"Having several different applications is one of the reasons so many of our customers rent," asserts Roesener. "Contractors who rent, though, have to be assured about delivery time. A lift that shows up two hours late on a job translates into costly downtime."
According to Schneider, three factors greatly affect the decision to rent vs. buy: the availability of the desired configuration, rental rates, and length of intended use. "Certain machine configurations are rare and may require purchase since they won't likely be found in the typical rental fleet," he elaborates. "Even though current rental rates favor renting, if the intent is to use the machine for an extended time, then the purchase option would likely be best."
Today's market, however, doesn't favor owning from a continuous-use standpoint, Eccles asserts. "Fifty nine percent of our scissor lift rentals are for less than one week. The average weekly rental on a scissor is $240 with $65 delivery and $65 pick-up. Service on the unit and available exchange in the event it fails on the job are included in the rental fee. So the weekly rental cost comes to $370," he notes.
"If a contractor doesn't have his own transport, it can cost upwards of $100/hour for transport to and from the jobsite, not even considering the maintenance costs if that, too, is contracted out," he continues. "Often, contractors have two or three short-term projects, and owning a unit would multiply transport costs. The alternative would be to own a couple of lifts, one for each job. This would tie up capital dollars on equipment that would only be partially utilized."
The drill is the same whether a contractor is renting a unit or buying one, says Hindman. There's a lift for every application, thanks to the wide variety of products on the market today. Reviewing needs, looking at jobsite parameters and asking the right questions before selecting a machine can save, in his words, "a whole lot of time and trouble on the job."