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There’s an old saying: if it flies or floats, rent it.  No one wants to spend summer vacation waiting at the repair shop for his or her boat.  That’s why many people rent a boat and leave the maintenance and repair worries behind.  Well, in today’s pipeline construction environment, the same principle can apply to many types of specialty pipeline equipment. 


Valuable time and money can be wasted procuring, moving, and maintaining equipment while renting provides a cost-effective alternative.  Not only is equipment delivered on-site ready for use, but there’s peace-of-mind that also comes with professional repairs and calibration.  In addition, there is no loss of time while equipment is out for repairs or being shipped from one project to the next.


The changing landscape of the pipeline industry and its increased complexity, renting or buying decisions have in many ways become more clear-cut.  In making these decisions, an organization must consider everything from equipment requirements and expected utilization, to resource requirements to manage and maintain pipeline equipment, and finally availability and accessibility needs.


The More Complex Pipeline Business

Pipeline work is becoming increasingly more complex, less predictable, and geographically diverse. The nature of the work has changed from large, long-term projects to multiple, shorter term and more varied jobs.  It is not uncommon for companies to manage several jobs across the country, at the same time with pipelines that range from 3” to 42” in size.  Due to expansion in shale plays and increased integrity work, companies today are also following work to a wider geographic area than ever before.  This has made managing equipment and supply costs for projects even more important, and has added a lot of complexity as well.  Critical time and money can be lost trying to get the right equipment to the right job in the right place at the right time.  That is why it’s important to ask if renting is the right answer for the next project. 

Renting vs. buying is a complicated question.  Here are some important questions that may save both time and money when making this critical decision:

  –  What specialized skills are required to maintain and repair the equipment if purchased?

  –  Where will the equipment be stored when it’s not on-site?

  –  Is this equipment specific to this project or will it be used again and again?

  –  How much does it cost to ship this equipment from one job to the next?

  –  Is this same piece of equipment needed on-site and two jobs at the same time?

  –  How long will it take to recoup the cost invested in this piece of equipment?

  –  How does purchasing vs. renting affect cash flow?

The answers to these questions are why many companies are opting to rent specialty equipment rather than purchase.

Consider Equipment Needs

It doesn’t always make sense to buy a piece of equipment and then transport it across the country, pay for costly repairs, storage and the personnel required to perform the recalibration and maintenance, especially when it may not be used for another project right away.


The shift we’re seeing in the nature of pipeline work from large, long-term projects to multiple small projects often requires the same equipment at the same time.  In other cases you may need more specialized equipment but only for limited or one-time use.  Renting specialty equipment has become the more economical choice for many pipeline construction companies.  It eliminates the need to buy equipment that won’t end up paying for itself in the long run.


For pipeline companies with multiple projects happening at the same time, it can make it necessary to either choose to rent, or purchase multiple pieces of the same equipment, which can affect cash flow and increase maintenance costs.  Opting to buy forces companies to choose between buying duplicate pieces of equipment, or waiting until one job is complete before shipping it to the next job.  Many pipeline construction companies are often very happy to off-load the complexity and management of pipeline rental equipment particularly where calibrations and regular maintenance are required.


Review Equipment Resources Requirements & Hidden Costs

Renting can remove some of the ongoing responsibility of maintaining expensive equipment. There are many moving pieces involved in keeping a project on track so that it will come in on-time and on-budget, and today project managers are being asked to manage more and more projects at the same time. Owning specialty pipeline equipment means the additional responsibility of managing its repair calibration, delivery, storage and security at several different projects. Time lost to repair or deliver equipment can be costly, especially for shorter duration projects. 


It is important to consider the real costs of purchasing equipment. There are initial costs like the purchase price and shipping, but there also may be long-term costs associated with repair that make owning the wrong answer. Keeping personnel costs down is important when managing successful pipeline projects.  It can become expensive to employ the specialists needed to calibrate and repair different types of equipment at a number of job sites.


The nature of pipeline work will continue to change as our country’s energy demands and infrastructure needs are constantly evolving.  Having the right supply partner is critical to meeting these demands.  Many pipeline construction companies today must manage multiple projects in different regions at the same time, and rely on partners to provide quick delivery of the needed supplies or equipment to keep projects running smoothly and safely.  PSS Companies offers multiple distribution centers at key locations across the U.S. to ensure customers receive supplies more quickly.  Experienced PSS Companies employees understand the unique needs of maintaining specialty equipment, which makes renting a great choice for construction companies not wanting another item to manage.