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When to Rent a C-Arm vs. Buy a C-Arm

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While it's always important to have the right tools for serving patients, sometimes budgeting for those tools can get complicated. This is especially true of imaging equipment like C-arms, where the up-front cost of an outright purchase can be daunting. Fortunately, there are other options available to the facility that needs to get work done now, but might not have surplus cash until later.

Keep reading to learn a few scenarios where you'll be better off buying a C-arm, as well as a few where you may want to put that purchase on the back burner and rent, at least for a while...

When to Rent vs. Buy a C-Arm

We've worked with thousands of facilities on both rentals and purchases. In our experience, the following are the scenarios where each shines.

Renting a C-Arm

Renting a C-arm is a good pick if you:

  • Are filling a temporary need
  • Have greater operating budget access than capital budget access
  • Want to try a model out before you buy it
  • Are testing your market for a new procedure
  • Are opening a new facility and need to ramp up patient volume before committing to a purchase

The greatest value of renting is the low risk it carries. It brings the equipment you need into your facility, covers it with service support (parts, labor, and travel, in Block Imaging's case), and costs you only as long as you choose to keep it- all without touching your capital budget.

We often work with sites that sign on for a longer term rental. They pay a lower monthly budgeted amount than short-term renters, and enjoy the annual preventive maintenance and 98% uptime guarantee of our extended full service warranty. In many cases, our long-term renters qualify to have a portion of their monthly rental payments applied towards the system's purchase price. This is a compelling incentive for a facility trying a system out before purchasing or for a startup that expects a period of "ramping up" before having strong patient volume in a new area.

Buying a C-Arm

Buying a C-arm is a good pick if you:

  • Have headroom in your capital equipment budget
  • Have confidence in the make and model you need/want
  • Have an established facility with stable volume
  • Are equipping your facility to meet a long-term goal

If you have the liquidity to pay for the system up front, you can save on the overall cost of acquiring it. You'll also find that many systems come with a one-year parts, labor, and service agreement included. 

Don’t forget: when purchasing equipment, you can also take advantage of the Section 179 tax credit. Be sure to check with your internal accounting team or IRS Section 179 for more information.

The Takeaway

Wherever you are on the renter vs. buyer spectrum, there are options that can fit your needs. When a need is temporary or your circumstances require an extra degree of flexibility, a short-term rental is the best bet. When your plans and goals are firm but volume and revenue will take some time to ramp up, a long-term rental with the possibility of a buyout is a good pick. And when you have a proven market, proven revenue, and more room to breathe on your capital, purchasing might be your best option.

Whether you're leaning towards renting or purchasing, we’d love to connect and learn more about how we can help in meeting your goals. And if you aren't sure what might be your best option, we're ready to get creative and customize a plan that will work for you. 

Which C-Arm Is Best for You