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Water Trucks for Rent: Benefits of Renting vs Buying

Water Trucks for Rent

A water truck can be an indispensable piece of equipment on many job sites. These trucks can supply huge amounts of water where no other options exist. This article offers some key points when considering to work with a company that offers water trucks for rent.

In some cases, depending on the type of work being done, the use of a water truck may be mandatory. For example, certain demolitions or tear-downs require a water truck for dust control to comply with local ordinances and regulations.

But the reasons for a water truck can go beyond just dust control, and this leaves many contractors and construction companies wondering if they should consider buying a water truck or just renting one.

This important decision can have many financial implications down the road, so it’s important to consider it carefully.

In this article, we will look at the differences between renting a water truck and purchasing one. We will also touch on what to look for when renting a water truck, as well as some financial information to consider when making your decision.

What a Water Truck is Used for

Before choosing to rent or buy a water truck, it’s good to understand the jobs that it can help with. You may also need a water truck for one application but not realize it can open up your job and bidding opportunities due to its versatility.

Dust Control

One of the most common needs for a water truck is to mitigate dust and airborne debris during general construction tasks.

Dust control can be needed during demolition or during certain soil grading where heavy equipment can kick up large quantities of dust.

Dust control should be a top priority for worker health as well, but in many areas, it is also required by law. In these cases, renting a water truck will be necessary to complete a job.

In addition, even bidding on the job will require that you factor in the cost of a water truck, so understanding the expenses involved is critical to making a proper bid that leaves enough margin to keep the job profitable.

Soil Preparation

Depending on the stage of construction, the soil may need to be leveled or compacted before any other work can begin. In these cases, the area usually does not have a suitable water source ready to supply the large quantities of water needed for this task.

A water truck can be a necessity in these cases, as working with dry soil is nearly impossible.

Renting a water truck for this purpose also allows you to select options to meet the exact job requirements. For example, you may need specialized spray heads or a specific hose and nozzle.

Renting allows for this type of customization rather easily and also allows you to meet whatever job requirements are presented.

Purchasing or leasing a truck can lock you into certain configurations, which may entail costly upgrades to meet the requirements of only one new job. This can possibly limit your bidding opportunities and also lower your margins.

Fire Prevention

While a water truck is generally not used for primary firefighting on a job site, it can be vital for fire prevention. This is especially true of areas that are extremely dry.

If these areas are remote, a water truck may be the only option to properly wet the area to prevent fires from construction or landscaping-related activities.

As with dust control, in certain areas having a water truck for fire prevention may be required. So having access to one can allow you to bid on more jobs.

Deciding Whether to Rent or Buy

Now that we know how useful and even necessary a water truck can be, it’s time to decide whether to rent or buy a water truck.

Obviously, if your job only requires a water truck for one time, it makes sense to rent. However, even if you need a water truck more often, renting can still be a great option to control costs.

Below we’ll outline some of the reasons why renting makes more financial sense than buying when it comes to water trucks.

Asset Utilization

One important element to consider is maximizing asset utilization, a measure of how profitable a piece of equipment is for your business. In other words, how often do you use that equipment compared to the cost of ownership?

In this case, if a water truck is rented, it can have a positive asset utilization rate. It’s likely to be used for the majority of its rental period. When it is no longer needed, it is returned, and no more fees or costs are incurred.

However, if a water truck is purchased, money is spent even when the truck is not in use due to slow periods or other reasons. This can lower total asset utilization, making purchasing a less appealing investment than simply renting whenever a truck is needed.

Controlling Monthly Costs

Budgeting is critical when running any construction business. Jobs can sometimes take months until payment is received. This makes budgeting from month to month more difficult than in many other businesses.

Renting equipment such as water trucks can go a long way towards helping mitigate some of these budgeting issues so you can maintain a healthy cash flow.

Also, having a solid relationship with your local truck rental company can help you make more informed bids on jobs. Knowing the exact prices for rentals or being able to get a fast quote will allow you to make bids faster and with more accuracy.

Construction companies often can make bids that don’t consider that company’s net profit margins. Costs like monthly leases or loan payments are sometimes inadvertently excluded, causing underbidding.

With renting, the total cost for that job is known, allowing a construction company to make more informed bids that accurately reflect the total cost of that job. This can lead to higher gross margins and, more important, higher net margins.

Maintenance Costs and Downtime

Dealing with breakdowns is another big difference when it comes to renting a water truck versus purchasing one, either new or used.

If purchased new, a water truck will come with a warranty that will cover most costs if the truck unexpectedly breaks down. However, when in the market for a water truck, many people decide to buy used trucks. This means many parts of the truck may not be under full warranty.

Another thing to consider is that even if individual components are under warranty with a new or used truck, there will still be downtime as it needs to be repaired. This downtime can be anywhere from a day to even weeks depending on part availability and other factors.

This is even more true today as supply chain constraints still exist, making repairs to vehicles more difficult and time-consuming than in the past.

This sort of downtime can wreak havoc with your schedule and deadlines as well as increase costs. It can also lead to customer satisfaction issues if work slows or has to stop on a project.

When renting a water truck, there is no concern with downtime or repairs. If the truck breaks down, simply contact the rental company, which will allocate a different truck.

This reduces the risk of downtime substantially. It also reduces another stress factor that may arise during a construction job. Knowing a truck can simply be replaced is one less thing to worry about.

As any construction business owner knows, surprises pop up on almost every job. Removing one of these possible surprises simply makes project management — and life — easier.

Types of Water Trucks to Rent or Buy

Besides just enabling the transportation of water, many factors go into making water trucks. It’s wise to understand the types of water trucks as well as the options and items to look out for.

Specific jobs may require specialized items or capacities, so in this section, we’ll go over the basics of what you may need when renting a water truck.

Water Truck Capacities

The standard capacity for most on-highway water trucks is going to be between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons, with the most common size being the 4,000 gallon water truck. However, some trucks offer capacities between those sizes, with 2,500 gallons being available in some cases.

For very specialized situations, you can also find off-highway water trucks as large as 10,000 gallons or even higher.

A 2,000-gallon truck will generally have a single axle. With larger capacities, you can expect a truck with a dual axle. These trucks can also have separate licensing requirements.

Pumping Options

An important aspect of a water truck is the pump controls and inlets or outlets. These can be located in one area of the truck or on the back, side, and the most common location is underneath the truck.

It’s important to know how the truck will be used on the job site, as that may determine which style of truck you need.

Another thing to consider is whether the pumps can both pump out water as well as draw it in. This is called a self-loading pump. In some cases, it may be necessary to do both, but not all setups allow for this. So it’s important to ask this question and be aware of your requirements when inquiring about a rental.

Spray Heads

When renting a water truck, you will also want to determine the type of spray heads you will need for your application.

Most trucks will have a few spray options available. For example, when a water truck is used for wetting soil, you may need to spray the water from all directions of the truck or just from the rear or front.

If you are spraying water a long distance a top mounted water cannon may be used.

Make sure the truck you’re renting will allow for the type of spraying you may need to do on your specific job site.

Other Options for Water Dispersal

Most water trucks will also have a hose reel located somewhere on the truck, usually at the rear. This is for targeted spraying and usually has a water cannon-style nozzle attached to it.

Finally, gravity dumps may also be located on the truck to allow water to flow out of the truck using just gravity.

Other Factors to Consider When Renting a Water Truck

Besides the hardware aspects and options of the water truck, there are other factors to consider when in the market for a water truck.

Once again, these often depend on the specific job and often change from job to job, making the flexibility of renting an appealing option.

Requirements for Government Contracts

Many government contracts in construction may have requirements for a specific type of water truck. If you are contracting on a local, state, or federal job, make sure to understand if there are specific requirements that your water truck must meet.

If you are unsure what options are available, speaking to your representative at the rental company will help. It’s another reason why renting a water truck can be a wise decision.

Different jobs may require different styles of trucks and options. Buying one locks you into one truck that may need to be retrofitted to meet other job requirements down the road. This can lead to extra costs and problems that renting simply avoids altogether.


Depending on what size truck you decide to rent, it will have different licensing requirements when it comes to driving the truck on public roads.

Some 2,000-gallon trucks with a single axle are non-CDL and can be driven with a standard license. This is important and can be another benefit of renting over buying.

Drivers are difficult to find in the current market, and you may not have a CDL or other licensed driver on staff or available to hire. Being able to rent a non-CDL truck, if available, can be a huge benefit.

Make sure to check with your state regarding requirements for water truck licensing. This is generally based on factors, including the gross weight of the vehicle. All of our 4,000 gallon water trucks require a CDL to operate on public roads.

You can also speak with your rental company, which can help you understand which licenses are required for each water truck it offers.

Freight to the Job Site

Another advantage to using a reputable company that offers water trucks for rent is the proximity to the job. Instead of having to face a costly mobilization expense to ship your equipment from another state for a job that is out of town.

When renting, consider the local roads and ordinances on gross vehicle weight. You may need to rent a smaller truck to stay in compliance and avoid fines or other issues.

Filling the Truck

Your water truck rental company will offer guidance on how to fill the truck. But generally, you do not want to fill the common round/oval style water tanks to the very top.

This can cause unsafe conditions when driving or needing to make evasive maneuvers in an emergency.

Your rental water truck will contain baffles inside the tank to prevent sloshing and the center of gravity of the truck from being upset while driving. But care must still be taken to avoid any erratic driving.

Help with Water Trucks for Rent

Water trucks are extremely useful on many types of job sites. In some cases, they can even be mandatory.

Having access to the right size and type of water truck can open up new job opportunities for your company and increase your earning potential.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to choose exactly the right type of water truck that is best for you and your company.

At Water Truck Supply, our experts can help you decide exactly which water truck you need for your next big job. They can also make sure you have all the right options to meet any requirements that may be part of your bid.

Contact Water Truck Supply today at 817-601-5754 to speak with one of our representatives about water trucks for rent. We can help you not only save money but also maximize your earnings and profits by managing your costs through renting.


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