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What's the TCO?

What is the real cost of owning and operating equipment? An indepth study by MBA students at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management set out to find the answer – interviewing senior leaders in organisations across Europe who depend upon vital equipment to deliver their products and services – and who agreed to anonymously share data and experiences to help provide a new tool for decision-making. The result is a comprehensive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator free to use by all organisations seeking to decide whether to rent or whether to buy.

This unbiased and independent calculator – which can be adapted for most requirements – analyses the TCO of two different types of machines - below 15 tons and over 15 tons, and in the larger category, allows users to choose between a loader and an excavator, due to the substantial differences in cost structure.

Of course, choices about renting or owning are not just financial. The students reported a range of other factors which underpin the decision including arguments about support services, sustainability, logistics and access to expertise.

To start using the calculator, simply register. The European Rental Association welcomes all feedback on the model, the presentation and user experience which will be taken into account when delivering the next release. Please email: We would also like to thank all participants who agreed to contribute to the development of this exciting new tool.