When deciding whether to buy or rent equipment, good records can help you accurately estimate hourly rates for ownership, which you can then compare to the hourly rental costs. Estimating the hourly cost of owning equipment requires analyzing the major cost components: depreciation, maintenance and operating costs, repair costs, finance or interest cost, insurance cost, and replacement cost. Some of these costs are a function of use and others are a function of time.

Some factors affecting the buy-rent decision don't lend themselves to a numerical cost analysis. Availability, for example, favors buying equipment so you'll have it when you need it. Flexibility of use, on the other hand, favors renting equipment so you can get the most productive machine for a specific work task.