Whether to buy or lease is a decision to be based on upfront costs versus long-term costs. Ultimately though, buying a large-scale piece of floor machinery is logical if a BSC has many jobs and customers.

Yet, the costs of floor care equipment can vary wildly. 

“A big mistake is people buy the stuff upfront and they don’t have any work for it,” says Watson. “They never had a plan for getting customers.”

Watson points out some advantages to buying outright, such as a higher tax deduction and total ownership of the equipment. However, a few disadvantages include higher upfront costs, maintenance responsibilities and the risk that the equipment will become outdated, since it is more likely that a BSC will hold on to the machine longer.

Watson says the pros of leasing include easy equipment upgrades and smaller out of pocket expenses, which may be better for newcomers. Significant cons include long-range expenses and smaller tax write-offs. 

“Leasing is preferable when you want fixed-level payments that you want to spread out over a period of time,” Watson says. “You get a nice low payment with leasing, but it probably costs you more in the long run.”

And the support a BSC will likely receive when he or she leases floor equipment is on par with the support that comes with an outright purchase. 

“Leasing is becoming a more popular method, especially for high-end equipment like autoscrubbers,” says Fellows.

Putnam adds that BSCs often do not have the opportunity to test out a piece of equipment when taking the leasing option.

Renting a piece of equipment by the hour is also an option, but that’s usually reserved for a one-time job, Fellows says.  

“Distributors offer rentals that are good for companies who may have a job that is bigger than they have the equipment to handle at a time, or maybe it’s a company that doesn’t do that type of work frequently, so buying can tie up some of their capital,” he adds.

In addition to cost, BSCs must also consider the safety of employees, and a  machine’s overall ease of use. Ultimately, it’s important for a contractor to choose the piece of equipment most likely provide a return on investment — and thensome.

“It’s extremely important that the correct floor equipment is selected,” Fellows says.

And having the right vendor can help a BSC make that decision. 

Hilary Daninhirsch is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.

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Buying Floor Machines From Distributors Vs. Direct