Should You Rent, Lease, or Buy a Coffee Machine?

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If your business needs a coffee machine and you’re low on funds, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. There are options out there that can put less financial stress on you and your company.

Know Your Needs

Not all coffee makers are created equal, and each of them have a unique specialty and can function in vastly different ways. From French press to moka pot, every method of brewing coffee comes with its own distinct equipment and requires different levels of knowledge to operate.

You’ll also need to know how long you intend to use the coffee machine. If you want to keep it for a longer period of time, you might be better off leasing or purchasing. If you’re not sure how long you’ll use it, renting can offer a low-risk trial period where you can get a better understanding of how often it’s used.

Renting a Coffee Machine

Renting a coffee machine involves essentially borrowing the machine from its actual owner at a monthly price. At no point in time do you actually own the coffee maker, but rather you’re temporarily using it while paying recurring fees.

How Much Does it Cost?

One great thing about renting your coffee machine is that it comes at a significantly lower upfront cost. If you choose to purchase, you might have to drop anywhere from $500-10K on a standard espresso maker – but when renting it from someone else, you may only pay as little as a few hundred dollars a month.

Benefits

When you rent a coffee machine, you are not liable in any way for any damage or issues you might experience while using it, which can be a huge money saver, especially if you use it very frequently. 

In many cases, renting a coffee maker entitles you to services provided by the owner. This isn’t always the case, but if you rent your coffee maker from a larger corporation, they will usually offer to send someone to help if the machine breaks or experiences technical issues.

If you choose to rent a coffee maker, it can be a great opportunity to test out a new machine without having to fully commit right away. If the machine you rent doesn’t fit your needs, you can easily end your contract and try out a different one with little to no financial consequences.

Drawbacks

Because you’re just borrowing the equipment, you don’t own it, and thus if you can’t make payments, it gets taken away. If your business has a rough month and misses a payment, you might have to sacrifice the coffee machine for a time until you can pay for it again, leaving customers disappointed.

Additionally, when renting a coffee maker, you’ll need to include your rent total with your other monthly expenses. You need to be very financially stable in order for this to be a viable option, because you’ll have to balance the costs.

Leasing a Coffee Machine

Leasing a coffee maker means you take on temporary ownership of the machine for a predetermined period of time. Typically, during this time, you’ll make monthly payments, similar to renting, but the ownership of the actual product lies with you.

How Much Does it Cost?

On average, people who lease coffee makers pay around $10 per week for their machine, but the exact amount varies depending on who you lease it from. Leasing offers a uniquely low upfront cost, although in the long run you’ll end up paying more this way than you would if you purchased it.

Benefits

Leasing a coffee machine comes with some perks. For instance, leasing means you’re the legal owner (albeit temporarily) of the machine, so you don’t have to worry about constantly dealing with a third party that could at any time revoke your coffee privileges. This leaves you with more control.

Most companies which allow small businesses to lease a coffee machine will also provide maintenance and technical services at little to no additional cost. This can be a life saver. If something goes wrong with the machine, you have someone reliable you can call to come in and make it right.

Drawbacks

Leasing a coffee machine seems like a very inexpensive option at the beginning, but in the long run, those fees add up. Most companies will only lease a coffee machine for a period of 3-5 years, so you have to be comfortable paying fees for that amount of time. 

They also lease on contract, meaning you’ll need to be ready to commit to that specific machine for the time frame planned.

It can also be particularly difficult to lease a coffee machine if your business has been in operation for less than 12-24 months. At this age, your company is not considered dependable enough to lease with, and so you may be refused by many companies.

Buying a Coffee Machine

Of course, you can always choose to outright purchase a coffee machine instead. This option is pretty self-explanatory – visit online sites and find the right coffee maker for your needs. After a hefty upfront cost, you receive permanent ownership of the machine.

How Much Does it Cost?

Different types of coffee machines will be offered at very different prices, but in this case we’ll be looking at the cost of an espresso machine, the most commonly rented and leased coffee maker for small businesses.

On average, directly purchasing an espresso machine will cost you anywhere from $400 to $10K, depending on the quality and how many servings it can make at one time.

Benefits

Purchasing a coffee machine upfront gives you complete control as the direct owner of the machine. You won’t have to form a contract with a third party or answer to anyone else. 

Instead of stressing about recurring fees and making payments on time, you can rest easy knowing the coffee machine is here to stay.

If your business relocates in the future, you can just take the coffee maker with you. As the owner, you can also use it for personal purposes and basically do whatever you want with it. If you plan on keeping your coffee machine for a long time, this might be your best bet.

Drawbacks

The biggest drawback to purchasing the coffee machine directly is the upfront cost to doing so. When buying a coffee machine, the price doesn’t stop at just the machine itself. 

There are many other costs and fees you can anticipate to pop up during the purchase process, such as maintenance, services, insurance, and warranties. You’ll also have to pay out of pocket to stock the machine and purchase cleaning supplies.

Because you’re the sole owner of the machine, you’ll also be expected to take care of it single-handedly. If there is a problem with the machine, you’ll be the one who has to hire help. This is why it’s important to invest in a warranty and product insurance, even though they add to the upfront cost.

What’s Best for You

No matter your business’s brewing habits, there’s an opportunity out there for you to get your hands on the perfect coffee machine. It can take some time to figure out which option is best for you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t let your budget get in the way of a delicious cup of coffee.