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Should I Buy, Rent, or Lease a Floor Scrubber?

No matter how necessary it is to the cleanliness, appearance, and safety of your facility, there is no denying that a floor scrubber represents a significant investment. If your facility has regular need for a floor scrubber, of course, the investment is worth the cost. However, if you rarely use one, have a one-time need, or face cash flow constraints, renting or leasing this equipment presents a viable option. Answering the question of which choice is better for your business depends entirely on your unique needs.

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What Are the Advantages to Buying a Floor Scrubber?

If you choose to handle your cleaning services in-house and regularly maintain hard flooring, such as tile, linoleum, wood, or concrete, making the investment to purchase a floor scrubber makes much better financial sense than renting one. The daily rental rate of most commercial floor scrubbers typically tops $250. So, while renting makes good financial sense for the occasional user, you end up paying much more than you would have by buying the machine if you use it more than six or seven times a year (and most facilities managers clean their floors at least monthly).

Ownership also means, obviously, that you own the equipment. That means that you can sell it later, when it's time to upgrade, and make back some of the money you spent on your investment. You also are able to claim the expense of the equipment, or its depreciation, on your taxes.

Compared to leasing, you also have greater freedom when purchasing a floor scrubber. You can choose any unit you want, and also take charge of maintenance and upkeep, instead of adhering to a lease agreement and waiting for your leasing company to take care of any problems.

For pricier units, you also have the option of financing the purchase, using the unit itself as collateral (much like buying a vehicle). And, unlike other types of office equipment, you don't have to worry about a floor scrubber's technology becoming outdated or obsolete. These machines have changed very little over the years.

What Are the Advantages to Renting a Floor Scrubber?

Not every business needs a floor scrubber on a regular basis. If you only use this equipment once or twice a year, or even only need it for a one-time job, the cost to purchase and maintain a floor scrubber is not only prohibitive, it is unnecessary.

Another reason people choose to rent a floor scrubber is improved cash flow, especially when first beginning a business. Startups have myriad expenses, and most of these are more pressing than the purchase of cleaning equipment. Later down the line, you may decide to make the investment to purchase instead of rent.

People also choose to rent floor scrubbers to avoid the costs and time required to maintain these machines. Replacement parts and routine maintenance are the responsibility of the rental agent, not you.

Finally, some organizations choose renting as a "try before you buy" and a way to make up their minds about whether the investment is worth it, or if they would do better to hire a commercial cleaning company to professionally care for their floors.

What Are the Advantages to Leasing a Floor Scrubber?

Leasing is a bit like the midway point between renting a floor scrubber and purchasing it outright. You don't have the same upfront costs as you do with buying, but it also costs less over time than repeatedly renting a unit.

One of the benefits of leasing is the ability to budget your lease payments, which typically count as a business expense. This reduces debts on your financial statements while also leaving you open to claiming the expense on taxes (in most cases, check with your accountant to be sure).

You also do not have to worry about maintenance and routine upkeep, as the lease agreement should include those items. In addition, you may be able to afford "more" machine with a lease than you would buying a floor scrubber outright. Another plus is the ability to upgrade if your business needs change or you move to a larger facility and need a more powerful machine, or one with greater features.

Probably the number one reason businesses choose to lease cleaning equipment, though, is to improve cash flow and preserve working capital, especially for younger businesses that are still growing.

Determine Your Business Needs

In the end, there is no one right answer for whether it's better to buy, rent, or lease a floor scrubber. Ask yourself how often you need to use the machine, whether your needs justify the investment, and the importance of working capital to your business.

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