Hiring Or Buying a Generator, Which is Best?

There are so many factors to consider before buying or hiring a generator and it’s important that you make the right decision, specific to your business. Sadly, there is no simple answer, but by giving you an overview of the options and analysing the pros and cons of each we want to help you find a solution that benefits your business with the perfect capacity to offer you optimum efficiency. At PCAS we understand that what is most important to one organisation may not be the best for the next. This is why our expert engineers are always on hand 24/7 to provide knowledgeable advice across different sectors and industries.

Before You Hire Or Buy A Generator

Knowing what you require is key to making the right decision. With petrol, diesel, and silent generators to choose from – all with different outputs, it is worth speaking to a professional who can advise and recommend the best solution, specific to your business requirements. Knowing the type of generator you need and the capacity also gives you a good starting point for calculating the costs. For example, when the generator rental cost exceeds the cost to buy up-front, you’ll know that’s probably not the best decision for the business long-term.

What Power Output Do You Need?

If you haven’t determined the size or style of generator that you need, we highly recommend that you do this before making your decision to buy or hire. If you can’t do this and the generator size varies on each job, it may be easier to rent.

The total load from the devices that you are powering must not exceed the generator’s output. At PCAS we have generators available with anywhere from 8 to 600kVA as well as custom generators offering 860-2350kVA to cover all types of usage.

It may seem tempting to go overboard for safety purposes, but this can ruin your chances of efficiency and cause issues for your business in the long run. By carefully calculating your power needs and considering the constant/specific load specification, we can minimise downtime and lower the maintenance costs. This is particularly important if you’re considering buying a generator because your business will be liable for the necessary maintenance and safety of your generator.

The power output needed can be determined by considering the following factors:

  • What you need to be able to power.
  • The continuous load specification of the generator.
  • The amount of equipment you want to power.
  • The period that the generator will be running. Is it standby, prime or continuous?
  • How many things will be constantly running, compared to the maximum power needed?
  • Is the starting wattage higher than the running wattage? Some devices will need more power to start.

*You should always consult a generator specialist to determine the generator and power output best suits your specific requirements.

Do You Need Additional Features Such As Remote Monitoring?

Generators have become extremely advanced over the years, which has been a massive relief for many businesses. With additional features such as cloud-based monitoring and automatic transfers available, downtime can be kept to a minimum with immediate start-up should your original power source fail. It’s worth considering the cost effect this would have on your business and whether or not it warrants the additional cost for remote monitoring.

What Type Of Generator Best Suits Your Needs?

Some of the factors to consider when choosing a generator include overall cost, fuel type, capacity, noise, maintenance, and whether it needs to provide standby, prime or continuous power. We’ve summarised some of the key features of each type of generator below.

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators are cheap to run and easy to maintain, making them one of the most reliable power supply solutions. They’re also ideal for powering large buildings and facilities, making them a popular choice for purchasing and hiring.

Petrol Generators

Petrol generators also offer low maintenance and they produce fewer carbon dioxide fumes. This makes them an ideal short-term solution, but they’re less cost-efficient when used extensively or for long periods of time.

Silent Generators

Generators are noisy. If noise is a major concern for any reason then you’ll want to consider opting for a silent generator. This can be a great option for backup generators in office environments where noise isn’t usually an issue and could potentially cause problems. They also work well for outdoor events.

Standby, Prime or Continuous?

When deciding on a generator, you need to determine the intended use so you don’t exceed the power rating and overload the power supply.

  • Standby: Perfect as an emergency (back-up) power supply to cover your business during power outages.
  • Prime: Provides unlimited hours at a variable load. Prime generators are ideal if you only need to use the power supply for approximately 8 hours per day.
  • Continuous: Delivers unlimited hours at a constant load. Ideal for providing facilities with continuous power supply, and will only shut down for maintenance.

Generator Hire Vs Buying Outright

Long Term Costs

Needless to say, renting a generator is much cheaper in comparison to the up-front cost of buying a generator. This makes it ideal for businesses on a tighter budget. It’s also an ideal option for short-term needs such as concerts and events. However, for businesses that require a more permanent solution, it’s often cheaper in the long run to buy a generator.

Maintenance & Repair

If you buy a generator, you’ll be responsible for its general maintenance and repairs, creating additional downtime and costs.

If you rent a generator, service technicians are available to repair or replace the unit when required. This makes them hugely beneficial for operations that continuously require a high amount of power, such as the oil and gas industry.

There’s also less configuration and installation involved when renting a generator, meaning minimal preparation is required on site. With advanced options available and usually simpler to modify when needed.

Standby & Prime Power

Can you afford to be without power? If you are in the hospitality sector, then you’ll need a reliable system with rapid response to provide zero downtime. Therefore, you’ll want a high-powered diesel generator and remote monitoring that can faultlessly transfer across. Remember, the backup generator needs to be the same size as the primary generator.

Thankfully, most temporary units can be delivered within 24 hours, depending on the required location, which may be suitable for smaller businesses where the downtime is cheaper than the cost of purchasing a generator. However, for most construction sites this can quickly become costly, making purchasing a better choice.

Onsite Assessment

Overall, there is a lot to consider and we want to help you achieve optimum efficiency for the lowest cost. This is why PCAS offers a free onsite assessment that can help determine which is best for your business. With over 50 years of experience working across Health Care, Renewable Energy, Data Centres, Consulting Companies, Telecommunications, and Facilities Management sectors, we have a deep understanding of how different businesses work and can provide critical power solutions to suit your requirements.

In Conclusion

If you’re still not sure whether to buy or hire, contact our team for a free initial consultation. At PCAS we can provide industry-leading design, install and commissioning of units of all sizes, from small systems to multi-megawatt power supplies, providing minimal downtime and interruption.

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