The Best Method for Calculating Depreciation on Construction Equipment


November 15, 2023

When running a construction equipment rental business, accurately tracking the depreciation of assets is crucial for maintaining financial integrity. Among various depreciation methods, the Units of Production Method stands out as the optimal choice for construction equipment rental shops. Let's explore the intricacies of this method, break down its formula, and showcase why it's the go-to approach for aligning depreciation with the actual usage of equipment.

Understanding the Units of Production Method:

The Method Explained:

The Units of Production Method is a depreciation calculation that ties the diminishing value of an asset directly to its usage or output. In the context of construction equipment rental shops, a "unit" is typically defined as the number of hours a machine operates.

The Formula:

  • Cost of Equipment:  The total cost incurred to purchase the construction equipment.
  • Salvage Value:  The estimated residual value of the equipment at the end of its useful life.
  • Total Units of Production:  This is the anticipated total amount of work the equipment is expected to perform during its useful life. It's typically measured in hours.

Why It's Ideal for Construction Equipment Rental Shops:

  1. Precision in Usage Tracking:  The Units of Production Method excels in accurately reflecting the wear and tear on equipment because it directly ties depreciation to the actual usage or output. For rental shops, where equipment is subjected to varied projects and usage patterns, this precision is invaluable.
  2. Alignment with Revenue Generation:  Since rental shops earn revenue based on the usage of their equipment, aligning depreciation with actual production output ensures that expenses are directly tied to revenue generation. This offers a more realistic financial representation.

Our Calculator: Determine Your Own Depreciation

The Hapn team has put together a sample calculator you can use to calculate depreciation on your own assets. You can access it here: Hapn's Units of Production Depreciation Calculator

Putting the formula to work, let's consider a skid steer with the following details:

  • Cost of Skid Steer: $50,000
  • Salvage Value: $10,000
  • Expected Total Hours of Operation: 5,000 hours

If the skid steer operates for 800 hours in a given year, the annual depreciation expense would be $8 \times 800 = $6,400.


The Units of Production Method offers construction equipment rental shops a precise and revenue-aligned approach to calculating depreciation. By directly linking depreciation to actual equipment usage, rental businesses can make informed financial decisions, ensuring their bottom line accurately reflects the economic reality of their assets. As the construction industry continues to evolve, leveraging the Units of Production Method can be a strategic move for rental shops striving for financial accuracy and efficiency.

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