Published On: Wed, May 19th, 2021

Tips On Making The Decision Of Whether To Buy Or Rent Power Tools For Your Project

Everyone uses power tools. They’re used at home to make simple repairs. They’re used in business to do your job. But some tools are more commonly used than others. And some homes and businesses have more storage space than others. When you’re in need of a specific power tool, you might ask yourself whether it makes more sense to purchase it or rent it.

It’s a very good question to ask. Whether it’s for personal use or for your business, buying isn’t always the best option. But before you totally take buying it off the table, it is important to consider the pros and cons of both renting and buying so you can make the best decision for your bottom line.

photo/ Skeeze via pixabay

What is the cost to rent vs.buy?

One of the first factors to consider is what it would cost to rent the tool and to buy it. For example, if you can rent an electric deck crawler for $800 for four weeks, compared to buying it for $1,800, and you’re only using it once, renting is clearly the better choice. You’d save $1,000 just on the cost, not to mention storage and maintenance costs when you own the tool.

Sometimes this is the only question you need to ask. But if the costs to rent and buy are close to the same or you’re still not sure for other reasons, there are other questions.

How often will you use the tool?

It makes sense to buy a tool that you’ll use every day or even every other day. But if you only need to use a tool once or once every three months or once a year, it might make more sense to rent it.

How long is the tool’s estimated useful life? How many times would you need to use it during that time to break even on the cost to buy it? Would you use it at least that many times? If not, you should rent. If, however, you would use it enough times to at least break even, or even to make a profit, it might make more sense to buy it.

How will you transport and store the tool?

Some tools are small and easy to transport and store. Others are larger and require more space and work to transport and store them. Do you have the space and required equipment to both transport and store the tool safely? If not, you’ll need to include the cost of obtaining those things when calculating the purchase price of the tool.

If you rent the tool, however, you don’t need to worry about storage or transportation. Transportation to the job site is often part of the rental agreement and provided by the company you’re renting from. You may need to store the tool on a short-term basis if you’re using it for more than a single day, but this short-term storage is often much easier to manage than the long-term storage required if you purchase the tool.

Can it be billed to a job?

Sometimes you’ll need a specialized tool for a specific job and you’ll be able to bill it to the job. For example, you may need an electric deck crawler when you’re hired to remove scales and surface paint before repainting a ship’s deck. In this case, the decision to rent or buy may be based on the estimate you’ve provided for the job and the job’s overall budget. If there’s enough room in the budget to buy the tool, you might choose to buy it and have it in your inventory for future similar jobs.

But if the budget is tight, you might rent it to avoid having to go over the estimate you provided. You might also choose to rent it if the job is a one-time job and you don’t know that you’ll ever need the tool again.

How much maintenance does the tool require?

Oil changes, rebuilding motors, changing hoses, greasing bearings and other periodic maintenance is going to increase the cost of ownership. Then there’s the cost of unexpected maintenance, such as replacing or repairing things when the tool is broken or damaged. The cost of ownership is far more than just the initial purchase price.

There’s also the time that needs to be invested into that maintenance. If your budget doesn’t allow for those kinds of maintenance expenses, or you don’t have the time or staff to maintain the tool, renting may be a better option. The company you rent from will take care of all the maintenance and you’ll just need to worry about consumables, such as gas, sanding discs and belts, etc.

Are there any tax incentives or other ways you can make buying it more affordable?

Sometimes there’s a tax incentive for buying the tool. Alternatively, you might be able to find other ways of making the tool more affordable. You might be able to find a lower interest rate on a loan to make it easier to buy the tool.

Another option to offset the cost of purchasing the tool is to rent it out to others. This does require making sure you have appropriate insurances and ensuring the funds are there to cover operating costs.

Is availability an issue?

When you need to use a tool, you need to be able to use it. You can’t afford to wait weeks or months for the tool to be available. Ask rental companies how readily available the tool you’re considering is. If there’s never an issue with being able to rent that tool, then renting shouldn’t be a problem.

On the other hand, if that tool is frequently completely rented out and it might be days, weeks, or months before it will be available to rent, you’d be better off buying it. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing that it will be there, ready for you to use, at a moment’s notice.

What about safety equipment

Safety goggles, gloves, respirators, hearing protection and harnesses are just a few pieces of safety equipment you might need, depending on the tool. If you purchase the tool, you’ll probably also need to purchase the safety equipment. You’ll need to check with the rental company to find out if they include the safety equipment in the rental price. If they don’t, calculate the extra expenses of buying or renting the safety equipment to the tool rental to make sure you’re comparing costs appropriately.

You may have other factors and questions that you use to make this decision, but these questions are some of the basics. With these questions, you should be able to make your decision with confidence.

Author: Brenda Vollman

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