BY JEFF GRIFFIN
THE SAVINGS DON’T LIE
Structured wiring technicians
carry their own tools for everyday work, but
the companies that employ them often find
it practical and economical to rent high-end
network-testing equipment. Specialty rental
companies carry broad selections of network
and electrical testers.
Some companies offer rent-to-own
programs that reduce upfront costs and
can better fit with the contractor’s cash
flow. Most rental business is conducted
online with product shipped to customers.
Customers close to rental facilities can pick
up products in person. Transcat, Rochester, N. Y.,
is actively involved in renting electrical test
equipment, including voice/data/video testers.
“Transcat focuses on test and measurement
equipment because our customers know us for
this segment, and we are able to offer equipment
that would be too obscure for most mainstream
retail rental outlets,” said Niko Smrekar, senior
director of marketing and rentals, Transcat. “We
also focus on equipment that is frequently used
by contractors. The most commonly requested
rentals are for network cable testing equipment
for either copper or fiber cable, or both. Some
of these network cable and network testers are
very costly. The prices for the more feature-rich
units can quickly exceed $15,000 and can go up
to and beyond $40,000. By renting, contractor
companies can transparently and fairly pass off
the expense of procuring the equipment to cus-
tomers and avoid large capital expenditures.”
In addition, some of these units need to be
calibrated and maintained annually. Renters
receive a unit that is ready to go and avoid the
hassle of maintenance.
Smrekar said three primary factors influence
the decision whether to rent equipment such as
testers. First, if the equipment will only be used
for a short period, it may be more economical to
rent. Second, the rental company is responsible
for maintenance, and equipment is provided fully
serviced. Third, renting may give the customer
flexibility to procure the equipment from the expense budget rather than the capital equipment
Transcat serves the United States, Canada
and Puerto Rico. Most rental units are shipped
to customers. Pickup is available at its Rochester
headquarters and in Irvine, Calif.
“We see the market growing, especially
in the areas renting equipment that is used
occasionally in the field by contractors and
it is perceived as too expensive to purchase
for a one-time use and too inexpensive to
make it profitable for the large-scale test
and measurement rental outlets,” Smrekar
said. “Transcat is one of the few providers
of equipment in this range, and we see the
Perspective from two manufacturers
Mark Mullins, field marketing manager, Fluke
Networks, Everett, Wash., said that, while the
company does not directly rent products, it has
a number of industry partners who do.
“Our Versiv cabling-certification system is
by far our most popular rental product,” Mullins
said. “It allows contractors who install struc-
tured cabling system to certify their projects, and
certification is key for end-customer acceptance
and manufacturers’ warranties.”
The most common scenario for renting certi-
fication testers is to supplement the testers the
contractor already owns.
“These testers are a significant investment
for a contractor, so they need to have enough
work to keep them consistently busy.” Mullins
said. “Rather than purchase enough testers to
meet their peak usage, contractors will rent
testers for those occasions. The second-most-common scenario is for small contractors who
only occasionally do structured cabling jobs. For
them, renting is less expensive than purchasing
“Users also rent testers for small projects and
troubleshooting their work infrastructure, especially fiber optics. Another benefit provided by
rental companies is maintenance of the testers.
They ensure they have the latest software and
test limits and all required accessories,” he said.
Test instrument rentals are increasing for
two reasons, Mullins said.
Why rent test and
Renting is about cost and convenience. It
can accomplish the following:
• Reduce costs: If a unit is needed a few
times a year, it may be cheaper to rent it
than to buy.
• Provide inventory control: Rent only
what is needed, for the time it’s needed, and
avoid carrying excessive inventory.
• No capital requests required:
Renting is an expense. Most organizations have
more flexibility with their expense budget
than with capital investments.
• Get needed equipment quickly:
Rental expenses typically are low, so they
are easier to get approval than larger capital
requests, and the units can be acquired faster.
• Reduce maintenance: Rental units
come already calibrated. No need to worry
about downtime or maintenance expenses.
• Control expense flow: Rental expenses are charged monthly, so cash can
• Provide flexible payment plans:
Special arrangements, such as renting
with an option to buy later, often can be
worked out to meet individual needs.
Prepared from information provided by Transcat.
Fluke Networks’ DSX-8000 cable analyzer