Renting vs. Buying Equipment


From street sweepers and asphalt pavers, to hydro vacs and sewer cleaners — the big question is should you rent or buy equipment? For both large and small municipalities, it can be challenging to decide which is the best option. Here are some components you will need to consider when making the decision to rent or buy…


Renting vs. Buying Equipment

  • Frequency – How often will you use it?
    • This may be the most important question — how often will you need to use the equipment? If you expect to use it daily (or at least on a regular basis), it makes sense to buy. If you expect only to use the equipment for a limited time, renting may be your best option. The risk of renting is that even if you don’t use the machine, you’ll still have to pay to have it in your possession. Take a moment to analyze your past and future projects to determine the frequency of usage.
  • Versatility – What can it be used for? 
    • Is the equipment versatile or is it used for just one type of project? If you’re considering a specialized piece of equipment that is only used for one job, you may not be able to justify a full-on purchase of the equipment. When buying equipment, you want to get the full lifetime value of it for it to payoff. However, if it’s a piece of equipment that can do various jobs on a variety of projects, it may be in your best interest to buy it. 
  • Availability – When can you use it?
    • Another thing to consider is the availability of equipment. When you buy, you’ll have the convenience of having the equipment ready to use at a moment’s notice. Whereas, when you’re renting, you’ll have the potential risk of the piece of equipment that you need not being available. This may hinder your project’s schedule and productivity. But, it’s important to remember that when renting, you’ll typically have access to a full-fleet of equipment that is up-to-date and can work on a number of projects at any time.
  • Management – Who will take care of it?
    • Think about if you have the resources to maintain, repair, and store the equipment. Do you have the skills and time to maintain it all on your own? If so, you can save money by buying. On the flip side, it’s nice to know you can rely on industry experts to maintain the equipment when renting so you don’t have to.
  • Financially – How much will it cost?
    • When it comes to renting vs. buying, the cost is a major factor in the decision-making process. To help make that decision, you’ll need to consider your budget for equipment. Renting typically has more flexibility for small budgets, but keep in mind that the incremental pricing can add up over a period of time. When buying, you have to commit to a large one-time payment, which makes sense if you plan to use the equipment often. When comparing the two options, don’t forget to consider additional costs for the upkeep like maintenance and even fuel. 


Pros and Cons of Renting vs. Buying Equipment


  • Pros
    • Lower initial cost
    • Use only when you need it
    • Maintenance handled by someone else
    • Access to a newer, more diverse range of equipment
  • Cons
    • Not under your ownership
    • Incremental pricing can add up
    • Possibility of equipment not being available when you need it
    • If your project schedule changes, you may be paying to rent unused equipment


  • Pros
    • Your ownership
    • Greater payoff if used frequently
    • Equipment is on-hand and available when you need it
    • Less downtime
    • Option to sell when you don’t need it anymore
  • Cons
    • One large down payment
    • Possibility of it not getting used enough to get full lifetime value
    • The commitment of maintaining, repairing, and storing it
    • May limit capital for future investments/purchases


Check Out Rose Equipment

Whether you’ve made the decision to rent or buy (or if you’re not sure yet), visit us at Rose Equipment in Lincoln, NE. We sell new, used, and rental equipment all in one convenient location. We can help you find exactly what you’re looking for with a solution within your budget. Before your next municipal or construction project, contact us at 402-467-5988!