My Experience Renting a Bobcat from Home Depot in Lincoln, Nebraska

I recently had a major landscaping project in my backyard that required some heavy equipment to get the job done right. Since I don’t own any large machines like bulldozers or excavators, I decided to look into renting a Bobcat from Home Depot here in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As a homeowner tackling a big DIY landscaping renovation, I had a lot of questions about what was involved in renting this type of equipment. Here’s a comprehensive look at my experience renting a Bobcat loader from my local Home Depot, including everything I learned during the process.

Choosing the Right Bobcat Model

The first step was figuring out exactly what type of Bobcat I needed for my specific project. I stopped by the tool rental desk at Home Depot and told the associate about my plans to grade and level a sloped area of my yard, clear out some large bushes and trees, and move and spread piles of dirt and gravel.

Based on my plans, he recommended renting their mini track loader model. This smaller Bobcat machine had the right capabilities and size for maneuvering around my medium-sized backyard without destroying the grass and landscaping. The model they had available could also attach a variety of useful attachments like an auger, grapple bucket, trencher, and several sizes of loaders.

I also made sure to ask what other Bobcat models and sizes they offer for rent. In addition to the mini track loader, Home Depot had a few different skid-steer models with greater lifting capacity and bucket sizes. However, these larger machines didn’t seem necessary for my 1-2 person job. But it was good to know Home Depot has the bigger equipment available for much larger projects.

Inspecting the Bobcat Before Renting

Once I settled on the right Bobcat for my needs, the Home Depot associate took me outside to their rental equipment area so I could take a look at the actual machine I would be renting. This gave me a chance to inspect the unit and make sure it was in good working condition before agreeing to the rental.

The associate started up the Bobcat and ran it for a few minutes while I looked it over. I checked for any visible damage, leaks, worn out tires and tracks, missing safety decals or lights, and anything else that might cause a problem during my rental.

Luckily this mini loader looked very clean, well-maintained, and seemed to run smoothly without any issues. The Home Depot rental team clearly takes pride in their fleet and keeps the equipment in tip-top shape.

Gathering My Safety Gear

Operating heavy machinery like a Bobcat definitely requires some safety precautions. After settling on the rental unit, the Home Depot associate helped me pick out all the proper protective gear I would need.

At the top of the list was a sturdy pair of boots with steel toes to protect my feet. I also selected a durable pair of work gloves to protect my hands while operating the controls. And of course, a hard hat is a must-have when running construction equipment.

For additional protection, I also picked up some safety goggles, ear plugs for the loud diesel motor, and a reflective vest so I’d be visible. Having all the right safety gear made me feel prepared and reassured that I could operate the Bobcat safely by myself.

Getting Checked Out on the Equipment

The next step was going through an orientation on how to operate the Bobcat correctly. One great thing about renting from Home Depot was that the rental associate provided hands-on training with the machine right in the parking lot.

He covered the basic controls, how to safely climb in and out, starting and stopping the engine, driving forward and backward, raising and lowering the loader arm, and using the attachment. He also demonstrated important checks and maintenance I would need to perform each day.

The associate gave clear instructions and made sure I could demonstrate basic operation and control before feeling comfortable renting it out to me. I appreciated him taking the time to ensure I knew what I was doing. Nothing can replace hands-on experience when learning to operate heavy equipment.

Reserving Online and Arranging Delivery

One very useful option that Home Depot provides is reserving your rental equipment online in advance. After being trained on operating the Bobcat at the store, I went online and reserved the mini loader for my specific project dates.

This ensured that machine would be available when I needed it. I also paid a portion of the rental fees upfront online to confirm my reservation. Home Depot allows you to reserve equipment for pick up or delivery.

Since I didn’t have an easy way to transport something as big as a Bobcat, I opted for delivery and pickup. The delivery fee was very reasonable, and it saved me the hassle of getting the machine to and from my house.

Helpful Safety Features

Nowadays Bobcats come equipped with all sorts of advanced safety features to prevent injuries and accidents. The model I rented from Home Depot had:

  • Seatbelt
  • Roll-over protective bars
  • Safety lever controls
  • Alarm indicators for fuel, temperature, etc.
  • Backup alarm
  • Limited slip push-block
  • Hydraulic locking levers
  • Safety decals

Having these modern safety features gave me additional peace of mind when operating the machine independently. The Bobcat was designed to minimize risks as much as possible.

Taking Care of Fueling and Power

The associate explained that I would be responsible for fueling up the Bobcat myself before returning it. The mini track loader took standard diesel fuel. He showed me where to fill up the tank on the machine.

I also had to regularly charge the battery when the Bobcat was not in use. Fortunately, the unit came with a charger I could use to recharge the battery from my garage between uses. Keeping the Bobcat battery charged ensured it would start up when I needed it.

Helpful Attachments to Get the Job Done

A major benefit of renting the Bobcat from Home Depot was access to multiple attachments I could use. I decided to rent the loader bucket attachment so I could scoop and move large amounts of dirt quickly.

I also rented an auger to dig holes for planting trees and an grapple arm to uproot trees and bushes. Having these attachments made my landscaping project much easier, saving tons of manual labor.

The Home Depot rental department had a wide selection of attachments compatible with my Bobcat model. I could have rented specialized ones like a tiller, trencher, sweeper, grader, pallet forks, and more. Access to these attachments really maximizes what you can accomplish.

Damage Coverage for Peace of Mind

When renting expensive equipment like a Bobcat, the risk of accidental damage is always a concern. To help cover this risk, Home Depot offered different tiers of damage protection plans.

For my week-long rental, I chose their standard protection plan which included some coverage for common issues like tire/track punctures, damaged hoses, broken mirrors or lights, etc. For a higher premium, I could have gotten full damage coverage, but the standard plan was adequate for my needs. Having some protection gave me greater confidence operating the machine.

Helpful Signs and Reference Guides

Since I was a first-time Bobcat operator, I appreciated that this rental machine had clear instructional decals showing the controls and warning labels for safe operation. Home Depot also provided an operating manual with diagrams that I could reference if needed.

The associate went over some of the key instructions on starting, driving, and shutting down the Bobcat. These signs, diagrams, and manuals served as helpful reminders for proper use. They helped me avoid any mistakes that could lead to damage or injury.

No Special License Needed

Some types of equipment require operators to have a special license or certification card. However, I was pleased to learn that no special license is needed to operate a Bobcat in my state.

As long as I was a licensed driver, I could legally and safely operate the Bobcat on my own property without having to take a training course or test. The hands-on orientation provided by Home Depot was all I needed to feel fully prepared.

Of course, I still needed to follow all safety practices and never operate the machine near roads or public areas. But not needing a license made the process much simpler.

Taking Extra Care with Equipment Rental

Renting expensive equipment like a Bobcat skid loader comes with a major responsibility. Any damage or issues with the machine under my care could result in hefty charges. So I took extra precautions to avoid any accidents or negligence.

I never let children or inexperienced persons operate the machine. When not in use, I made sure the Bobcat was parked in a secure location and immobilized. I performed daily checks and fueling carefully based on the Home Depot associate’s instructions. And I immediately reported any minor repairs needed during my rental period.

Following all rental guidelines and treating the Bobcat with care showed I could be trusted with the equipment. It also ensured I avoided any unnecessary fees.

Avoiding Theft or Vandalism

Due to their small size and utility, skid loaders like the Bobcat tend to be prime targets for theft and vandalism. I had to take measures to prevent the rented machine from being stolen or damaged while it was on my property.

Each night and anytime I was away from home, I parked the Bobcat in my garage with the doors locked. I also chained it to a ground anchor using a lock provided by Home Depot to immobilize it. And I rigged up motion sensor flood lights to illuminate the area and deter any tampering.

I wouldn’t recommend leaving a rented Bobcat outside unsecured unless you have no other option. The peace of mind was worth taking precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

Cleaning Up and Refueling for Return

After wrapping up my big landscaping project, it was time to clean up the Bobcat and return it to Home Depot. I made sure to wipe down any dirt and mud that had accumulated on the cab, tires, and attachments. I gathered up all the rented accessories, manuals, and straps.

Per the rental agreement, I filled up the diesel tank so it was ready for the next customer. The rental associate did a final walkaround to inspect for damage and make sure I hadn’t forgotten any parts or attachments. Happily, the Bobcat was ready for smooth return with no issues.

Positive Experience with Home Depot Tool Rental

Overall, my experience renting a Bobcat mini track loader from the tool rental department at my local Home Depot was extremely positive. The staff provided excellent customer service throughout the process.

They helped me select the right equipment, gave a hands-on orientation, assisted with reservations and delivery, supplied safety gear, and made the return go smoothly. I really appreciated their expertise guiding a first-timer through an equipment rental of this size.

For anyone needing to excavate, dig holes, haul materials, grade terrain, or tackle other major property projects, I can wholeheartedly recommend checking out Home Depot’s Bobcat rentals. The convenient reservation system, reasonable rental rates, and helpful rental associates make Home Depot a great option for your equipment needs.

I got my landscaping project finished on time thanks to renting a Bobcat loader from Home Depot. Next time I need serious machinery to tackle a big DIY job, Home Depot will definitely be my first stop!

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