Buying vs. Renting vs. Leasing: What’s the Best Option?

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Buy? Rent? Lease? Which one works best for you.

Here’s the big question for many aerial work platform (AWP) operators: Should I buy, rent or lease my equipment? Does any method have huge advantages over the others? What are the pros and cons of each?

Whether you want to add an extra lift to your existing equipment lineup or acquire an entirely different AWP fleet, each of the three options can help. But, they could also negatively impact your business, depending on how much you spend and where your business is, finance-wise.

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Pros and Cons of Buying a New Aerial Work Platform

Pro: Asset acquisition and ownership. Much like every other hard asset, owning an aerial lift gives your business added value. Plus, as an owner, you may have additional benefits, such as direct manufacturer support.

Con: Possible debt. AWPs can be expensive, and if you’re not in a position to pay for a lift outright, the loan debt can really add up – or rather, subtract from your profit margins.

Hidden Costs of Buying an Aerial Work Platform

Once you buy an AWP, you will need to pay for any repairs or maintenance. You are also responsible for covering the cost of any training required to teach workers how to safely use an AWP.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Aerial Work Platform

Pro: Lower cost. Used AWPs are usually extensively tested and inspected before they are sold, and they offer affordable alternatives to new lifts.

Con: Wear and tear. The condition of a used AWP varies based on prior owner’s maintenance and repairs. If an owner ignored AWP maintenance and repairs, the lift’s condition may deteriorate quickly.

Hidden Costs of Buying a Used Aerial Work Platform

The hidden costs of buying a used AWP are the same as those associated with purchasing a new lift.

Pros and Cons of Renting an Aerial Work Platform

Pro: Unmatched flexibility. If you rent a lift, it’s hard to top the convenience. You use it, you return it, and you’re done.

Con: Repeat costs. Many times, companies need the exact same AWP they used for a job a few months earlier. Would it have been better to just buy or lease a lift, as opposed to the “repeat rent” costs?

Hidden Costs of Aerial Work Platform Rental

Delivery and pickup costs can add up quickly when you rent an AWP. Also, the distance between your worksite and a rental company’s facility can impact your total rental cost for an AWP. You may be charged a refueling fee if you do not return an AWP rental with a full fuel tank as well.

Can You Rent an Aerial Work Platform, Then Buy It?

Renting an AWP offers a golden opportunity to try a lift before you purchase it. In fact, if you rent an AWP and enjoy it, you can always buy the same lift at a later date.

Pros and Cons of Leasing an Aerial Work Platform

Pro: It’s the best possible combination between renting and owning. For those undecided types who definitely need an aerial lift or scissor lift, leasing is the best way to go.

Con: Lack of ownership. Think of a lease as a long-term rent. You avoid those repeat rental costs we discussed earlier, but after the term (18 months, three years, five years) ends, you’re left with a pretty significant expense sheet with no tangible asset to show for it. Many times, aerial lift lessees have inevitable regret when it’s time to return the equipment.

Hidden Costs of Leasing an Aerial Work Platform

Interest, taxes, administrative expenses, acquisition charges, and termination fees are among the hidden costs associated with AWPs. If your AWP has been damaged in any way, you may be responsible for various repair costs. You may also be required to pay an AWP security deposit.

The Bottom Line on Buying, Renting, or Leasing an Aerial Work Platform

There are pros and cons  with buying, renting, or leading an AWP, and you need to weigh these advantages and disadvantages closely. In doing so, you can make an informed decision about how to get an AWP for your worksite and maximize the value of your investment.

Whatever route you choose for acquiring an AWP, is your best bet for online AWP training. Our aerial lift, scissor lift, fall protection training and other courses are used by some of the best-known companies throughout the United States. Our course content is on-point with the latest OSHA safety regulations, so you’ll always be on top of everything. And best of all, our training is affordable and flexible.

Are you ready to experience the CMO difference? Our OSHA AWP specialists are here to help. Call our office at (602) 277-0615, or check out our contact page for more information. Thanks for reading the CMO blog!

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