Are you ready to invest in new equipment? When is the right time?

Time to Invest
Let’s face it, landscaping equipment is not cheap and running a successful landscaping business means understanding when it’s time to spend money to update what you have versus investing money back into the company because what you have is enough to get the job done. No one can know for sure what the absolute correct answer is at any given point in time, but these pointers should help you assess the situation enough to form an answer that works for your business.

Breakdowns
Machines fail. That’s a fact of the business. What shouldn’t be a fact are breakdowns that happen often. Machinery that continually requires maintenance means not only bills to fix the machine but lost revenue because that machine is out of commission. It’s a one-two punch that can add up quickly if not kept in check.

If you’re noticing a certain machine continually failing, take some time to calculate what it’s costing you over a day, a week, and a month. Then, compare that to what you would pay for a new one. How long would it take to make that money back? If the answer is not long, then it’s time to trash the old machine and invest in a new one.

Repairs
Even if you are on top of regular machine maintenance, every piece of technology you have has an expected lifespan. Taking care of these components can certainly extend it, but that doesn’t mean the machines will last forever. Apart from making sure everything is always working correctly, it’s important to recognize signs that indicate the end is near.

Watch for increased maintenance bills and keep an eye on how much you’re spending for regular upkeep. Are there components that continually need fixing each time the machine is looked at? Will a replacement part cost more than replacing the whole item? How easy or cheap are the parts to get? On top of this, what are the warranties for the equipment you’re using? Regularly upgrading your machines before warranties expire can be a great way to cycle out equipment on a schedule that saves you from having to deal with costly issues.

Potential
Assess the items you do have and note if there are any gaps. Are there any jobs where the time taken to perform them could be significantly reduced with a new piece of equipment? If you have employees, do they have suggestions for equipment that could help them?

Remember that time is money and sometimes investment in new equipment is an investment in your earning potential. Even one upgraded leaf blower could mean the difference between your ability to landscape three lawns in a day rather than two. In addition, modern equipment often offers a lot more functionality, allowing for a wider variety of work that your company can provide.

Renting
Occasionally, you’re going to need something very unique to do the job. This typically means renting since it’s much cheaper to do that for a week than try and finance a unique piece of equipment that you probably will never use again. The big question revolves around if you rent a certain piece of equipment time and time again. At some point, it’s a much better financial move to simply own rather than rent.

If you ever find yourself renting equipment, begin with an end in mind. Track how much renting the equipment will cost per week and then calculate how much it would cost to finance each week. Next, calculate how long you’ll need to rent that specific machine for. As soon as renting becomes more expensive that owning, invest in your company by making the switch.

Investing in equipment can be scary because it can seem like money being poured into one thing without any immediate return but investments rarely are immediate. The entire idea is planning for long term returns. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with as much information as possible. The more data you have to calculate whether a piece of equipment will yield results or not, the higher likelihood you’ll be sure you’re making a great investment for your company.

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