If you're planning to rent construction equipment, and you figure the lease is going to be just like all the others you've signed, you need to take time to really read the lease you're about to get. That fine print is there for a reason, and it's not to simply look official. The lease can make or break your company's budget, especially if something goes wrong, so you and the rental company need to be on the same page (no pun intended) to ensure the rental is satisfactory to everyone.
Find the indemnification language in the lease. It's fairly common for leases to say that the renter will not hold the rental company or the equipment owner liable for problems, but the way the clause is worded can really trip you up if you aren't careful. Look at who you're supposed to hold free of liability and under what conditions. For example, your lease might state that the rental company won't be liable for costs associated with injury from neglected equipment. That's not necessarily bad (especially if you were the one neglecting to maintain the equipment while it was in your possession), but it does change what you can do should a problem occur.
What Exactly Is a Month?
You would think that the rental term would be one of the easier parts of the lease to deal with, but it can be tricky as well. Find out if the rental is for a calendar month or only a certain number of weeks (in other words, you wouldn't get the equipment for a full calendar month). Are there provisions for returning the equipment a day late or so if the end date falls on a Sunday or holiday? By what time does the equipment have to be returned? These are details that are easy to overlook before signing the lease.
Another part of the lease is a bit tricky because it's not completely paper-based. You have to remember to inspect the entire piece of equipment before agreeing to sign the lease. Every ding, every chip has to be recorded. A good rental company will give you time to do this. (If you get someone who keeps trying to convince you that something is minor and doesn't need to be recorded, find another rental company.) Look at the tire tread depth as well, if there is a tread requirement when you return the equipment.
Start looking now for your equipment so you have the time to read the lease before you need to use the machinery. Good rental companies will be able to provide you with a sample lease.