Contractors who only occasionally need to pull up a floor using a ride-on floor scraper tend to stick to renting machines for the obvious cost savings. …But is there really a cost savings?
While logic might dictate that someone who removes flooring multiple times a week could justify the expense of owning his machine, the truth is that buying one might be a much better investment than you realize. (If you're all ready to buy, check out our 2 Factors that Make a Solid Ride-On Floor Scraper to make sure you're making the best decision possible.)
Our goal isn’t to say that either renting or buying is fundamentally better than the other. What we instead want to draw attention to is when one is more economical than the other choice. There are upsides to both approaches and a lot of confusion about each. We want to make the distinction more clear.
Arguably the biggest reason to buy or rent a floor scraper is the amount you use the machine (which relates directly to what you are paying for it).
It makes sense that the less you use a machine on jobs, the less return on investment you will find.
But the breaking point at which it becomes more economical to own your machine is much different than most contractors realize.
Here we’ll highlight the benefits and disadvantages of both buying or renting your equipment; and when one might be better than the other.
Pros of Renting
The reason a lot of contractors stick with renting and avoid buying is the general thought that they’re saving money. In certain circumstances (like using the machine less than once a month), there are definitely opportunities to save money.
In addition to financial savings for infrequent use, not having to pay for upkeep, damages, or the storage of a machine can be significant factors in a contractor’s decisions. Not only that, but getting to rent newer models is more likely to happen if you don’t own your equipment.
Cons of Renting
The downside to renting is that it really doesn’t save money if you rent too frequently. If your business is growing in a way that incorporates more and more floor-scraping, renting probably isn’t worth your while.
As with all forms of lending and borrowing libraries, you aren’t quite sure what condition the thing you’re borrowing is going to be in. Someone else’s misuse might end up costing you money and headache in having to deal with an imperfect machine.
The time spent picking up and dropping off the ride-on with every rental may also prove to be a burden if done all the time.
Pros of Buying
Contrary to popular belief, buying a floor scraper can actually be much cheaper than most people think—if you use it often enough. This will vary for each contractor, but like we said: on average, a daily rental is the same as a monthly payment on a floor scraper. So if you’re getting jobs that involve more than a single day of floor scraping monthly, this machine could be paying for itself.
Becoming familiar with your exact machine is also a huge benefit many contractors wouldn’t give up. There’s less time spent with figuring out a new machine than actually getting the job done.
Cons of Buying
If you don’t use your machine regularly, the cost of owning, storing, and maintaining a ride-on scraper is going to outweigh the money it helps you bring in.
If floor scraping isn’t currently a big part of your monthly operations (or on its way to being so), it might not be worth the investment.
Which is right for me?
At the end of the day, only you can know what will be best for you based on how much business you are bringing in and what your demands are.
If it helps, think of a floor scraper like buying a car:
If you only plan on driving to the grocery store once a month, a taxi or the city bus is going to be far more economical. But if you are planning day-trips all the time and see the ability to travel as a necessity, buying could be more worthwhile. Once your car is paid off, there are only minor operating expenses that will increase the amount of take-home you get with every job.
We’ve tried hard to be objective because every scenario is different. For some contractors, renting is best, and for others, buying is the way to go.
If you need more advice or a detailed analysis, give us a shout. We can guide you in the right direction towards what’s going to earn your business more money.