RENTING DRONE LIDAR VS OWNING IT

15 COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES TO LEVERAGING A DRONE MAPPING SYSTEM

 

Companies within all industries need every competitive edge they can get. Lidar is known to have a high cost, causing a barrier to entry.  In certain cases renting a drone lidar system my present competitive advantages just like renting any other large piece of construction equipment.  As project managers and business owners pore over the balance sheets and all aspects of the business to find advantages, it can literally pay to explore and compare the costs of renting or leasing UAV Lidar equipment against the expenses of buying and owning it.

Drones, LiDAR, High-end mapping cameras, precision survey stations and other equipment are essential to any business with geospatial in their organic workflow.  But like any other department or resource, they can and must be streamlined for maximum efficiency and versatility. A cost-benefit analysis can provide valuable data to help you make an informed decision about equipment rental versus ownership.

Regardless of how business and companies differ in their size, purposes, and structure, few that use any size of the equipment can afford to have it be ill-matched for the task or sit idle and unused. Procurement, finance, production, and administration departments all might have input on which option to use since all have important perspectives to present. Maybe you head all those departments for your company or maybe there are different people in charge of each one, but you’re likely to pull statistics from all for good analysis.

RENTING DRONE LIDAR EQUIPMENT VERSUS OWNING

MODUS offers a comprehensive inventory of equipment for purchase and rent, so we can help you decide which option best suits your business needs, whether they be rental, ownership, or a mix of both.

We sell new and used equipment and have a variety of drones and sensor equipment for rent. Along with the affordable DJI Brand, MODUS also carries many other high-quality US-only brands that can be easily programmed and tailored to your field application.

TAKE TIME FOR AN EXAMINATION

It helps to first take a step back and analyze the cost-benefit situation as applicable to your business. An educated, logical decision will result as you consider all the factors:

  • Estimated rental payments for the period of use and machines needed
  • Approximate cost of a new machine
  • Transportation and storage expenses
  • Frequency of need for equipment
  • The projected life span of a new machine
  • The estimated cost of maintenance and service over its life
  • Rough amount of labor saved with either option
  • Financing options and available capital
  • Need for special technology or skills with projects or equipment
  • Availability of desired new-purchase equipment
  • Possible, multiple uses for machines both rented or bought
  • Internal capability to test, maintain, and service machines.

A cost-benefit analysis will result in a much stronger sense of which option fits best, as well as where and why. The most often recommended numeric benchmark for when it’s time to cross over from rental to purchase is when the equipment is needed and used at least 60-70 percent of the time.

Generally speaking, if you’re thinking about the need for the equipment in terms of years, that can be an indicator that you’re moving toward the purchase, unless of course, you’ll have little or no use for the machine after the current project or set of jobs.

Your examination of equipment needs will naturally reveal data that are useful to decision making, things such as usage duration, hours wasted or saved, profit or loss potential, and capital or financing available now or in the future. Businesses can use some type of construction-management software to track vital job statistics and provide useful information such as trends or previously unknown needs.

Beyond the hard numbers sit a good deal of other considerations, such as safety, quality, efficiency, compliance, growth, risk, morale, employee retention, and other factors that affect business but don’t have a hard number attached to them. Individual companies will each value the softer factors differently, but they are all worth considering.

Check out our Lidar Rental Program

WHO RENTING DRONE LIDAR AND WHY?

Many industries can benefit from renting equipment rather than buying it:

  • Insurance
  • Civil Engineering
  • Earth moving
  • Transportation
  • Government
  • Environmental
  • Forestry
  • Military/Defense
  • Mining
  • Water Utilities
  • Electric Utilities
  • Gas and Oil
  • Waste Management

Companies and people rent equipment for several reasons:

  1. Saves money in many cases
  2. Caters to short-term equipment need
  3. Provides specialty performance
  4. Satisfies temporary production increases
  5. Fills in when regular machines need maintenance or fail
  6. Helps meet deadline crunches
  7. Expands machine inventory
  8. Increases overall capability when and where needed
  9. Eliminates responsibility of testing, maintenance, service
  10. It makes the project schedule easier to manage with on-demand resources.

Scalability and Flexibility – The rental of equipment can enable a bigger company to augment its fleet when and where needed, while it can aid a smaller medium-sized company to propose work that requires specialty equipment or machines to fulfill the requirements. The range of capabilities among the equipment of all sizes can help businesses serve niche markets and win new and different kinds of projects.

Rental options can fill in during an outage or emergency and provide the flexibility that extends to logistics and finance, at a minimum. Equipment rental appeals to many industries because of its many benefits and advantages.

15 Reasons to Rent Drone Lidar

  1. Forgo the Upfront Investment

Equipment, especially large equipment such as an excavator, tracked dozer or a telehandler, is an expensive capital cost that must be planned and might require a “good year” (or a couple) to come about. While UAV Lidar systems look small, because they are precision survey tools, the cost can be as much as a tracked dozer or excavator.  When you purchase a piece of capital equipment, your money is tied up in it until you sell it, and if you used it well and kept it long, sale offers might come in lower than you’d like.

Not having a large chunk of money tied up in a piece of capital equipment frees up funds for you to pursue opportunities and maintain other important parts of the business.

  1. Decrease Long-run Expense

In many cases, companies have maintenance teams or equipment consultants devoted to upkeep and regular service of the machines, which is necessary for fault-free operation. Mechanics must check fluids and hydraulics, service must happen regularly, parts must be changed, technology needs upgrading, sometimes leaks happen and the scheduling for usage and transport represents challenges.

This is also true using drones that can lift lidar payload.  Do you want to trust a piece of aerial equipment that isn’t properly being serviced?  In correct upkeep is the second leading factor to drone crashes and loosing hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment.  With a rental contract, the primary expense of maintenance and services is in the contract.  You can gauge rental fees, while the expense of maintenance and service in private ownership typically tends to be less predictable.

  1. Avoid Storage, Transport Costs

Anyone who decides to purchase a new piece of equipment will need a short- and long-term storage solution for it. Nobody wants to leave a vital piece of new equipment sitting out in the blazing sun, driving rain or blustery wind. Continuous exposure to the elements and a poorly ventilated storage space will degrade machine quality. Everyone realizes that space is expensive no matter where you live or what purpose it will serve, and equipment rental eliminates the need for long-term storage.

Rental can save you from the worry over logistics in transporting equipment from site to site since you can simply have the rental equipment delivered and picked up when needed. It can help you respond faster to varied needs in different locations. The coordination of placing the right piece of equipment in the right place and for the right amount of time can streamline operations, shorten the workday, and save money. However, organizing that kind of precision can be exhausting and detract from a company’s true business, so the frazzled project managers and owners might see a higher value in renting equipment.

  1. Save at Tax Time

While many circumstances apply to an individual business’s tax return, rental expenses are a deductible expense while purchased equipment is taxed at a depreciated rate over its lifetime. Generally, rental expenses are a little more financially flexible than are major, capital-expense purchases. In some cases, they’re viewed as project expenses or might have some type of tax-deduction benefit available because of the nature of certain kinds of business.

  1. Maintain Strong Borrowing Power

In the same way the Internal Revenue Service looks at rented equipment one way and owned equipment another way, so do banks. They do not see rental expenses as a liability on the balance sheet, so the option to rent equipment maintains stronger borrowing power for a business. Thinking in terms of assets and liabilities, capital-equipment debt or an aging machine could weaken a business’ overall financial picture depending on the numbers and circumstances involved.

  1. Achieve worry-free compliance

Using drones can be legally daunting.  The rules are not always fully understood.  Safety requirements and identifying safe operating procedures are different than traditional OSHA guidelines.  However using MODUS as your rental partner allows you to be ahead of the curve in compliance.  Need to fly near people, we can modify your system with the safety equipment to reduce risk and align with Federal Aviation Agency Guidance.  Have to run mapping operations after hours or at night?  No problem, we can add the required equipment to keep you compliant.  Bottom line is you don’t need to worry about figuring out if you are compliant when you renting equipment.  

  1. Reduce Waiting and its Associated Losses

Most owners and managers would agree that lost time at the job site eats into profit and deadline compliance, so it’s never good to have people waiting around on a piece of equipment to arrive or for it to be sitting idle because it stalled. When you have a rental agreement, it’s on-demand delivery and pickup for the exact time frame you need.  In addition, since professionals maintain and service the equipment, it is less likely to fail and waste job hours while an alternative is found and transported.

  1. Track New Opportunities

Renting drone lidar can do just as much to increase business opportunities as it does to reduce operating expenses. Once you factor in the possibility of renting a piece of specialty equipment, it opens the door to new possibilities through that capability.

Maybe the job entails pipeline monitoring or as-is models for engineering or environmental surveys that you could capture if you had the right machine, and the same principle translates universally across industries. Whether you’re chasing road-construction projects or trying to harvest crops more efficiently, there are rental options that can cater to nearly any need.

  1. Sharpen Your Competitive Edge

Many businesses bemoan the fact that it’s hard to compete against the big companies that have the nicest, newest, best machines while they, in comparison, make it work with older ones. Equipment rental can shift that age-old characteristic so that small competitors can procure the same type of equipment for jobs if that’s what will win the work. If a client asks what machines you will use or about a key piece of equipment, you can rest assured knowing that you have access to a diverse, efficient, and compliant fleet of machines, just like the bigger companies.

10. Avoid Long-term Commitment

The thought of a major, capital-equipment purchase can cause a little anxiety on the part of some business owners. Most new or used machines cost a lot of money and must be kept busy throughout their practical life, hopefully not being misused or abused. There are warranties to track, service-contract decisions to make, financing options to discern along with interest rates and several other points that make the prospect of buying one seem like too much long-term responsibility. Capital equipment is great to have on hand and at your disposal anytime, but it comes with the duties of maintenance, service, eventual sale or disposal, upgrades and adherence to regulation for all the years that you plan to own it.

For business owners who have any apprehension about the longer-term obligations, renting equipment can be a great solution.

11. Eliminate Coordination Headaches 

Rental provides a win-win cycle for business because experts maintain and service the equipment, so it is less likely to malfunction or break down. If something does go awry, the customer can call those same experts to figure out what’s wrong. Renting equipment can alleviate you of the concern and organization required to accomplish proper training, maintenance, service, and scheduling of the machine. Everyone probably values differently the benefits of stress reduction and time-gain, but that is one benefit many business owners or fleet managers would agree is created through renting equipment rather than buying it.

12. Gain Flexible Options

A number of factors demand flexibility in today’s business market, chief among them being a major recession, razor-thin profit margins, increasing regulations, market volatility, growing demand for specialized capabilities and the general quest to deliver quality service, great products, and efficiency.

Renting equipment enables companies to respond to specialty niches, financial fluctuations, and the ebbs and flows of demand. It’s an adaptable option, especially when explored through a cooperative relationship with a trusted equipment partner. The more functions a machine can perform, whether rented or bought, the more justified its expense will be. For example, one versatile body with interchangeable accessories that might dig, reach, and lift would sooner be a justified expense than would a machine that does only one of those tasks.

13. Get the Latest and Greatest

Equipment that features up-to-date technology can benefit a business greatly by bringing efficiency and specialization to the project. A piece of rental equipment can potentially do a few specialized jobs so much better than general equipment that you gain in time saved as well as wear and tear on the machines.

Especially with large drones and high precision mapping systems, you enjoy raw power and performance as well as precise performance for even the most delicate operations. The intuitive systems in today’s models deliver metrics and other business data that aid the actual work, such as other mounting options and data analytics as a service that you can leverage.  Many businesses tend to make do with whatever machines are nearby and/or owned by the company, but targeted equipment selection according to technology can potentially enable you to do many existing jobs with fewer pieces of equipment and in less time.

In the same way, quality rental equipment can help you better compete in the market, renting also helps you avoid any risk of your equipment becoming unusable or obsolete. A good rental partner continuously rotates equipment off the fleet in order to have the most updated models and technology available so that you and your jobs benefit from the specialized capabilities.

14. See and Experience a Preview

Maybe your burgeoning business looking to grow and you’d like to see how certain models of equipment, attachments and accessories work. You can get a preview by renting the equipment, which will give you a feel for how it works, the time it takes, its usability and other things that might affect a purchase decision.

  1. Add Convenience, Hours

Managing even one high precision piece of equipment represents a lot of responsibility, much less a small or large fleet of machines.
When you rent, things such as service, maintenance, hours count, schedules, testing, parts and depreciation becomes someone else’s responsibility. Not only is it easier to let the professionals at a rental company handle some of those logistics for you, but also it frees up your valuable time and saves money in many cases.

PROGRESS WITH A PROFESSIONAL PARTNER

As any business owner or manager might surmise, the key to successful rental is a wide and varied selection of machines, as well as the professionalism and experience of the partner they pick. MODUS understands the demands placed upon industry.

Along with the basic drones come the attachments, accessories, and features that can make your working life easier with everything from raw power to collected data. When it comes to mobile reality capture equipment for rent, you certainly want to work with a partner you feel is dedicated and conscientious so that you realize advantages, satisfaction, and ultimately, good business.

The quality of the partner you pick will make a difference in how much benefit you’re able to achieve through equipment rental versus purchase of it, but MODUS offers the reputation for integrity and expertise that clients seek along with other characteristics like product inventory, positive business history, and courteous service.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can discuss your needs and how MODUS can help your business progress into the future. We would be happy to work up a quote and share more information about how to rent drone lidar equipment and all the associated options.

SIGNS THAT THE UAV LIDAR IS RIGHT FOR YOU

1. You’d like to expand the services and deliverables you offer to customers and grow your business.
2. You’d like to offer 3D scanning services, but you’re not familiar or quite confident with the workflow.
3. You already know how to use another field workflow, and you’d like an easy introduction to aerial 3D scanning work.
4. You don’t have a drone mapping unit yet, but you’d like to have one in the future.
5. Most of your work requires a high-accuracy total station, but occasionally you also need a rapid and precise 3D scanning solution.
6. You need a high-accuracy under vegetation mapping solution but you can’t justify the expense of a standalone 3D scanner.

Don’t Miss Out

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Can’t afford to pay upfront?

We offer financing and leasing programs. Contact us now to learn more about setting up an affordable payment plan or lease to own options.

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Want Tax Incentives?

Act now to benefit from Section 179 tax incentives on business equipment!

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Are you unsure about whether the UAV LiDAR is really that easy to use?

Comprehensive training is available separately. Please contact us for details.

There hasn’t been a better or busier time to invest in technology that will allow you to be more competitive, productive and profitable.

Talk to an expert today

If you think the Drone Lidar might be right for you, we can show you how to use it to improve today and dominate tomorrow.

Call MODUS at 858-717-0234 to ask a question, request a quote, or receive a product demonstration. One of our Aerial Surveying field experts or Geospatial Data specialists will be in touch to share their expert opinion on which solutions will work best for your company’s needs.
For more information on the topics mentioned above, please send an email to info@modus-ai.com

Want to Learn More About Lidar?

Check out our online Lidar Field Course.  Drone Lidar Field Course is designed to walk survey professionals through the complete lidar lifecycle from planning to delivery.  

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