Back to Back Issues Page
Build Your Own Home, Issue #007 -- Buying vs. Renting Tools & Equipment
May 01, 2005

Topic: Building Your Own Home: Buying vs. Renting, Tools and Equipment

Wow, it is May already! Where does the time go?

I want to take some time with you and discuss buying vs. renting tools and equipment to build your own home. I know this is not an exciting subject but it is one that can save you some money.

When we built our house, I had some pretty specific ideas about the projects that I would take on, and the ones that I would contract out. I knew that my wife and I did not have that much time, so we would only be able to take on painting the interior of the house, some of the trim work, final grading of the lot, landscaping, and all the cleanup that we couldn’t get the contractors to do. There are also, of course, a million little things that come up, that need to be done, that we had to handle.

To accomplish all of these tasks, we needed manpower and tools. Whatever task you decide to take on, you need to think about what tools and equipment you will need long before you need them. Why? Because (like you have heard me say on Build Your Own Home a thousand times) if you research and check pricing, you can save a bundle and get better tools and equipment. Rental prices can vary greatly. Why not get a catalog from the rental place? They all have one.

OK, for all you folks out there that are looking for a good excuse to buy some really cool tools and rent some neat equipment…. this is your chance. Building your own home IS a great excuse to buy or rent tools and equipment…. you are saving money right? Well, maybe not, let me explain.

Renting vs. Buying…. What are the Rules?

Basically it comes down to this: whatever is cheaper and best serves your needs. Sounds simple, right? Let’s cover the basics:

  1. Are you going to use this tool or equipment over and over, during construction of your house, AND after the house is built?

  2. Will the cost of buying it be offset by the time it saves? Remember, if you have a construction loan, the clock is ticking. If you are delaying finishing your home, it is costing you money.

  3. Are going to need to rent it several different times? It may be cheaper to buy it in the long run.

One last item is what I call the aggravation factor. I hate to have a deadline hanging over my head. If you rent, you must have it back on time, or pay the price. Plus, I always seem to underestimate the time a task is going to take. There’s never enough time it seems.

There are certain items that just make no sense to buy. When I did the final grade on the lot I rented a Bobcat tractor. I could not use a regular grader box on a conventional tractor because many of our trees are so close together that I could not get between them. It made no sense to buy the tractor, so I rented it for a weekend, and sent it back. I saw no need to invest thousands of dollars in a Bobcat.

I also rented really tall ladders, a lift, and scaffolding to paint the inside of the house. The ceilings in my great room are 25 foot. I don’t plan on painting them again any time soon. (I have to admit that I felt pretty proud after I painted the interior of my house. It was challenging at times but it also was a kick!) After the painting was over, these items went back also.

I did buy an airless painter to do the interior of the house. It took several weeks to complete everything, and to rent it several times would have been more expensive. I have used the painter to stain my deck and fence also. In the future I will use it to paint the outside of my house. This investment made good sense and cuts my work time in half. I can’t imagine ever using a paintbrush again!

I also bought a compressor and a couple of nail guns. I have used them on many occasions to do projects around the house. Did I absolutely need them? No, but they saved time during construction, and I can use them over and over. I am really glad that I invested in them also. I used the nailer to build my deck.

You will of course have different needs, and need different equipment, but the rules are the same. Think the process thru before you start, and you can save yourself some time and money. Naturally you want to invest your money primarily in your house, not tools.

Building your own home is a great way to save money and get what YOU want, AND collect some neat tools/equipment that you can use over and over again. How cool is that?

Remember our RSS feed that keeps you informed of any new pages that we put on Build Your Own Home. If you don't know what RSS is I have put up the What is RSS page to let you know all about it. This is a really cool way to get up to date information on anything without the Spam and the viruses

I would also like to pass on a link to a really useful tool  for designing and laying out anything from kitchens, to landscaping, to your whole house go to

I would like to thank you for making one of the most popular sites on the internet for DIY Home Construction.

All the best,

George Stevens

If you want information about Construction Loans or Home Loans go to our Home Loan & Construction Loan Page.

If you want more information about building your own home go to our Building Knowledge Center.

If you want information on hiring qualified contractor go to our Building Contractor Page.

Back to Back Issues Page