Should I rent or should I buy? This used to be a question that only applied to houses. Now the “rent culture” has spread to cars, boilers, bicycles, even tools. Though renting used to be something that only people would do when they couldn’t afford to buy, society has woken up to the benefits that renting provides.  Buying something that you are only going to use a few times is usually not worth it, as you end up paying the full price and otherwise it just clutters your home or business. When a company rents out products, it often covers the cost of repairs, maintenance, and even sometimes service, meaning that the person renting does so with lower costs and risk than if they were to purchase the item him or herself.

Having a hard time figuring out when it is worth it? Here are some tips to deciding if renting equipment is the best option for you.

When To Rent and When To Buy Equipment

  1. Will you use it more than a couple of times?

If you’re looking for chairs for your wedding reception, chances are that unless you are a huge socialite or are expecting to be getting married again very soon, renting is a better option. Why? Because you are probably never going to use them again. Same thing goes with a Bobcat drill for making holes for your fence poles. Unless you are starting a fencing business or have other use for this huge piece of machinery, renting is the better option. However, it’s always worth doing the math. Sometimes the cost of rental is paid off in very few uses, even two!  If renting a power drill is $50/day, it might just be worth getting one for $100-150. Chances are that you will use it 2-3 times and there you go, you’ve matched the rental costs and you get to actually keep the piece of equipment.

  1. It’s very specialized

If you are looking for a piece of equipment that is used for a very specialized or high risk project, it might be worth renting, unless it is a long-term assignment. This is because if you do not have a lot of expertise with its use, you might actually damage either the equipment or a part of your project. The company renting it will most likely take the time to instruct you, have insurance on the item, and might even service it for you. However, if you are operating something unique like a mine, it might be worth looking for a company to provide mining safety equipment and safety expertise to help companies keep their underground mines running. In the end, if that is the main business of your company, purchasing this equipment might actually be a good investment.

  1. It costs a lot to maintain

Apart from the initial costs of actually purchasing something, maintenance of equipment over the years can equal more than that of the item itself. This can be an indicator of it being something worth renting- just like offices can now rent those Xerox copy machines. If anything is wrong with it, which in my personal experience is almost all the time, a Xerox servicer will show up to fix their machine. Unless you are a handy person and can maintain and fix the equipment yourself, it might be a financially sound decision to rent rather than buy high maintenance and short lifespan products.

Though renting is what was traditionally seen as “throwing money away”, there are many instances today when it simply makes sense. However, remember to always weigh your options and do the math- many times you’ll be surprised at the outcome.

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