Crane Finance: How This Startup is Revolutionizing Construction

Crane Finance are indispensable pieces of heavy construction equipment used for lifting and moving materials on construction sites. From small mobile cranes to enormous tower cranes, they provide the lifting power to handle everything from steel beams to HVAC units. Crane financing has become an essential part of the construction industry, enabling companies to obtain and operate these expensive machines.

Crane financing provides the means for construction firms, crane rental companies, and other operators to secure the essential crane machinery they need. Since most firms cannot afford to pay millions of dollars in cash upfront, crane financing allows them to acquire a crane through loans, leasing agreements, or alternative financing methods. The financing covers the crane’s purchase price or rental costs over time.

Construction firms of all sizes utilize cranes for projects including high-rise buildings, bridges, factories, and other structures. Crane rental companies buy fleets of cranes and use financing to maintain cash flow as they rent out equipment. Port authorities, manufacturers, refineries, and similar operations also rely on cranes and leverage financing to purchase them. Obtaining the right crane financing has a major impact on these businesses’ ability to operate and profit.

Costs of Crane Purchase/Rental

Purchasing or renting a crane represents a significant financial investment for a construction firm or project. The costs can vary significantly depending on the type and size of crane required.

Average Costs of Purchasing Cranes

  • Smaller mobile cranes typically start around $100,000 for a 25-ton model and range up to $800,000 for a 100-ton crane.

  • Larger crawler cranes used for big commercial projects can cost $1 million to $5 million depending on the capacity, which can be 300 tons or greater.

  • Tower cranes, commonly seen on large construction sites, cost $150,000 to $500,000 to purchase.

  • Specialty cranes like carry deck/pick and carry models range from $200,000 to over $1 million.

So crane prices can vary anywhere from six figures for mobile cranes up to several million for heavy-duty large-capacity crawler models.

Average Rental Costs

Renting a crane provides more flexibility than purchasing, allowing construction firms to get the right crane for each job without a large capital investment. Rental costs will again vary based on crane type and size:

  • Small 25-ton mobile cranes rent for $500-$1500 per day or $3500-$6500 per week.

  • Larger 100-ton capacity mobile cranes rent for $2000-$5000 daily or $10,000-$25,000 weekly.

  • Crawler cranes over 150 tons can cost $5000-$20,000+ per day.

  • Tower crane rentals average $1500-$4000 per week.

So rental costs may range from a few hundred dollars daily for small mobile cranes up to tens of thousands for the largest heavy cranes. Long term rentals usually offer discounted rates.

Additional Maintenance and Operational Costs

Beyond just the base purchase or rental price, companies need to factor in other operational costs of running a crane:

  • Insurance costs vary but often range from 5-8% of a crane’s value per year.

  • Fuel and maintenance expenses can add up, especially for heavily utilized mobile cranes.

  • Crane operators are paid $25-$60 per hour depending on experience and any specialized skills.

  • Permits, licenses, inspections, and taxes represent additional regulatory costs.

So the total costs of having an in-house crane go much higher than just the initial price. Rental can avoid some of these extra fees.

Financing Options for Crane Purchases

When looking to acquire a crane for your business, you have three main financing options to consider: loans, leasing, and rent-to-own agreements. Evaluating each option against your specific business needs and financial capabilities will help determine the best choice.


The most traditional financing method is taking out a loan. Loans allow you to pay a lump sum for the full purchase price of a crane, then pay down the loan over time through a repayment schedule.

Loans can be obtained through banks, credit unions, or equipment financing companies. The advantages of a loan include building business credit, fixed regular payments, and ownership of the asset. The downsides are large upfront costs, lengthy applications, and strict credit requirements.

Loans are best suited for established businesses with strong finances looking to acquire a crane as a long-term asset.


Leasing has grown in popularity as a flexible alternative to crane loans. With a lease, you pay a monthly fee to essentially “rent” the crane for a fixed period of time, often 3-5 years.

Benefits of leasing include lower monthly payments, less rigid credit requirements, and the ability to upgrade to newer models more regularly. Downsides are restrictions on usage and modifications, as well as never owning the asset.

Leasing works for businesses wanting to acquire a crane with limited capital on hand and uncertain longer-term equipment needs.


Rent-to-own agreements are a hybrid of leasing and buying. You rent the crane for a period of time with a portion of the rental fees applying towards an eventual purchase.

This allows more flexible terms than a lease if you expect to buy the crane long-term. However, rent-to-own contracts can also be more expensive overall than leasing or loans.

Rent-to-own works best for businesses wanting to test a crane before full purchase or build gradual equity in the equipment over an extended timeframe.

Loan Financing

Taking out a loan to purchase a crane is a common financing option. Loans allow crane owners to make the large capital expenditure of purchasing a crane while spreading out payments over time.

Interest rates and terms for crane loans can vary depending on the lender, amount financed, and credit history of the borrower. Many lenders that specialize in construction equipment financing offer fixed-interest rate loans for new crane purchases with terms ranging from 5-7 years. Rates often start around 5-7% for borrowers with good credit.

Smaller regional banks and credit unions may also crane finance purchases but may offer higher interest rates or shorter terms like 3-5 years. Borrowers with poor credit can still qualify for crane loans but will pay significantly higher interest rates that can reach 10-15%.

When evaluating crane loan offers, it’s important to compare both interest rates and loan terms. A loan with a lower rate but much shorter term will have higher monthly payments. Opting for longer terms like 7 years spreads out payments but results in more interest paid over the life of the loan.

Many lenders also require a 20-30% downpayment on crane loans, so borrowers need to factor in having cash on hand for a sizeable downpayment. Coming up with extra cash for a downpayment allows borrowers to finance less and pay less interest over the long run.


Leasing cranes is another popular financing option for construction companies and other operators requiring cranes. With a lease, you essentially rent the crane for an agreed-upon time period, usually 12-60 months. At the end of the lease, you return the crane to the leasing company.

Leasing offers more flexibility than purchasing a new or used crane outright. You can adjust the lease term to match your project needs, rather than being stuck with a crane you no longer need. Leasing also requires less upfront capital than purchasing. Often just the first and last lease payments are required at signing.

There are several reputable crane leasing companies to choose from. They purchase fleets of cranes and lease them out to generate revenue from the rental payments. Some of the major crane lessors include Maxim Crane Works, Essex Rental Corp, ALL Erection & Crane Rental, and others. These companies offer a range of crane types and capacities.

When signing a crane lease, pay close attention to the terms and conditions:

  • Lease payment amount and frequency – Monthly, quarterly or end-of-lease term
  • Length of the lease term – Typically 12 to 60 months
  • Early termination fees – Charges for ending lease before the term expires
  • Maintenance responsibility – Lessee may be required to service the crane
  • Insurance requirements – Lessee often required to ensure crane
  • Transport fees – Potential charges for delivery and pick-up

Thoroughly understanding the leasing terms allows you to accurately compare options and choose the best crane leasing solution.


Rent-to-own agreements are an alternative financing option for companies looking to acquire a crane without taking out a loan or entering a long-term lease. With a rent-to-own agreement, the crane rental company retains ownership until the final payment is made, at which point ownership transfers to the renter.

Rent-to-own agreements allow companies to pay for a crane over time without needing upfront capital or financing. The company makes monthly payments, similar to a lease, but each payment goes toward the purchase price of the crane. Once all payments are made, typically over a 3-5 year period, the company owns the crane free and clear.

These agreements offer more flexibility than leases. The rental term can be customized, payments can fluctuate month-to-month based on usage, and no down payment is required. If the company no longer needs the crane, they can return it without penalty.

Major crane rental companies like Maxim Crane Works and ALL Erection & Crane Rental offer rent-to-own programs on select equipment. The crane models available are often limited compared to their overall rental fleet. Companies will evaluate the buyer’s credit and financials to approve a rent-to-own agreement.

Rent-to-own can be a cost-effective way for a company to acquire a crane over an extended period while enjoying the benefits of ownership. The monthly payments are usually higher than rental rates but lower than lease payments for the same crane. The flexible terms allow companies to tailor the agreement to their expected usage and cash flow.

Factors to Consider

When evaluating crane financing options, there are several key factors to consider:

Cost Comparisons

The overall cost of each financing option can vary significantly. With a loan, you must repay the principal plus interest over the loan term. Leasing usually results in higher overall costs than a loan but may offer more flexibility. Rent-to-own contracts typically have the highest long-term costs, but lower upfront expenses. Carefully compare total costs over the full financing term for each option.

Tax Implications

There are different tax benefits and consequences associated with loans, leases, and rent-to-own agreements. Purchasing a crane with a loan allows you to claim depreciation deductions on the equipment. With leases and rent-to-own contracts, you can deduct monthly payments as operating expenses. Consult a tax professional to fully understand the tax impacts of each option.

Maintenance Responsibilities

With a loan or lease, the crane owner is responsible for maintenance and repairs. Rent-to-own contracts often require the equipment supplier to handle maintenance as part of the agreement. If opting to own the crane, factor in maintenance costs and capabilities. Ensure your team is prepared to properly service and repair cranes if you will hold this responsibility.

Carefully weighing these key factors will help you select the best crane financing option for your specific situation and needs. Speak to finance and tax professionals to fully evaluate the costs, tax implications, and maintenance responsibilities of loans, leases, and rent-to-own agreements.

Industry Trends

The crane industry has seen increased demand for cranes over the past few years as construction activity has ramped up globally. More buildings, roads, bridges etc. are being built which requires heavy lifting equipment like cranes. This trend is expected to continue as emerging markets continue to grow and develop their infrastructure.

Along with increased crane demand, there has been significant growth in crane leasing and rent-to-own options. Many contractors and construction companies are opting to lease cranes short-term or enter rent-to-own agreements rather than purchasing cranes outright. Leasing and rent-to-own provide more flexibility as well as potential tax benefits for companies. It also allows companies to better match crane capacity to their current project needs.

Crane manufacturers have responded to the leasing/rental trend by offering attractive lease rates and fleet management programs. Some of the major finance crane companies like Tadano and Manitowoc now get more revenue from their rental fleets than from crane sales. This allows customers more options to access cranes and manage costs.

Going forward, the growth in emerging markets combined with the shift towards leasing/renting will likely reshape the crane financing landscape. Companies that understand and leverage these industry trends will have an advantage in accessing the crane capacity they need as demand continues to rise globally.

Financing Cranes Abroad

As the construction industry becomes more global, many companies find themselves needing cranes in foreign countries. Financing heavy equipment like cranes internationally comes with unique considerations.

Financing Options

Financing options can vary greatly depending on the country. Developed countries like the UK, Germany, Japan, and Australia often have robust financing systems similar to the US. Leasing and loan financing are typically available, though the specific lenders will differ.

Emerging market countries often have less developed financing systems. Leasing may be rare or unavailable. Local banks may offer financing, but charge higher interest rates and require high down payments. Export credit agencies (ECAs) backed by foreign governments may offer attractive financing for international buyers of domestic goods. For example, US-based companies can access financing through the US Export-Import Bank.

Joint ventures are another common way to finance cranes abroad. Partnering with a local firm can help navigate tricky legal and regulatory challenges. The local partner contributes capital, while the foreign company provides expertise and equipment.

Currency Exchange Considerations

Currency risk is a major factor in overseas crane financing. Loan payments must be made in foreign currency, subjecting the borrower to exchange rate fluctuations. If the US dollar appreciates significantly against the local currency, financing costs will effectively increase.

Leasing often avoids this problem, with payments set in US dollars. The lessor bears the currency risk. Still, wide swings in exchange rates can impact the lessee’s ability to make payments.

Currency hedging instruments like forwards, futures, and options can mitigate exchange rate risk. Though hedging adds cost, it provides stability and predictability when financing cranes overseas. Carefully evaluating currency risk and using hedges is key for global crane finance deals.


When it comes to financing options for crane purchases, each option has its own pros and cons that crane buyers need to weigh carefully based on their specific needs and situations.

Summary of financing options pros and cons

Loan financing allows buyers to take ownership of the crane right away. However, it requires a large downpayment and good credit to qualify. Loans also don’t offer the flexibility of leasing if the buyer’s needs change.

Leasing offers more flexible terms and often lower monthly payments compared to loans. The crane can usually be upgraded more easily as well. However, leases require returning the crane at the end of the term and no equity is built. Extra fees apply for excess wear or mileage.

Rent-to-own combines aspects of buying and leasing. Some equity is built over time, though less than with a loan. Rent-to-own requires a smaller downpayment than a loan. However, terms are usually longer overall than a lease.

Recommendations for crane buyers

Crane buyers should calculate the total costs of each option and compare to expected utilization and length of ownership. Loan financing works best for long-term needs where the crane will get constant use. Leasing is ideal for short-term flexible usage. Rent-to-own balances long-term ownership with flexibility. Consulting experts like crane dealers and specialized lenders can help buyers identify the optimal financing strategy.

Understanding all the costs and trade-offs allows crane buyers to make a financing choice aligned with their budget, usage, and operational needs. The best option provides the right combination of ownership, equity, payments, and flexibility.

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