Skip to Main Content

The Dark Side of Equipment Ownership

We’ve all had that moment: You rent the same piece of equipment again and again, and you start to think to yourself, ‘We should just buy one.’

It may sound like a good idea, but there is a dark side to equipment ownership that you should understand before you take the plunge.

In this post, we break down the advantages of renting equipment instead of buying — and how to make the decision that’s best for you.

No maintenance and repair costs

The decision about whether to rent your equipment or buy is not as simple as measuring how much you’ve spent in rental costs compared to the retail cost of a machine. Once you own a piece of equipment, you also have to maintain it.

That costs money, too.

You either need to have mechanics on staff who can repair broken machinery, or the money to pay independent mechanics to do it for you. With the former, you’re looking at not just salary costs, but the (often expensive) tools they’ll need to do their work. With the latter, you’re looking at high hourly rates and the unpredictability of relying on someone else’s schedule.

Where we see this play out most often is with our aerial work platforms (or AWPs). Several people need them for numerous different jobs — and usually for an extended period. AWPs are not only expensive to purchase, they’re expensive to maintain. As a result, most customers choose renting construction equipment as the best option.

No depreciation 

Construction equipment is like a car: The older it gets, the less value it retains.

If it’s not succumbing to the wear and tear of everyday use, it’s stuck in a storage facility, decaying and rusting from inactivity. We see this quite frequently with machines used for emergency situations: You want it for when disaster strikes, but every other day of the year, you leave it sitting idle, which is one of the worst things you can do to a piece of construction equipment.

No storage or transportation needed

When you own your construction equipment, you also need to store it and transport it.

That means you need to allocate space within your existing facilities or you need to purchase more storage. You also need the right vehicles to take your equipment to and from the job site.

If acquiring either of those elements will incur an extra cost, that should be factored into your decision to rent or buy your equipment.

An advantage of renting to consider is the added convenience that comes with leaving the storage and transport to a company like ours. With everything else that goes into even the smallest projects, it pays to take an extra worry off your plate.  

Do the math

It may seem as though you are constantly coming out of pocket to rent a certain item, but perception and reality can be two vastly different things. If you’re considering purchasing a machine outright, you need a firm understanding of just how much you’re going to use it.

So, we recommend a little math.

common industry calculation is to divide the number of days you expect to use the machine each month by 22 (the approximate number of working days in a given month). The result is the rate at which you can expect to use a given product.

So, if you expect to use a piece of equipment 10 days per month, you divide 10 by 22, which is .45 or 45%. Industry experts suggest that you should only purchase equipment you intend to use 60% of the time or more.

In doing the calculation, you may uncover that those items you felt certain were used frequently, actually fall below that 60% mark. Our sweepers and scrubbers are a case in point: Some customers need them for ongoing maintenance and therefore want to invest in a purchase. Others only need these machines during project cleaning, in which case renting the equipment is a far better option.


Return to Home Page