By Nathan Medcalf
Weather events can wreck construction sites and timelines. In fact, many contractors lament it is the leading cause of project delays.
Inclement weather can create unsafe working conditions, damage equipment, delay material deliveries, block jobsite access points, move materials, deposit debris and lead to potential legal issues. And these obstacles can extend project timelines, waste time and materials, and increase construction costs.
Even when contractors do everything right when it comes to planning for weather events and mitigating their effects, severe or inclement weather can cause unforeseen delays.
Severe weather events and natural disasters have become more frequent and intense. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were an average of 520 natural catastrophes per year between 1989 and 2018. In 2019, there were 820 of them — a nearly 60 percent increase from the average over the past three decades.
Weather events can increase construction costs. In total, weather-related delays cost the construction industry in the United States $4 billion annually.
When companies rent equipment, and there is a project delay caused by an unforeseen weather event, they often need their rentals extended to accommodate the new schedule. So, while contractors clean up their sites and try to get back on track, they also need to scramble to extend their equipment rentals or rent other equipment if the original rental isn’t available beyond the return date.
And they have to secure the equipment rental when other contractors in their area are in the same situation, which leads to a demand surge as contractors compete for the same equipment.
Weather Warranty provides a weather protection add-on for equipment rental customers. The company provides equipment renters an automatic extension of their rental agreement (or enough store credit to rent again when the weather clears) when severe weather causes unexpected delays. It lessens the impact of bad weather in advance by enabling the customer to lock in rental extensions if they pay a small fee at the time of the rental.
The service works similar to travel insurance when you book a flight. If something goes wrong, and you can’t fly on those dates, you’re taken care of and able to rebook at a later date without having to pay full price for a new ticket. When you request Weather Warranty on your equipment rental, and weather delays your schedule, the rental gets extended automatically.
This built-in weather protection plan eliminates the contractor’s worry that bad weather will push the job schedule out longer than their rental, and it removes the budget-busting potential of normal extensions since Weather Warranty pays the full cost.
When Weather Warranty polled contractors about automatically extending equipment rental due to project delays caused by bad weather, 75 percent said they would pay extra for the service.
And it’s not only the contractors who benefit. Weather Warranty pays rental dealers to provide additional days with the equipment if a jobsite experiences extreme rain, wind or cold temperatures, and there is no charge to the rental company for partnering with Weather Warranty.
“Weather Warranty is my new secret weapon,” says Mike Travis, former owner and general manager of CER Equipment Rental. “Like everybody else, I’ve been competing in the market on my equipment, my price and my reputation, but at the end of the day, I’m still always looking for that one thing that’s going to set us apart from every other rental dealer. When I discovered Weather Warranty, I knew I’d finally found it. Now I’m the guy that can say to my customer ‘If you rent from me, you don’t have to worry about the weather.’ How cool is that? Big win.”
“CER and Weather Warranty help me to solve a real problem that I face daily,” adds Dick Charleau President, Mid-Mass Renovating. “I feel like I can finally sleep at night. After a while, I just said to CER, ‘This is a no-brainer. Just include it on all my contracts.’”
Every machine and every rental is eligible for Weather Warranty. No exclusions. And, by offering Weather Warranty, shops like CER average 5 to 8 percent extra revenue per rental.
Founded in 2020—in a year when a record-breaking number of tropical storms affected the U.S. —Weather Warranty is a new solution to an old problem.
“If project-delaying weather events are a contractor’s greatest enemy, then the rental dealer who can provide them with what they need, when they need it, and in a way that does not blow up their budget becomes the contractor’s biggest ally,” says Rick Wilmot, co-founder and product lead at Weather Warranty. “Help your customers plan for the unexpected and offer them what no one else can—an equipment rental experience without the weather worries.”
The idea for Weather Warranty grew out of a conversation between the company’s founders and a construction contractor who talked about the stress he had experienced and the money his company had lost renting equipment during an unusually wet spring in Ohio that prohibited equipment use. Today, renters of equipment can select the Weather Warranty opt-in service from select rental dealers across the U.S.