When Should I Rent Tools Instead of Buying Them?

A Rent vs. Purchase Case Study: A pressure washer is readily available from an equipment rental yard.  The first time I needed one, in order to save on the rental fee, I borrowed a pressure washer from another handyman.  He instructed me in all the intricacies of getting it started.  After pulling the cord about 20 times and fiddling with the controls, it finally started and I got the job done.  Whew!

The next time, I rented a machine at a cost of $60.  It also proved difficult to start, but even worse, after about 10 minutes it quit and refused to start again!  I hauled it back to the rental store for a replacement and finally finished the job.  It took me twice as long as I had planned.  Time lost equals money lost.

I decided to buy my own machine.  Purchased online it arrived at my doorstep for about $400.  It was shiny and new and had a Honda engine.  That engine started on the first pull and has never let me down.

Rent vs. buy?  If you need the machine frequently, buy it.  Think of it as an investment instead of an expense!  If you’re only going to use a machine once or twice a year, rent it and cross your fingers.

I have recovered the cost of my pressure washer by charging a $45 machine fee on every pressure washing job I do.  The fee covers gas, maintenance and wear and tear. You could easily do the same with any specialized equipment that you use.

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