Buying Golf Course Maintenance Equipment – New, Used Or Leased?

Grounds keeping for a golf course is an exact science and art. In order for a course to be considered within standards, there are numerous requirements for everything from turf height to speed of play that will change between fairways, greens, and roughs. Crews have to rely on dependable golf course maintenance equipment in order to get the job done right and to be able to stay on top of demanding maintenance schedules.

We will examine two important decisions when purchasing the necessary equipment. First, should one buy or lease their machinery? If buying, should purchases be made for new tools or used turf equipment?

Buy Or Lease

Many times people will ask this question when looking at a new car, but when equipping a maintenance fleet with the tools for their trade, the decision becomes much more detailed.

The major advantage of leasing equipment is that a crew never has to work about obsolescence. When the lease terms are over, the latest equipment can then be put on a renewed contract. Crews will have access to the latest machinery and technology without ever have to worry about obsolete models. However, there are many basic pieces of machinery that don’t really change with the times. A turf mower or an earth mover is not going to advance drastically beyond maybe a few added amenities.

Therefore, actually purchasing most equipment is the better option in many cases. While loan payments can sometimes be higher than lease payments, at the end of the loan period, the equipment stays on the golf course. Well maintained mowers and tractors will last a long time, offering many years of service without having to worry about monthly payments. In the end, this offers better financial flexibility since a crew will only be paying expenses when using equipment, rather than making payments even if the equipment is sitting unused.

Just like buying a home versus renting, with every year that goes by, owned assets are worth more and more compared to making new lease or rental agreements.

New Or Used Turf Equipment

That being said, golf course maintenance equipment can be a costly investment. Without a large amount of free capital, most people will end up taking out a loan in order to purchase new machines. Still, the latest models do offer a piece of mind knowing that the machines will start up and should not have any problems for many years down the road. However, there are other options.

Obviously, used turf equipment has the advantage of being less expensive than a new model. Being able to purchase a tractor outright will save on interest payments. While repairs and maintenance might be a larger issue for use turf equipment, the monthly savings will more than compensate for that expense. Most mowers and big machines are made very well and will last a long time, even if they are bought used.

Ultimately, these decisions are about looking at the long term. While leasing is attractive for short term decisions making and for smaller businesses who are strapped for cash, purchasing the required tools will always pay off in the long run.