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Are Rentals a Better Deal Than Buying?

Posted by Matt on 2/9/2017 to Adopting Mobile GIS
Are Rentals a Better Deal Than Buying?

Is Renting your field equipment like GPS and rugged tablets a better financial decision than buying?


Well, that depends, but the answer is likely Yes.


YES, renting makes more sense financially if your business is not ready for the following aspects of owning and maintaining equipment:

    • The number of field teams you have on the ground fluctuates throughout the year.
    • There are months every year with no or little field work when purchased equipment collects dust in storage.
    • You do not have the budget to buy new GNSS receivers and tablets every few years to keep up with new technology and your direct competitors.
    • You do not have staff dedicated to upkeep and maintenance of equipment and batteries, and maintaining an intimate knowledge of tablet OS, GNSS firmware, and GIS app updates and changes.
    • You do not have dedicated staff and allotted time to spend tracking what equipment is on what job and for how long.

Even if your group has knowledgeable staff that can be dedicated to the above tasks, it still makes sense to rent in many situations.

For companies that use equipment seasonally, it makes more sense to avoid the initial capital expenditure and rent equipment, passing the rental cost on to clients.  Or, many companies buy one or two devices and then rent the additional units they require during busier times.  

For example:

    • Environmental and Engineering companies often have varying numbers of field users throughout the year; so it makes sense to use rentals to meet the busy periods.
    • Utilities often have large mapping/inventory needs that are short-lived and then followed by fewer daily staff managing the assets going forward, making the purchase augmented by additional rental units very desirable.
    • Some companies can live with submeter equipment for long-term asset monitoring but need high-accuracy for initial mapping work. Renting 1-cm RTK receivers for initial mapping and then buying submeter for long-term monitoring makes perfect financial sense.

In addition to the above discussion, technology advances are speeding up every year.  GPS and GNSS satellite and tablet technology are no different.  Things are changing so fast that most GNSS receiver manufacturers scramble to keep up with advances.  Because of this, the rate of new model releases has increased over the last 15 years.

For instance;

If not, there is already better equipment on the market.

Rental Benefits Include:

    1. New upgraded equipment from Anatum as advances become available
    2. Avoid initial capital expense of buying and waiting to reach a return on investment
    3. Easily pass the rental cost onto your client, avoiding the need to raise staff’s billable rates to cover purchases
    4. Our Field iPads come with Verizon cellular data (use data when you have projects and avoid paying for cellular service all year long, even when you have no field surveys)
    5. You get Anatum’s free technical support 7-days a week via phone and email
    6. Take advantage of Anatum’s knowledge of iOS, Android, Windows 10 and Windows Mobile
    7. Take advantage of Anatum’s GPS knowledge; SBAS, WAAS, RTK, GEOIDS, and proven field workflows
    8. Anatum’s vast knowledge base of Esri’s Collector, Survey 123, Navigator, WorkForce, and ArcGIS Online
      • Yep, we can help with that tricky first step to activate Esri’s Collector GNSS capture to correctly record satellite metadata from the GNSS receiver!

Field iPad Rentals Too!

Anatum also has an arsenal of Field iPad rental kits with all the components you need to get in and out of the field successfully (Android and Windows too!).  Our field tablets also come with Verizon cellular service and helpful apps like plant and animal guides with all our Field iPads.  Our Field Tablets are shipped already Bluetooth-paired with our GNSS receivers, which have been successfully utilized by field surveyors and drone operators across the U.S. for years.


But what are the benefits of utilizing Anatum’s Field iPads with Anatum’s GNSS receivers?

The biggest advantage is the peace of mind that every time that equipment is powered on at a job site, everything will work correctly.  Plus, keep in mind, it isn’t just buying tablets and software, and paying for cellular data, but the upkeep expense and necessary knowledge base. 

    • Are you prepared to use a few hours of company overhead to create each field tablet kit, load the software, and activate the cellular service?
    • How are your field users going to know what to do when a new OS or app update introduces a bug? 
    • How will you track which one of your clients used how much cellular data and did it incur a data overage from your cellular provider and how do you charge your client for that? 
    • Who will track that cellular data usage for every project at monthly intervals? 
    • Which brand of mobile device management software will be used to protect your tablet in case it is lost or stolen? 

Why bother with all that when you can let us take care of it all.  Our Field iPad kits can be shipped right to your field staff with all the apps you could need already loaded and already Bluetooth-paired with the appropriate rental GNSS receiver based on your accuracy requirement.  All the field crew has to do is turn on the iPad and GNSS receiver, open the GIS app they normally use and login to their account. 

Voila!  They are ready to start collecting field data with minimal effort!

The bottom line is, there isn’t any other company renting or selling Mobile GIS equipment with our field experience, team management experience, high-level of GNSS understanding and expertise, Esri product understanding and development experience, and experience of deploying full Mobile GIS systems and software dozens of times at the enterprise level!

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