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Is it Better to Rent, Lease, or Buy Floor Cleaning Equipment?

You have to consider many factors to accurately answer the question above.  It also may just come down to your personal preference.  Here a few things to think about when you are making a decision about how to obtain a scrubber or any other floor cleaning equipment for that matter.

Renting Floor Cleaning Equipment

Renting a floor scrubber is the most flexible way to go, and it is a great solution for a deep spring cleaning or when your in-house machine is down for repair. You can rent by the day, week, or month, and when you no longer need your machine then send it back. Floor scrubber and sweeper rental prices get better if you are willing to commit to longer periods of time, but it can often also be the most expensive way to go. The good news is that your costs are typically fixed. When you rent from a reputable floor cleaning company like FCE, all maintenance including PMs, brushes, and squeegees are included.

Leasing A Floor Scrubber or Sweeper

Leasing a piece of floor cleaning equipment requires a much longer commitment. The price will be a lot lower per month. Many lease to own programs are available with little or no down payment. Leasing a scrubber or sweeper makes a lot of sense if the machine reduces your labor costs. Typically a scrubber can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in labor costs.  Your lease payment will be a fraction of that. Depending on how you set it up this payment will also be a business expense.  Some leases allow you to deduct the total cost of the equipment up front. Ask your accountant. You will need decent credit to qualify because banks look at equipment leases as “no collateral” loans. They don’t want to own floor scrubbers! There are two major things to remember about leasing. You cannot get out of a lease or transfer them most times. Paying them off early is almost never a good option. Banks give little or no credit for early payment. 

Options for Buying a Scrubber or Sweeper

Cash Purchase

Paying cash for a scrubber is great if you have the working capital to do it. You pay no interest and many times you can keep the machine going for years and years. The capital outlay is tax deductible and qualifies for a section 179 deduction (accelerated depreciation). So if you have some money left over at the end of your year, investing in a scrubber could slash your tax bill. 

Unsure Future

Let’s face it; today’s business climate is a roller coaster ride. If you are in the warehousing, contract manufacturing, or cleaning contracting business your need for floor cleaning equipment could change overnight. We have seen some of our cleaning contractor customers invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in sweepers and scrubbers only to lose the business in the first year of the contract. This creates a very difficult situation. Like most everything else, floor cleaning machinery depreciates the most in the first few months of ownership. For businesses exposed to this type of risk we definitely recommend some type of long term rental program with an option to send the equipment back if something goes wrong. 

Desire for Fixed Costs

Many of today’s business owners and managers have opted for fixed costs programs when it comes to large capital items like forklifts, copiers, sweepers, and scrubbers. They like the idea of no surprises along the way. This situation can be accomplished several ways. One would be a long term lease with maintenance. Customers commit to a piece of cleaning machinery for two to five years. A monthly payment is established to cover the payment on the machine, parts, and labor. As I mentioned above, you will not be able to cancel this lease. The other way to go would be a long term rental. All of your costs and maintenance will be taken care of. You can send the scrubber rental back if your needs change.

A good floor cleaning equipment dealer should have all of the options above to offer you. If they don’t offer the full maintenance programs described above it should be a red flag. They may not be seriously in the business.

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