Is it Better to Lease or Buy Your Construction Equipment?

In the world of construction, a man is only as good as his tools and the various types of construction equipment are the most important tools on the jobsite. Diggers, bulldozers, scissor lifts, and even attachments like digger buckets, grabs and grapples – all of these allow a single construction worker to do the work of ten men in a tenth of the time.

For any construction company or contractor to be successful, they must have the appropriate construction equipment available at a moment’s notice. So should these businesses and individuals buy all of the equipment outright? Or is it smarter to lease it on an as needed basis? There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each choice.

Pros and Cons of Buying Construction Equipment

If a company or contractor has the capital, it is wise to buy construction equipment outright. This makes availability and convenience a non-issue, as the equipment is always ready at any time for any jobsite that needs it. Operators can learn and master a specific machine instead of learning the quirks of a number of different ones, which will result in increased productivity and ultimately an increased bottom line.

As mentioned earlier, though, capital is key. Owning a machine means that the business or individual is responsible for transportation, storage and (most of all) maintenance. There are a lot of costs associated with owning construction equipment aside from just the initial cost.

Where capital is limited, you will have to make decisions on which construction equipment you purchase. Heavy construction vehicles cost a lot of money, but hand-operated onsite equipment can be a lot cheaper. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should focus on buying all the small-medium priced equipment. For example, a plasma cutter might seem like a good purchase because they’re relatively inexpensive, but if you only use it sparingly then it might be a waste of money.

Pros and Cons of Leasing Construction Equipment

If a construction company or contractor has a more sporadic workload, leasing may be the best option when it comes to construction equipment. Leasing is a much more cost-effective option in these situations because the company doesn’t have to worry about storing the machine during downtime, transporting the machine to a jobsite or even performing all the routine maintenance associated with construction equipment — the leasing company will handle all of this. In addition, since there are so many different types of construction equipment, only leasing the machines needed for a specific job for a set amount of time is a lot cheaper than buying all the different machines outright.

Of course, over time, the cost of leasing equipment may really start to add up. Another downside is the fact that the construction company may have to wait for equipment to be available and finish the job within a certain timeframe in order to reduce leasing costs and get the equipment back on schedule. Finally, some less-than-honest leasing companies promise a lot more than they deliver. Finding the right company to lease from will of course negate a lot of these issues, but they’re important for a construction company or contractor to be aware of before making the decision to lease.