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Foreclosure Cleanup Business Advice: When to Rent & When to Buy Equipment

Updated on February 4, 2010

Info from a Foreclosure Cleaning Biz Owner about Buying vs Renting Equipment

For the most part, the services your foreclosure cleaning business decides to offer will be greatly dictated by how much it costs to get the job done. And, in a lot of cases, your major expense is going to be the equipment. Therefore, knowing how much these costs are – whether it’s renting or buying – is crucial to pricing a job right.

Should You Wait to Purchase Equipment for Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business?

The straightforward answer is, yes, especially if you are completely new to the industry and don’t have a lot of startup capital. And, even if you do decide to buy equipment, it doesn’t have to be new.

Places to Find Cheap Equipment for Your Foreclosure Cleaning Business

In fact, you should scour places like Craigslist.com and Backpage.com on a regular basis looking for good deals on equipment you can use in your foreclosure cleaning basis.

With so many homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure these days, many are selling, giving away and are outright abandoning things like lawn mowers, pressure washers, leaf blowers and a lot of other things you can use in your foreclosure clean up business.

In fact, when looked at like this, the foreclosure crisis is a double blessing for you.

Foreclosure Cleaning: What to Do When You Have No Equipment & No Money for Equipment

If you’re flat broke and starting from ground zero with nothing, then only offer those services for which you have the equipment right in your garage and your cleaning cabinets at home.

Every body has cleaning supplies . . . because they clean their own home. And if you live in the suburbs, you probably own a lawn more, or can easily borrow one from a friend or family member who lives in the burbs.

Right there, you have everything you need to do a basic foreclosure cleaning job. And, this is all most banks/lenders who hire your company will want. They want you to remove trash and debris, tidy the yard (a good cut and trimming of hedges will do this) and to give the home a good cleaning.

A lawn mower, some cleaning supplies right from you cabinet at home, some garbage bags, gloves and hedge trimmers --- and you’re good to go. And, oh yeah, lots of elbow grease!

When Renting Equipment for Your Foreclosure Cleaning Business is a Good Idea

Following are some guidelines to keep close when it comes to renting equipment. If you get a job that:

(i) you know you can complete to the client’s satisfaction;

(ii) that will pay well;

(iii) that can easily cover the cost of renting equipment;

(iv) where it would “hurt” your company’s rep NOT to take the job (eg, the client is unlikely to call you again because they worry that you can’t handle most of their job requests); and

(v) that you will receive payment for fairly quickly;

THEN, you should take the job and rent the equipment.

For example, let’s say a bank wants to hire you to remove trash and debris from the premises, mow the lawn and pressure wash the exterior.

You know you can remove the trash and debris, and mow the lawn with no problem. But, you don’t have a pressure washer. Well, you can rent it.

Large home improvement stores like Home Depot rent this type of equipment fairly cheaply. They rent it by the hour, day, week, etc.

You can rent a pressure washer in most locations for under $50 a day. If you’re charging the client $200 for this portion, it’s worth it for you to shell out the cash to rent the pressure washer and do the entire job (eg, the trash and debris removal, mowing the lawn and the pressure washing).

Just be sure not to make a habit of stretching yourself too thin financially. If you keep the guidelines outlined here in mind, you should be fine.

Learn much more about renting vs buying equipment for your foreclosure cleanup business, eg, the “emotion” of overspending when you first start, why waiting to purchase is smart, sample tool and equipment rental rates, etc.

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