The decision to purchase or hire a pontoon depends primarily on the aim of your project, and especially on its duration. Indeed, it is the duration that determines which option is most cost-effective.
- What is the purpose of my pontoon?
- When should I opt to buy?
- Why should I hire my pontoon?
- How do I calculate the break-even point?
Let's look at two main types of project:
Temporary or single-use projects
"Temporary" of "single-use" projects are characterised by a short duration of usage for projects that are non-repetitive. For example, floating platforms for temporary construction sites, events or pedestrian access. The question of purchase/hire is debatable here.
Permanent or seasonal projects
"Permanent" or "seasonal" projects are designed to be lasting. The remain in place for the year, or for the summer season. They are used repeatedly. Examples include boat mooring pontoons or area extensions such as café or restaurant terraces. In these instances, purchase is generally recommended.
Statistically, the majority of projects requiring a pontoon or a floating platform involve the purchase of infrastructure rather than rental. The trend is explained by the fact that most development projects are permanent or seasonal in nature.
Long or medium-term usage thus often justifies purchase in itself. Other criteria can be taken into consideration, however. Purchasing your own pontoon has a number of other advantages.
As an owner,
- You can guarantee that it is maintained, and the general condition of the infrastructure
- You are independent of any third party in terms of the installation, dismantling or moving of your infrastructure
- You are not reliant on the availability of equipment
- You enjoy greater modularity and a wider choice ofoptions. Indeed, for obvious stock reasons, it is unusual to find all accessories, anchors or guard-rails available for hire. If you buy, you will often enjoy a more extensive choice of equipment and possible configurations.
While hire prices may be interesting for the short-term, the longer the period of usage, the less interesting prices become. The majority of permanent projects thus tend towards purchase. Other financial elements may also influence your choice, however.
The purchase of a pontoon may be amortised over several years which makes purchase financially more advantageous that hire for projects of a certain duration of usage.
The costs of delivery and installation are also amortised over the duration of utilisation. Therefore, the longer the duration of use, the more the costs of delivery and installation can be spread over a long period, making purchase gradually more interesting.
Remember that there is a market in second-hand pontoons and floating infrastructure. In time, you therefore have the option of reselling the equipment you have purchased.
If you do not intend to use this floating infrastructure repeatedly, or if you have a project involving on-off use, you may prefer to hire.
If, however, you think you will use it more regularly, hire may also prove interesting, particularly in the following situations:
- If your project is temporary or you are not sure what to choose and want to test several configurations, hire is probably a good solution prior to possible purchase.
- Users not looking for any specific modularity or for whom the aesthetic aspect is not a determining factor may also sometimes favour hire. Even more so if the floating infrastructure will be used for only a limited duration.
- Equally, anyone with no winter storage space may be interested in hire because the hire company will take care of that.
- Many floating structures are designed to be simple to install and uninstall. However, if you don't want to handle this technical management and if the added cost is not a problem for you, why not consider hire?
- Finally, let's come to the aspect of cost. Although degressive, the cost of hire is proportionally higher than that of purchase. This difference is justified by the various storage, delivery or installation costs. Note that the costs of transport alone can, depending on the pontoon, represent 10 to 15% of the value of your pontoon.
If you are still unsure, a calculation taking into account the duration of use, the transport, installation and dismantling costs, the resale value, amortisation and the insurance costs should enable you to define definitively the break-even point of hire compared with purchase. And if you need help with this calculation, click here.
We have tried to summarise the arguments for and against each option in the table below. Simply weight each element according to its importance for your project to get an idea of the option you should choose.
Do you have more questions?
Do you have a pontoon or floating structure project? Do you have doubts or questions about what to choose, or the options? Contact us to discuss them.
You may also be interested in our other guides:
- HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT FLOATING PONTOON?
- LESS FAMILAR APPLICATIONS AND USES OF OUR FLOATING PONTOONS
- CHOOSING THE RIGHT MOORING FOR YOUR FLOATING PONTOON: ADVICE AND TIPS