Buying vs. Hiring Access Equipment: Which Option is Right for Your Business?

For businesses that rely on using lifting and access equipment, the decision of whether to buy or hire a machine requires careful consideration.  A number of factors need to be considered, including your business’s unique needs and your budget, before you can make a sound decision. In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of buying vs hiring access equipment, helping you make an informed decision that benefits your business in the long run.


The Benefits of Buying Access Equipment

Access equipment can play a pivotal role in day-to-day operations of some businesses, particularly those in construction, maintenance, and warehousing. There are certainly benefits to buying access equipment if you have the budget available. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of access equipment ownership.


  • On-Demand Availability: Owning your equipment ensures you have the equipment whenever needed, and eliminates project delays that may occur due to waiting for equipment availability through access equipment hire.
  • Warranty and Tax Write-offs: New equipment purchases usually come with generous warranties, which is helpful if anything goes wrong with your purchase. They include parts and structural integrity of the equipment to make sure you’re covered if something goes wrong. 
  • Tax Write-offs you may be eligible to claim depreciation on your access equipment purchase.
  • Competitive Edge: Owning access equipment can make your company more competitive, as clients often prefer businesses with owned assets over rentals. You can also loan out your purchased equipment to other businesses, although that comes with its own set of considerations.


  • Maintenance Responsibility: As an equipment owner, you bear the cost and responsibility of equipment maintenance, repair and parts replacement. You also need to rely on the availability of the repairer, which means you may experience downtime whilst waiting on repairs.
  • Transportation Costs: Transporting equipment safely requires a suitable vehicle, so hiring or purchasing a vehicle to transport your equipment may be another cost to consider. (This won’t be an important factor if your equipment operates in a single location.)
  • Risk of Underutilisation: Purchasing the wrong equipment may lead to a waste of resources. (This is why it is worth hiring-to-try equipment before you buy it, to ensure it’s the right equipment for the job.)


Benefits of Hiring

Renting access hire equipment is a good idea if you want little responsibility and want to be flexible in regards to what equipment you use, and when you use it. Here are some advantages of hiring access equipment.


  • Cost-Effective for Infrequent Use: Hiring is usually cheaper for businesses that only need equipment on a short-term or sporadic basis.
  • Maintenance is Covered: Rental suppliers are responsible for equipment maintenance, relieving you of this burden.
  • Easier budgeting: In terms of budgeting, choosing access hire equipment means you can be clear on what you will end up paying for. Once you choose your access equipment and the hire period, you know exactly what the total cost will be.
  • Trial Period: Hiring access equipment gives you the opportunity to test the suitability of equipment before committing to a purchase (In Greater Melbourne). 
  • Convenient Transportation: Hirers generally handle transportation, loading, and unloading of access equipment. This means logistics are streamlined, as you don’t need to organise a transport vehicle.


  • Availability Concerns: The access equipment you need may not always be available when required, which could impact projects.
  • Accumulating Rental Costs: If a project extends, your access hire equipment rental costs could grow to be larger than expected.
  • Risk of Incorrect Usage: Incorrect usage that results in damage to the equipment may result in repair costs being passed on to you.
  • Transport costs: Whilst the hirer generally handles transportation of the access equipment, this comes at a cost, so you need to factor that into the overall budget. In some cases, transportation costs can be significant, so you need to weigh up whether it’s worthwhile if your rental is only for a short period of time.


The Decision

To decide between buying and hiring access equipment, consider the following:

  • How often will your business use the equipment? Will it be daily, on a sporadic basis, or only for a particular project?
  • If you plan to hire, have you factored in transportation costs?
  • If you plan to buy, do you own your own transport vehicle already, or would you need to purchase/hire this also?
  • Can you afford to buy the equipment, without putting too much strain on your business? (Consider also the potential costs of repair, maintenance and transportation as part of this.)
  • Can you claim tax depreciation on purchased equipment? (Check with your accountant or the ATO.)
  • Will owning the equipment give you a competitive advantage, and help you grow your business?

Before making your decision, also consider doing a cost/benefit analysis, as well as a cost comparison between purchasing and renting short or long term. (Each product on AusLift’s website displays pricing for purchase [if applicable], daily rental and weekly rental, so it’s easy to compare.)


Consider a Hybrid Approach

A hybrid approach might work for your business if you need to use some access equipment on a regular basis, and other machines only sporadically. For example, if you operate a warehouse business, you will likely need forklifts operating all day long, but only occasionally need a crane. In this case, it would be sensible to purchase forklifts, and rent the crane when needed.


The decision to buy or hire access equipment will depend on your business's specific needs and budget constraints. It's important to weigh up the pros and cons of each option carefully before making a decision. In some cases, a combination of purchasing and renting may make sense. 

Whichever approach you choose, ensuring the equipment you choose suits your business needs is key to improving your productivity, operations, and return on investment.

AusLift Equipment offers a wide range of new and used Lifting & Access Equipment For Sale, as well as competitive rental options on Access Hire and Crane Hire Equipment. View our products to see pricing on purchase, daily and weekly hire, or contact us for a quote.