CEG Industry Blog

Efficiency vs. Cost: How to Know When You Should Rent or Buy Equipment

When it comes to the success of your local or nationwide construction business, sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of motivation, some basic knowledge, and the right equipment.

📅   Fri April 08, 2016 - Edition
Megan Wild - CEG BLOGGER


When it comes to the success of your local or nationwide construction business, sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of motivation, some basic knowledge and the right equipment.
When it comes to the success of your local or nationwide construction business, sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of motivation, some basic knowledge and the right equipment.

Efficiency vs. Cost: How to Know When You Should Rent or Buy Equipment

When it comes to the success of your local or nationwide construction business, sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of motivation, some basic knowledge and the right equipment for the task at hand. However, unless you already own the necessary tools, purchasing brand new hardware for every new project or client can be expensive.

On the other hand, renting the same equipment over and over again for repeated use isn't a great solution when it comes to saving your company's time or money. This is exactly why many business owners in the construction industry have a hard time when it comes to making the choice between renting or purchasing equipment for their needs. Below are a few tips to help you make an informed decision.

Required Knowledge of Equipment

The very first thing you should consider is whether or not the equipment in question requires any special training or certification in order to use properly and legally. A good rule of thumb states that if something is potentially dangerous or hazardous, it should definitely be left up to trained professionals. With that in mind, you'll need to factor in the additional cost of hiring or contracting the appropriate professional. This rule should be maintained regardless of cost or convenience.

If you think that you will require such equipment on a regular basis, you may even consider pursuing the necessary training or accreditation required for safe use and operation. This added step could potentially spare you from legal troubles and it may even save a life.

Short-Term and Long-Term Needs

Next, try to compare and contrast your short-term needs with that of your long-term needs. If you only require the equipment for a small, one-day job or even a weekend's worth of work, it probably makes more sense to rent it from a local company.

Conversely, those who will be using this equipment on more than one occasion or for an extended amount of time may find it beneficial to go ahead with a full purchase. Not only does this ensure that your equipment will be ready and available at the exact time you need it, but it also eliminates the added pressure of rental deadlines and commitments. Perhaps even more importantly, it can save you some real money in the long run versus repeated rental charges and potential late fees.

Equipment Availability

You may find that the necessary equipment isn't readily available in your area. If this is the case, you'll need to factor in shipping fees to the final total. This may not be an issue if you're only working with handheld power tools and smaller equipment, but larger hardware may require specialty shipping and transportation arrangements that come with additional charges.

Individuals who are able to take care of these arrangements on their end, either by picking up the equipment themselves or by utilizing a third party, may be able to drive the final costs down slightly. However, depending on the distance between you and the equipment in question, this may not even be a viable option at all.

Maintenance, Storage and Transportation Costs

Although these details are often overlooked, maintenance, storage and overall transportation costs are important factors when trying to figure out the exact cost of renting construction equipment. The added costs of maintenance, shipping and storage don't really amount to much if you only need basic tools and hardware and that are locally available.

Heavy machinery and specialized equipment, on the other hand, usually require regular maintenance as well as safe and secure storage. Failing to include such costs in your calculations could amount to a huge oversight that could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

If you are in a position to afford the costs of routine maintenance and long-term storage, you'll still want to take some time to make your final decision before committing to an expensive equipment purchase. Make sure to determine how many hours are on it, and exactly how it's been used in the past. Finding out such details can go a long way in determining how much life it has left and how it will perform for you in the future.

Final Cost

You'll want to consider the final costs associated with renting or purchasing the necessary equipment. Make sure to factor in any surcharges or fees that may be included with rental equipment, as well as any applicable taxes. Once you compare the final costs of renting versus purchasing, you may find that the decision has already been made for you.

Renting or Purchasing Equipment as a Group

Before making your final decision, try to talk with some of your industry peers, staff and even family members to find out if they have any related projects of their own. If so, renting or even purchasing the necessary equipment as part of a group can go a long way in keeping your overall costs low while still bolstering the success of your business.

If you research the pros, cons and costs as they relate to your business and project needs, you'll make the best decision you can.

Megan Wild writes about trends in the construction industry on websites like Engineering and CADDigest. When she's not catching up on world news in the newspaper, she likes to write about home improvement tips on her blog, Your Wild Home.