Dry vs Wet Hire – Everything You Need to Know About Hiring Equipment!

Dry vs Wet Hire
Dry vs Wet Hire

Work on a construction or building site can be very complex. An assortment of equipment is required to get the job done effectively and efficiently. In many instances, it makes more economical sense to hire different machines with their accessories.

If you’re new to the hiring process, there can be quite a lot of research, facts and options to wade through. Whether you’ve opted for something as simple as mini excavator hire or a more in-depth crane hire, it comes down to two options. Will you opt for wet or dry hire?

Wet and Dry Hire – What do These Terms Actually Mean?

When you understand the basic definitions of dry and wet hire, it becomes much easier to decide which option suits your needs. And the right option will help you the job move along quicker.

When a contractor asks you if you want a wet or dry hire, this is what he means:

  • Wet hire: Simply put, wet hire is the term used when you hire the machine AND a qualified, licensed operator. In this instance, the accompanying operator bears the responsibility for the machinery.
  • Dry hire: When you hire equipment on its own WITHOUT an operator, it’s referred to as dry hire. In this instance, whoever signed the leasing documents is responsible for the safety and operation of the machine. The onus is then on you to find a qualified operator.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Wet and Dry Hire

To give you an idea of which option suits you better, we’ve compiled the advantages and disadvantages of both options. Read on for all the information you need.

Advantages of Wet Hire

  • Operation specialisation: Many machines require specialised knowledge and operation skills. Wet hire assures you that the operator is fully qualified.
  • Compliant: Qualified operators are guaranteed to be licensed and fully compliant with the use of the machine as well as the regulations surrounding its use on the job site. This eliminates the risk of accidental damage to a machine that your staff aren’t familiar with.
  • Quality workmanship: Highly trained personnel ensure that you’ll have a quality end result.
  • Less chance of hidden costs: Wet hire agreements usually have higher initial costs, but this ensures there are no hidden costs that might arise from accidental damage to the machinery.

Disadvantages of Wet Hire

  • Higher upfront cost: Costs are initially higher to cover the cost of the operator’s time.
  • Contract workers: Operators are classed as contract workers, and they might require additional management.
  • Contract time: Signing a wet hire agreement keeps you locked in a contract for a particular period. If there are unexpected delays, or the work is finished earlier than expected, you’ll still have to pay the full term of the agreement. This is mostly to cover the costs of the operator’s services.

Advantages of Dry Hire

  • Potential cost-saving: Initial and upfront costs will be considerably less since you’re not including the costs of an external operator. You might already have a certified operator on your staff which will make the process even smoother.
  • Ease of management: We all know how difficult it can be working with an employee that has no loyalty to your company. So, by using a member of your existing team, you’ll be using someone who understands your company and your work dynamic.
  • More flexibility: With dry hire, you can simply rent the machine on the days that you need it. A wet hire agreement on the other hand will tie you to a contract, meaning there might be days that the machine is not being used, but you’re still paying for an operator to sit around.

Disadvantages of Dry Hire

  • Increased risks: When you hire machinery your staff is not fully qualified to use, you might increase the risk of accidents and damages to the machinery or job site.
  • Extra time: You might also run into completion delays when work needs to be redone if it wasn’t done correctly in the first place.
  • Budget additions: Accidents or delays will cause you to exceed your budget for the job.
  • Additional staff costs: If you need to hire a specialised operator, you’ll have the cost of the machine as well as the operator. This could end up costing you more than a wet hire option.

Wet or Dry: What Will You Choose?

There might be instances when you prefer to use a wet hire because you require a certain level of expertise to get the job done effectively. Other situations might make it more practical to make use of dry hire, especially when the machinery isn’t complex, or you have a licensed operator on your team. It’s always best to discuss both options extensively with the rental company you’re considering. Be upfront about the work you need to be done, the time you want it done in as well as the expertise levels of your staff. Performing a proper risk assessment of each option and making a well thought out decision will ensure the job is done safely and efficiently!

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