Chapter 9: Benefits of Renting Versus Buying an Aerial Lift

It can be difficult to decide between buying and renting a lift. Most companies will come to a decision by looking at their expected usage over time. Businesses that will only use a lift once or twice a year may not benefit from purchasing and maintaining their own lift. However, those that rent the same equipment often might want to consider making a purchase.

Renting vs. Buying Lifts: Pros and Cons

If you are looking to use an aerial lift year-round, it may be sensible to purchase one instead of renting. But in the more likely case you will be using an aerial lift for only several days, weeks or months at a time, renting is the most cost-effective option. Compared to purchasing aerial lifts, renting can save you an average of 13%.

For example, purchasing a 19-foot Electric Scissor Lift costs between $12,000 and $14,000. In contrast, renting a 19-foot electric scissor lift will only cost:

  • Daily: $100-$150*
  • Weekly: $350-$500*
  • Monthly: $900-$1,200*

(*prices based on typical industry averages and not reflective of pricing at MacAllister Rentals)

While prices vary depending on the size of aerial lift you require, if you don’t need your lift on a regular basis, the benefits of renting equipment outweigh purchasing outright.

We’ve already learned a lot about the types of lifts that are common in the rental and used markets today. Now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, you can compare some of the pros and cons of renting vs. buying.

Pros of Renting Aerial Lifts

Pros of renting aerial lifts include:

  • Renters typically are not accountable for expenses such as maintenance, but some might be factored in the final rental price. Either way, you won’t have to worry as much about downtime because of an equipment breakdown or malfunction. You can often quickly exchange your unit for another lift rental and resume the job at hand.
  • Renting allows you to test different models to find the perfect lift. Investing in a lift can mean committing to that specific hardware for the long haul. Renting gives you freedom to return it to the rental company for specialized lifts, such as those meant for rough terrain.
  • Companies that depend on rental equipment can assign their operators to other areas during projects that don’t require such hardware. This is also a great way to offer additional time to your most valuable and multitalented employees.
  • Not all rental equipment is outfitted with next-generation technology, but these lifts are generally used more frequently and replaced sooner. This makes it possible to take advantage of more high-tech options at an affordable price.
  • Renters who face tight budget constraints can still get access to the necessary equipment. Many companies would struggle without the assistance of a local rental agency providing them with the equipment they need at a reasonable price.

lift rental benefits

Cons of Renting Aerial Lifts

Some of the cons of renting aerial lifts are:

  • Rental options may be limited due to local stock levels or regional demand. You might have no other choice but to find a substitute replacement.
  • If a replacement isn’t available, you may have to wait until your desired lift is available.

Pros of Buying Aerial Lifts

If you choose to buy your own lift:

  • You will enjoy the freedom, flexibility and availability of using your equipment whenever you need.
  • You can often benefit from top-of-the-line equipment and new technology. Those who buy directly from a dealership can avoid needing to choose a replacement or waiting by placing a custom order to fit their specific needs.

lift buying benefits

Cons of Buying Aerial Lifts

Be sure to think about the cons of buying an aerial lift as well:

  • The biggest downside to buying your own aerial lift is the maintenance fees and repair costs. Combine these fees with long-term storage costs and the original price tag of the lift, and you’re looking at a serious investment.

Rental companies like MacAllister Rentals also sell past rental lifts as used equipment. This is a great option if you would like to purchase, but cannot justify the price of a brand-new lift. For your convenience, we also keep the latest and most requested models in stock at all our facilities.

Renting Aerials Lifts from MacAllister Rentals

It is important to note the exact nature of your work and your expected usage, as it will immediately rule out many types of lifts. This makes it easier to find the lift best suited for the job at hand. The process of choosing a lift may seem complicated, but with the help of this guide, you can be confident in your choices.

Here are some general questions to consider when determining which aerial lift is right for your project:

  • Is your jobsite indoors or outdoors?
  • Will you be operating in a tight space or a large, open area?
  • Will there be any rough terrain?
  • What size of machine will you require?
  • How many workers will you need to accommodate at a time?
  • What kind of platform heights and outreach distances are you looking at?
  • Will you need outriggers for added stability?

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