27 Feb Buying vs. Renting
As we look to the 2017 event marketing season, at some point we will be faced with a seemingly simple question regarding the equipment and assets we use: Is it better to invest in an asset to own or does it make more sense to rent? Like almost everything in our industry, the answer is…it depends.
No matter the asset, there are likely ten companies out there that will rent it to you, and just as many that can sell you a customized one. And while every situation is different, there are some factors to consider to keep what seemed like a cheap and easy decision from turning into an expensive headache.
It’s always fun to have the coolest new thing, but does it really elevate the overall experience enough to warrant the purchase cost? It very well may, and in that case, buy the coolest one you can find. But if it isn’t, take a look at less expensive rental options, you may be surprised at what is out there.
Often, the initial rent vs. buy costs seems comparable, so conventional wisdom would push one to buy it and then you can reuse it for future events. In some cases, this is absolutely a reasonable assumption and may be the best course.
That being said, the beauty of renting is that once your event/tour is over, the asset simply goes away. No storage costs, no need to worry about security, insurance, maintenance, DOT records or the creatures that will inevitably find their way inside while your trailer sits in the parking lot through the winter.
Again, each situation is different and what works for one may not work for another.
On the other side of that coin, because you own it, you are the expert and you know it inside and out. No need to worry about having techs on call, excess crew, etc.
If you chose to rent, then your solution is decidedly different…Get the rental company on the phone and they can deal with it. This is one of the great benefits of renting your gear or assets. You are paying them to be the experts, to have spares, parts or an easy fix. Most notably, the burden of a solution is on them. You can’t be the expert on everything. Know what you know, and more importantly, know what you don’t know.
As an example, I will use the converted shipping container referenced above.
Again, all of this is dependent on what the asset is and the implications will vary drastically across the spectrum of event materials. Much of the above obviously wouldn’t apply to a monitor or sound system, but the three categories are a good place to start. Your speakers will still need to be covered under your insurance policy, they will still need to be stored and maintained and someone will need to be in charge of them. Renting your equipment will typically eliminate a good portion of this, but you have to assume that those costs are going to be rolled into the rental fee.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s the centerpiece of your footprint or just one screen in your array. There are myriad factors to take into account when making these decisions and a near endless amount of options at your disposal.