With shrinking or stagnant budgets, custodial executives often weigh their options between renting and owning equipment - including matting systems. We asked industry manufacturers to respond to the pros and cons of both renting and owning mats.

Mark Roberts
Region Manager
The Andersen Company
Dalton, Georgia

JoAnn Durette
Vice President of Marketing
Mats Inc.
Stoughton, Massachusetts

Don Mistro
Senior Regional Sales Manager
Superior Manufacturing Group
Chicago, Illinois

What are the benefits of renting versus owning mats?

Roberts — Renting mats can be more convenient because the company has a service that cleans the mat for them weekly, monthly or bi-monthly. But owned mats can be more effective at trapping dirt and moisture. They typically require less maintenance, are more environmentally friendly, and there is no monthly rental fees. Owning means departments always have the same mat; if you rent you could get a new mat one week and old one the next. It is up to seven-times less expensive to own your mats versus renting.

Durette — Purchasing mats allows owners to specify size and get the exact length needed, as well as the overall coverage, of scraping, drying, and combination matting specifically selected for the building, climate and foot traffic. Rental matting comes in standard sizes such as 3-by-5, 4-by-6 and 3-by-10, and will help mitigate some amount of debris and moisture but they are not big enough to be highly effective.
In terms of material and quality of mats, building owners are presented with numerous options that will help optimize the performance of their purchased matting system. Higher-quality matting options are offered for high, medium or low traffic entrances in different materials such as polypropylene, nylon 6, dual-fiber; different constructions such as needle punch, loop tuft, cut pile; a variety of rubber and vinyl backings; and there are even options for edging and nosing. Typically made of nylon or polyester, mats available in rental programs have some capacity for absorbing moisture, however, on rainy or snowy days, they can quickly become saturated and transfer moisture to interior flooring. Rental matting is not designed to trap dirt and debris until it can be removed, so it builds up on the surface allowing it to get tracked into the building.
Finally, appearance can vary between rented and purchased mats. Purchasing entrance matting allows the owner to choose style and color options that complement their building’s interior. Designing a mat to integrate with buildings’ contours enhances the attractiveness while improving its effectiveness, accommodating walking patterns and eliminating potential tripping hazards.  Owning the entrance system also provides the opportunity to create unique looks by incorporating the street address, a special design or a logo. Rental mats are rectangles, which aren’t always the best shape for the space or traffic pattern; consider a revolving door, for example. Standard sized rectangular matting has its place, but if the entryway or walking pattern is not in a straight line, rectangular rental mats are placed in a variety of directions and the result can be unattractive.

Mistro — Rental mats are very expensive and only allow mats to be serviced weekly. The sizes and colors are limited, as well as not knowing where the mat was placed the previous week. The quality is poor and usually the wrong mat is placed in the application.

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