Buying vs. Renting Construction Equipment: What You Need to Know

You probably already have some basic tools in your home, like a screwdriver and a hammer. These are good enough for some small repairs, but if you plan some serious renovations, you need serious equipment. 

Chances are the majority of homeowners are in the same situation and facing a dilemma whether to buy or rent construction equipment. So here are important things to know when it comes to the tools and machinery you may need for the renovation project. 

Make a list of pros and cons

Once the project is defined, create a list of pros and cons that will help you decide what to buy and what to rent. A good reason to rent is if you are working on your passion or DIY project since you probably won’t need that equipment after that. 

On the other hand, if you own a construction company, all odds are in favor of buying since you will use it again and could even rent it to others. Even when the purchasing price seems like a good deal, it may be a waste of money if you can’t sell it afterward or leave it to rust.

Plan equipment based on the project 

Always plan what equipment you need based on the project, since otherwise, you will encounter lots of problems. For example, you may buy a chainsaw, but your project doesn’t need any wood carved. Or, may have a concrete mixer but you don’t need this building material at all. 

Keep in mind that everything starts from the project and carefully planning what each of its phases needs to complete the work. If you need certain equipment for only one thing, then you better rent it instead of buying it. Every problem you encounter from inappropriate planning of equipment means breaking deadlines and additional expenses. 

Will you need the equipment again?

Before you buy equipment, ask yourself one question: will you need it again. Quality tools are expensive and it may be a waste of money to get them if you will use them only once. If you buy equipment, you have to make room to store it. But if you don’t use it at all, it turns into junk, cluttering your garage or shed.

Renting equipment includes a one-time cost, which is lower than a purchase price, and doesn’t need storage space. You have nothing to do with the equipment when you return it to its owner — no maintenance, no repairs. 

Go to professionals

When it comes to large and bulky equipment, you need to take into account safety at work above all else. This means that if you don’t know how to operate certain vehicles and machinery, you shouldn’t buy them in the first place. For example, forklift rental services come with a professional operator that can start working the moment they arrive on the site. 

To maintain your project schedule and avoid unwanted expenses, renting is better than buying equipment and paying a salary to a new employee who operates it. Even training your current employees to use it is time-consuming and will still cut your manpower short.

Consider maintenance

Owning equipment means you have a certain responsibility to keep it in good shape and operational. This also suggests additional costs for annual maintenance, repairs, upgrades, and proper care. While insuring your equipment can cover the costs of certain repairs, it doesn’t mean a lot if you can’t finish the project in time.

But renting is not without obligation. If you decide to operate equipment by yourself, you will have to take care of any malfunctions or damages while in your possession. This may not be the case if you rent manpower along with equipment since the owner guarantees the agreed services. 

Take location into account

If you do work in another town or state, you may have to pay a lot to transport equipment from one place to another. This, of course, depends on the type of equipment, but in most cases, you need to take safety precautions and use special vehicles to move equipment around. Gas and hauling large equipment can be expensive, especially if your construction site is considerably far away from the storage.

That doesn’t mean that renting equipment, in this case, will go smoothly. When there are no renting companies in the area of your construction site, you will have to find the closest one available. The potential renter can be as closest as the next town, so you need to see whether they deliver equipment. In that situation, you need to decide what is more affordable and logistically convenient.   

Think of equipment availability

Rentals construction equipment don’t come without risk. In some instances, the equipment you need may not be available. So, owning equipment may be a good idea if you work in an area with scarce renting companies and options. Moreover, you can’t rely on the good previous cooperation with the rental company, since they can’t afford to wait for you to rent their equipment. 

In some special circumstances, for example, when you have steady work and projects one after another, you may be able to sign a contract with the rental company. While this depends on many factors, it’s a viable possibility you can explore. 

In the end

Buying vs. renting construction equipment may be one of the most pressing matters before starting a project. The most important thing is not to rush in and consider all your options, pros, and cons before making a purchase or entering a rental agreement. Acting with best interests to get the job done in time and within budget should be the main, but not the only reason to come to a decision. 

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