Posted on: February 6, 2019 1:47 pm

Buying vs. Renting Equipment for Landscaping

One of the toughest decisions for landscaping contractors is whether to buy or rent equipment. With renting, you enjoy lower initial costs, flexible scheduling and access to the newest and best equipment. With buying, your equipment is always available when you need it, and you can save money in the long run. The right choice for your business will depend on your unique needs and available budget. For many companies, a combination of buying and renting equipment may be the perfect solution. We will compare buying vs. renting heavy equipment and discuss a few factors that may help you make the best decision for your landscaping business.

Consider Your Equipment Needs and Available Budget

Equipment Needs vs Budget

When weighing the benefits of buying vs. renting equipment for your landscaping company several factors can help guide your decision. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering the right solution for your company:

  • What equipment do you need? For most companies, it is smart to purchase smaller equipment and hand tools that you use on a regular basis, such as shovels, saws, rakes, shears, chainsaws, blowers and power washers. This equipment is low-cost and easy to store. Larger equipment that you use for almost every job, such as mowers, skid steer loaders, mini-excavators or compact wheel loaders, may also be a smart investment.
  • How often will you use the equipment? Frequency of use is an important factor to consider when weighing the costs of buying or renting equipment. In general, if you use a piece of equipment 60 to 70 percent of the time, it is probably time to buy. Buying equipment you use often can save money over time, while renting equipment you only use for a few jobs a year may be a smarter financial choice.
  • How long will you need the equipment? If you anticipate using a certain piece of equipment for several years, it may be smart to purchase. Rental fees can add up over time and cancel out the upfront cost savings.
  • What is the maintenance burden? When you buy your own equipment, your team is responsible for inspecting and maintaining the equipment. If your equipment requires frequent maintenance or expensive repairs, you may suffer greater downtime and higher expenses. When you rent, all maintenance and inspections are taken care of by your rental partner.
  • Can you affordably maintain, store and transport the equipment? If your team has the skills necessary to inspect and maintain your own equipment, transport it to jobs and store it safely during downtime, buying equipment may be the right choice. If these operating expenses put too much burden on your business, you may want to continue renting.
  • How much budget do you have available? Use your best judgment to determine how much you can spend on buying and renting equipment and how much you want to keep in the bank. Before tying up all of your available resources in shiny, new heavy equipment, make sure you have some money saved for maintenance, repairs and emergencies. If you have enough cash to confidently purchase equipment upfront, you can reduce your ongoing expenses and enjoy the benefits of ownership.

When answering these questions, be sure to gather some data to determine the most cost-effective solution for your landscaping business. Compare the cost of a new piece of equipment with your estimated rental payments and how often you anticipate renting the equipment. Factor in estimated maintenance costs, storage and transportation expenses and the cost of labor. Look for the solution that will save you the most on costs, labor and downtime.

Benefits of Buying Landscaping Equipment

Why Buy Landscaping Equipment

Buying landscaping equipment can provide several benefits for your company. Your equipment will always be ready when you need it, and you can invest in the perfect model for your company’s needs. When you purchase your equipment up front, you can enjoy fewer ongoing payments and lower cost in the long run. When your company is already equipped with the right equipment for the job, you can win more projects and earn a reputation for reliability. Here are a few benefits to buying landscaping equipment:

  • Ready when you need it: Buying landscaping equipment ensures that you always have it available right when you need it, instead of depending on a rental company to show up on time. Always having your equipment on hand can save you downtime and the hassle of coordinating drop-off and pick-up times. If you finish a project early or run behind schedule, you do not have to worry about adjusting a rental period when you own your equipment.
  • Choose the right equipment for your needs: When purchasing equipment, you can choose the exact model and features your business needs. With new, used and certified used options available, you can find landscaping equipment that fits your budget, too.
  • Helps you win jobs: By boasting an inventory of equipment to get the job done, you have a leg up on your competition. While other companies must rely on a rental partner having the equipment they need when they need it, you can enter bids with confidence that your equipment is always ready and available.
  • Saves money in the long run: Buying essential equipment that you use often, such as tillers and excavators, can save money over time. If you keep your equipment well-maintained, you can enjoy a long lifespan and decent resale value if you choose to upgrade in the future.
  • Enjoy less ongoing payments: If you can pay in full for your landscaping equipment, you can enjoy lower monthly expenses. Instead of budgeting for sometimes hefty rental fees, you can shift your attention to operating costs and equipment maintenance.

When you buy equipment from Caterpillar®, you also enjoy the confidence of knowing that you are buying from the best in the industry. Our new equipment is engineered for exceptional power, durability and fuel efficiency. Our diverse inventory of Cat® landscaping equipment and work tool attachments means you can find the exact size and model that your landscaping company needs to get the job done right. Our certified used equipment must pass a rigorous 140-point inspection process and is repaired with genuine Cat parts, so you get quality equipment you can trust at a price that suits your budget.

Drawbacks of Buying Landscaping Equipment

Cons of Renting Landscaping Equipment

Buying landscaping equipment may not be the right choice if you are a new or growing landscaping company. The high initial cost of buying new equipment and having the necessary storage, transportation and maintenance capabilities can be a hurdle for smaller landscaping contractors. Here are a few drawbacks of buying landscaping equipment:

  • Costly up front: Buying equipment can be a significant upfront investment, depending on how much and what kind of equipment you need. When deciding to purchase equipment, make sure you have extra room in your budget in case unexpected expenses come up.
  • Storage space: Owning your equipment means you need somewhere to store it. While smaller hand and power tools can be stored easily, you will also need a safe and secure storage space for heavy equipment so it is not left out in the freezing cold or blazing sun. If you do not have your own storage facility, renting storage space can be costly.
  • Transportation: In addition to safely storing your equipment, you must be able to transport it to and from job sites in a cost-effective way. If your landscaping company owns trailers and trucks, you will only have to worry about fuel costs. If not, you may need to rent trailers, which could end up counteracting what you saved from buying in the first place.
  • Maintenance and repairs: Unless you have a maintenance crew that can keep your equipment in operating condition, you will need to have your equipment serviced regularly by a mechanic. You will also need to pay for any necessary repairs when you own your landscape equipment. However, if you have a team of skilled mechanics, performing your own maintenance, inspections and repairs can actually save you money.
  • Depreciation: As your equipment experiences wear and tear, it will lose value over time. If you plan to resell your equipment in the future, you could lose some of what you invested initially.

For larger landscaping companies or contractors with a steady job flow, investing in your own landscaping equipment can save money and time in the long run. For smaller companies or for equipment you do not use often, renting may be a better choice.

Benefits of Renting Landscaping Equipment

Renting landscaping equipment can be a flexible and affordable option. Rental equipment can be used to boost your workforce during the busy season or offer specialty performance for a competitive edge. When you rent, you can enjoy the newest equipment for a lower cost and no long-term commitment. Here are a few benefits of renting landscape equipment:

  • Enjoy a lower upfront cost: Buying heavy equipment can be costly, and it may take several years to save up for the equipment you want. Rental fees can be much less expensive up front and cut costs for equipment you only use intermittently.
  • Keep up during the busy season: In most regions, landscaping contractors see seasonal fluctuations and enjoy a boost of job offers in the spring and summer. You may also experience an unexpected job increase if the market is doing well in your area. Renting additional equipment can allow you to keep up during busy periods with a smaller investment than buying.
  • Meet short deadlines: Even if your team is fast and efficient, you could end up behind schedule due to bad weather or other unexpected delays. Renting an additional piece of equipment can allow you to catch up and meet short deadlines while impressing your clients and earning a reputation for reliability.
  • Fulfill short-term equipment needs: If you want to take on a job offer, but do not have the equipment you need, rental equipment can be used to supplement your workforce. Whether the job requires a few additional excavators or a heavy-duty dozer, short-term rentals allow you to access the equipment you need to take on any job. With no long-term commitment, renting allows you the flexibility to access equipment you need only when you need it.
  • Benefit from specialty equipment: Renting specialty equipment allows your team to up their game and offer specialty performance to outbid your competitors. Instead of working with what you have available, renting landscaping equipment allows you to do the job even better by using the precise equipment you need.
  • Gain a competitive edge: If your company can afford to purchase the newest and best equipment, that can be a serious advantage for your business. However, if you do not have the funds to buy cutting edge equipment, you can earn your competitive edge by renting new equipment from a reliable rental partner. When your small landscaping company can access the same top-notch equipment as the big guys, you can win more jobs.
  • Enjoy flexible scheduling: Renting allows you to use equipment for days, weeks or months, depending on how long you need it to tackle a job. When you work with a reliable rental partner, you can trust them to drop-off your equipment right at the scheduled time and pick it up when the job is done.
  • Save time on maintenance: Rental equipment will be inspected, serviced and repaired by your rental partner, saving you time and money. When you can trust that your rented equipment is in tip-top shape, you also enjoy greater peace of mind.
  • Enjoy easy transportation: Your rental partner will deliver your equipment to the job site and pick it up when the job is done. When you do not have to coordinate transportation for heavy landscaping equipment, you save time, money and labor.
  • Trust in compliant and safe equipment: Renting landscape equipment ensures that it will be properly inspected and compliant with all of your state’s regulations. Rental companies can also provide instructions for safe operation to keep your employees protected.
  • Gain industry and equipment knowledge: When you partner with a quality rental company, they can provide in-depth industry knowledge and tips for operating their rental equipment to use its full capabilities. Your rental partner can help you select the perfect equipment for the job and provide invaluable tips for success in the landscaping industry.

For equipment you only use now and then, renting can be the perfect option to access this equipment affordably. When you rent from Caterpillar, you can enjoy the newest and best landscape equipment on the market for however long as you need it. Enjoy the benefits of powerful and precise equipment delivered to your job site right on time. Our extensive inventory of rental equipment makes it easy to find the equipment necessary to tackle a busy landscaping season or take on a complicated job.

Drawbacks of Renting Landscaping Equipment

Renting is an excellent option for companies with a smaller budget or when you need a piece of equipment for a specific job or task. However, renting can pose a few challenges if you choose the wrong rental partner or fail to plan for your equipment rentals. Here are a few possible drawbacks of renting landscaping equipment:

  • Competition from other contractors: During the busy season, you may compete with other local contractors who are trying to rent the same equipment as you. If you do not plan ahead, the equipment you want may not be available when you need it, especially if you are looking for a top brand like Caterpillar.
  • Availability of equipment: When buying equipment, you can select the exact model and features you want, but with renting you may have more limited options.
  • Reliability of your rental company: If your rental company is not efficient and on-time, you may experience costly downtime while you wait for your equipment to show up at the site. Look for a trustworthy rental partner that offers prompt delivery of equipment and reliable service.

By choosing the right rental partner, you can trust them to deliver well-maintained and high-quality equipment right on schedule. When you rent from Caterpillar, we offer all of this and more — Our rental equipment offers cutting-edge technology so you can maximize your team’s productivity. Our powerful Cat engines are designed for exceptional fuel efficiency and our equipment is made for durability. When you rent from Caterpillar, our team can offer expert tips to boost your team’s productivity and maximize the benefits of using high-quality Cat equipment.

Partner With Caterpillar to Rent or Buy Landscaping Equipment

Buy or Rent Cat Landscaping Equipment

Whether you decide to rent, buy or use a combination of both, you can satisfy all of your landscaping equipment needs at Alban CAT. As an authorized Cat dealer in the Mid-Atlantic and D.C. Metro areas, we carry a complete selection of new and used Cat equipment, as well as a large inventory of landscape equipment for rent. We offer rugged and durable Cat equipment for any job, including excavators, dozers, skid steers, compactors, tillers, backhoes and more. Browse our inventory to find the perfect equipment for your landscaping needs or contact us to learn more about the benefits of buying or renting landscape equipment from Alban CAT.

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