Hiring vs purchasing: which is best?

15th August 2019

Hiring vs purchasing: which is best?, RVT Group

When it comes to providing the right hazard-control equipment for your project, it may seem logical to purchase everything that you need, knowing that you are investing in long-term equipment for your company. Alternatively, the comparative costs and convenience of hiring can be appealing. So which way should you go? There are lots of factors to consider in making the final decision, so we've put this article together to help you decide what's best for you.

Factor 1: Which makes most financial sense?
The biggest driver of a hire/buy decision is usually the question of cost. Arriving at the overall cost is rarely straightforward, so we've broken down what needs to be thought about:

What should you always buy?
Buying certain types of equipment will generally make better financial sense. It makes sense to buy rather than hire basic items of Personal Protective Equipment, such as safety glasses and helmets, because they are comparatively low value and they're universally applicable to most projects. Many companies also like to invest in branded PPE (high-vis vests for example) to meet their H&S obligations and to promote their brand simultaneously. Additionally, anything that will form a permanent fixture of your health and safety provision, such as COSHH compliant cabinets or scaffolding safety nets, can be purchased outright for a competitive price.

The case for hiring
However, when it comes to high quality or specialist equipment, hiring has advantages for a range of reasons. While buying would provide budgetary simplicity, purchasing such equipment can actually carry many hidden costs arising from depreciation, insurance, financing, delivery, maintenance and servicing. Statutory inspections, such as LOLER, also need to be factored in, plus hours wasted within procurement, accounts and finance departments.

When all the hidden costs are totalled up and then compared to A) how many days/weeks you'll need the equipment for and B) what the rental rate is, hiring specialist equipment will often make financial sense.

Factor 2: What will give you the best choice?
Once you've purchased a piece of equipment, you've committed to it. But, with constant progressions in technology, it's better to use the latest and most accurate devices and systems to ensure maximum effectiveness. Hiring gives the flexibility to pursue customised solutions that are exactly right and include the latest innovations.

If looking to purchase, it's important to source equipment of an adequate quality and performance to provide real protection. You can sometimes pick up reduced pro-grade equipment but the latest models are rarely discounted, and some professional equipment is not available to the general public, so you might have to settle for second best if purchasing.

Factor 3: Which is the safest option?
Owning equipment can sometimes be of benefit to on-site safety. Site staff will feel more confident using certain types of equipment if they are very familiar with using them. Buying repeated-use items (like harnesses for example) means that the item's history will be known alongside the replacement date. On the flipside, reputable hire companies provide a full demonstration of equipment offered, so you won't be left figuring out correct usage for yourself.

When choosing to hire, you can access the latest equipment, and, most importantly, ensure that the equipment is tailored to the specific nature of the hazard on every site and location. It's surprisingly difficult to purchase the latest industrial grade machines directly, and this can lead to inferior product use. By hiring through a company such as RVT, you'll be able to access the most up-to-date and certified hazard control technology available.

When hiring cutting-edge professional equipment, you'll also benefit from enhanced legal self-defence if the equipment is used correctly. This might not be the case if you buy cheaper equipment that gives false readings or lesser levels of protection.

Factor 4: What practicalities do you need to consider?
There are a few practicalities to consider too. Following on from the section above, unfamiliar equipment can slow down progress on site. If staff need to learn about newly hired equipment, this time will need to be factored into your budgets. Also, you'll need to think about scheduling – if you will be using a certain item sporadically throughout the duration of the build, it might be better to purchase that item outright. Hiring in this instance could lead to you spending more than necessary for repeated rental periods.

In terms of other practicalities, hiring removes the need to organise and maintain equipment storage. RVT delivers exactly what's needed directly to site and organises collection when the task is completed. And, by choosing to hire, you'll be saving your team time in managing and maintaining the equipment, freeing them up to focus on the work itself.

Additionally, by hiring from a reputable company, you'll benefit from tailored advice on how best to control the hazards for each project.

So, as we've demonstrated, choosing to hire or buy is rarely as straightforward as it seems.

Hiring provides flexibility, access to the best equipment and potential cost savings, and takes away the hassle of storage and maintenance. On the other hand, purchasing allows you to invest in equipment that you'll use repeatedly, and familiarity of use can be of benefit on a busy site.

If you do choose to hire your hazard-control equipment, let us help you to plan what's needed. Our team will guide you through the best ways to achieve your H&S goals and will even help you to set up and use your equipment. We don't just provide equipment, but solutions too, and can walk you through every step of your on-site hazard control plan.



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