How to make the Rent or Buy Decision

You’re in need of a new tool. Regardless of what type of tool it is, you’re left with the buy or rent decision. Let’s look at the determining factors for deciding whether it is right to buy it or rent it for your particular situation. We’ll also provide some of the more common examples of tools people rent instead of buying them.

Determine How Often You Would Use It 

One of the simplest calculations to make to determine whether or not you should rent or buy a tool is the economic one. How much does it cost to buy? How much does it cost to rent? And before you decide you have to buy it because of the steep rental rate, divide that purchase price by how many times you would realistically use the tool in its life. It makes sense to buy a snow blower if you’ll be using it 30 times or more every winter. It doesn’t make sense to buy a backhoe that you may never use again. 

Don’t forget to take related accessories and equipment into account. For example, you don’t just buy a backhoe. It needs a trailer, too, to be transported to the work site. That can add 20 to 50 percent to the cost of the total purchase. And it adds up to be enough that many dedicated contractors choose to rent them, not own them. 

Estimate the Productivity Benefits 

Be honest about the productivity benefits that may go into the buy versus rent decision. It can be obvious when you’re buying industrial lights to add hours to the workday for your team. However, not all tools provide the same, massive boost in productivity. For example, a floor washer is only worth it if you’re cleaning massive floors on a daily or weekly basis. The labor savings isn’t worth it if you’re only rinsing your own kitchen floor. Electric versions of hand tools may run faster, but they aren’t worth buying if you don’t use them very often. The only possible exception to this is if your own declining health makes it impossible to use hand tools but you can continue to use electric versions. 

The Maintenance Requirements Versus Your Skillset 

Don’t buy tools you don’t know how to maintain. In the case of lawnmowers and chainsaws, most of us know how to add gas or recharge the batteries. Replacing dull blades or dead spark plugs, however, is dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t buy a tool that you don’t know how to maintain it long-term. On the flipside, a pool skimmer is often worth buying because you’ll have to clean the filter nearly every day anyway, and most of us have the skillset to replace worn wheels or leaking hoses. 

The Tool’s Size Versus Your Available Space 

Tools you need to rent not buy are those you simply can’t afford to keep long term. For example, you may not have the space to store a full sized wood chipper though you may use it once or twice a year. And let’s be honest; most of us aren’t going to need diggers and dumpers on a regular basis. Rent them, not buy them. Then you don’t need to find secure parking for them to prevent their theft. 

If you already have storage sheds packed with items, you don’t want to ruin the equipment leaving it sitting in the backyard. Conversely, a small multi-meter or soldering kit may be worth buying though you may not use it very much, since it isn’t hard to find a place to store it. 

You also have to take any supporting equipment into account. For example, owning a portable generator may require stocking up on gas or getting a trailer you can use to transport it to the work site. If you can use the item as a backup power source for your home or business, then it may be worth it.