My Experience Renting a Lincoln Skid Steer from Home Depot

Taking on Big Projects With Heavy Equipment Rentals

I’ve always been one to take on big DIY projects around my property. I like the satisfaction of looking back at a major landscaping task or construction project and being able to say “I did that.” So when it came time to grade and level a large section of my backyard to put in a paver patio, I knew it would require some heavy equipment.

After asking around, it seemed like renting a skid steer loader was the right tool for the job. The strong hydraulic arms can pick up and move huge loads of dirt much faster than I ever could by hand. And the wide range of attachments available make skid steers incredibly versatile for all sorts of projects.

I started researching where I could rent a skid steer and came across Home Depot as an option. I was intrigued at the idea that a home improvement store like Home Depot offered heavy equipment rentals. I decided to dig in deeper and see if renting a skid steer from Home Depot would be a good choice for my patio project.

Checking on Skid Steer Availability at My Local Store

The first thing I did was check the Home Depot rental website to see what skid steer models they offered. I was pleased to see they carried Lincoln skid steers, which are made in the USA and known for power and reliability.

Specifically, I saw they offered the Lincoln LS25 compact skid steer model at my local store. With 25 horsepower and 1700lb rated operating capacity, this seemed like just the right size machine for my backyard needs. The Home Depot site made it easy to enter my zip code and see real-time availability of the LS25 at my desired rental dates and store location.

They also had a few larger Lincoln models including the LS45 (45hp) and LS60 (60hp) for bigger jobs. But the LS25 would be more than enough for moving and grading the soil in my yard to prep for the paver stones.

Comparing Home Depot’s Rental Rates

The website showed that the LS25 rented for $200/day or $600/week. They also offered longer 4-week and 8-week rental rates for extended projects. Home Depot provided an estimator tool on their site so you could input your specific project details and get a recommended rental timeframe and cost estimate.

I compared rates at a few other national equipment rental companies. While Home Depot wasn’t always the absolute cheapest, their rates for Lincoln skid steers seemed very reasonable overall. And I appreciated the convenience of being able to rent it from a store so close to my house.

Renting from Home Depot also meant I could bundle the skid steer rental with pick up of paving stones, gravel, and other landscaping supplies in one place. That convenience ultimately made it worth a slight premium in rental rates in my mind.

Reserving My Lincoln LS25 Skid Steer

When I was ready to book the rental, I simply selected my desired rental store, dates, and equipment on HomeDepot.com. After entering my contact and payment information, the reservation was quick and painless.

One thing I liked was that they didn’t ask for a large upfront deposit like many other rental companies. I just had to verify my driver’s license and credit card info. Home Depot would simply charge my card the full rental amount after return.

After completing the online reservation, I got an email confirmation with all the details including the location and hours of the tool rental desk within my Home Depot store. This made check-out on the day of rental smooth and hassle-free.

Getting Trained to Operate the Skid Steer

An important thing for anyone looking to rent construction equipment from Home Depot or elsewhere is making sure you know how to operate it properly ahead of time. Heavy machinery like skid steers take training and practice to handle safely.

Fortunately, Home Depot offers free training classes on equipment operation. I was able to sign up for a 45 minute session where a knowledgeable instructor went over all the controls and features of the Lincoln LS25 model. He showed me important pre-operation checks I would need to do and gave me tips on load capacity, stability, and how to avoid tipping.

After the classroom training, we went out back so I could get hands-on practice operating the skid steer under supervision. The instructor helped me get comfortable with the hand and foot controls. I was able to scoop and move dirt piles, drive over uneven terrain, and raise and lower the loader arms. This hands-on experience gave me confidence I could safely operate the LS25 on my own.

While it took up some extra time, I was really glad I took advantage of the free training class. No one should attempt to operate heavy machinery without proper instruction. Home Depot made it simple by providing the class right at the equipment rental center.

Pick Up Day – Inspecting the Skid Steer

The big day came for me to start my paver stone patio project. I drove down to my Home Depot store and went to the tool rental desk. After a short wait in line, they had me fill out some quick paperwork and asked to see my license.

An associate drove the Lincoln LS25 around from the back storage lot. Before taking the key, I did a thorough walk around just like I had been taught. I checked the tires, hydraulic arms, safety decals, and controls to make sure all was in working order. Everything looked shiny and new.

The rental associate explained their 24 hour emergency service policy – if I had any major breakdowns or issues with the skid steer on the job site, they would send out a mechanic within a day to get me back up and running. Luckily I wouldn’t end up needing this service, but it gave me peace of mind.

With the paperwork signed and pre-operation checks complete, I fired up the LS25 skid steer. The diesel engine roared to life and I slowly drove it up the loading ramps into my trailer. I was impressed by the power in such a compact machine. Now to get it home and start moving some dirt!

Working the Land – Grading and Leveling

Over the next several days, that Lincoln LS25 was my best friend on the job site. The first day I focused on tearing up and grading the existing turf and soil. With the loader bucket installed, I was able to easily rip into the ground, break up clumps, and smooth out the surface. Moving and re-grading soil piles was fast and almost fun with the controls becoming more intuitive.

After rough grading the majority of the area, it was time to switch over to the leveling blade attachment. I was able to laser grade the site, eliminating any remaining high or low spots. The fine controls on the LS25 helped me dial in exact heights and slopes to achieve proper drainage.

Moving and redistributing rock and gravel was also a breeze with the skid steer claws. The LS25 never lacked power, even when loaded up with material. The ride control system kept the bucket stable during driving too.

By the end of the project, I had shaped the backyard area perfectly for installing my new paver patio. What would have taken weeks of backbreaking work was achieved in just a few days thanks to this equipment. I couldn’t have asked for a better rental experience.

Loading Up the Skid Steer for Return

After finishing the final land grading, it was sadly time to load up the Lincoln LS25 and return it to Home Depot. I was surprised how clean it still looked after a full week on the job site. I gave it a good wipe down and cleaning before loading it onto the trailer with the ramps.

One thing I appreciated was that Home Depot gave me flexibility on rental period – they allowed me to keep it one extra day beyond my originally scheduled week-long rental at no extra charge. This ensured I had enough time to get the grading work fully completed before loading up the skid steer.

Checking In and Closing Out My Rental

Returning the equipment at Home Depot was fast and simple. I pulled up near the tool rental desk and an associate came out to inspect the skid steer with me. We looked over the machine to check for any damage or excess wear. It still looked brand new, so there were no extra charges.

The rental agent receipted everything back in their system, had me sign off that I returned it full of fuel, and that was that. My final rental charge came out to the originally quoted $600 for the full week. Between the fair rates and smooth logistics, I couldn’t have been happier with the overall experience.

Would I Rent From Home Depot Again?

After taking on this major landscaping project in my backyard using a skid steer rented from Home Depot, would I use them again in the future for equipment rentals? My answer is a resounding yes!

For convenience and customer service, they were top notch. I loved being able to reserve online and check-in took only minutes. The instructional classes gave me confidence operating the powerful machine safely.

Their fleet of Lincoln skid steers seemed very well maintained and handled beautifully. My LS25 model had plenty of power while still being compact and maneuverable.

While Home Depot doesn’t compete on price alone with some budget rental houses, the total value was excellent. Being able to rent the skid steer and buy landscaping supplies together in one place was a huge perk.

The next time I take on a major construction or landscaping project requiring heavy equipment, I’ll certainly be giving my local Home Depot a call to see what tools they have available. The options and service made my equipment rental experience really stand out. I’m excited to take on the next big backyard project soon!

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