Since then, the club has grown to include more than 20 contractors. Prescreened members rent and lend equipment via a private web portal, where dispatchers browse through photos and descriptions of available equipment and submit orders. Confirmations come via text or email.

"I thought it was a great idea, and we use them as often as possible," says Mike Haley, resource manager with Oakland, Calif.-based heavy-civil contractor McGuire & Hester. "You rent from trusted, reputable contractors that you know within the area that have quality equipment. They are getting utilization on their equipment, and we are getting a better price than from rental companies. It's really a win-win situation."

Some members were skeptical at first. "I didn't think contractors were going to want to see other contractor's equipment on their jobsites," says Mike McElroy, principal of San Jose-based FMG Grinding. To solve this, on each piece of machinery, Yard Club affixes a magnetic decal over the owner's logo.

Fears that crews from competing contractors wouldn't properly care for the equipment were quickly alleviated by the club's vetting process. "They aren't just renting to anybody," says Sean Holifield, operations manager with Silverado Contractors, Oakland. "I haven't heard stories of anything going bad, and it's because they are renting out reputable people's equipment to other reputable firms."

Yard Club handles all the paperwork: verifying insurance coverage, providing the master rental agreement and collecting and depositing payments. High-liability coverage requirements are enforced to mitigate risk. Reduced sales staff and no physical branches or storage yards reduces overhead, which is passed on to renters and lenders equally after Yard Club takes its cut of each rental.

On a recent one-month rental, the owner earned $14,000 on a Caterpillar D9 Dozer that would have otherwise sat idle in his yard, while the renter saved $8,500 versus a rental company, Evran says.

Renters are required to check fluids and ensure the equipment is well maintained and covered. Major maintenance issues are handled by the equipment owner. "They have been extremely responsive so far, just as they would be if the equipment was out to one of their own jobsites," Evran says.

While renting a compactor from McGuire & Hester, Holifield says he noticed the cutting edge was worn out. Once alerted, the contractor fixed it, "no questions asked. If I complained about that to [a traditional rental company], it would take an arm and a leg to get them to come out and fix the blade," he adds.

Product types range from small backhoes to large excavators. Yard Club has set its sights on including, eventually, traffic- control equipment, concrete forms, water trucks, and mining and farm equipment.