhere.

Balance Work and Downtime
It can be tempting to do it all at once, but you need to find a balance. Try to schedule major maintenance, upgrades or repairs for the slow season, usually winter. Otherwise, book a small amount of time each month to inspect your equipment. If you have to send something away for maintenance, mark it as unavailable in your inventory. It’s not a bad idea to build some redundancy in the system, particularly for smaller items. If you have a bunch of hand tools that run on batteries, make sure you have enough batteries to go around.  

Make Equipment Maintenance Efficient
Since asset management applies to almost any business, there are a ton of tracking programs available. If you have an app or software for your inventory, it may have classifications to help you manage your equipment as well. Many systems also let you track how you use tools. You can set up a system that uses barcodes that your employees can scan every time they pick up a piece of equipment. This will help you track which tools are getting used more often, which may indicate a need for inspection more frequently. It can also make it easier to identify when a piece of equipment is having problems, because people aren’t using it as often as they should.

Equipment maintenance is important for your business success, even if it feels like something you can put off. Making it a priority helps you finish projects and avoid expensive repairs. To start building your career in construction, contact CSLS today!

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