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The Costs of Hiring vs Buying Steel Road Plates for your Construction Project 

January 2024

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Should you hire or buy steel road plates for your project? This decision, often overshadowed by other aspects of construction planning, holds significant financial and operational implications. Steel road plates, vital for ensuring safety and accessibility on construction sites, come with their own set of considerations. 

Whether you're managing a one-off project or looking at long-term construction ventures, understanding the costs and benefits of this decision is key to optimizing your project's efficiency and budget. 

What are Steel Road Plates? 

Steel road plates are robust steel sheets commonly used in construction to safely cover excavations, trenches, and open areas in roads and walkways. They play a crucial role in maintaining safety and enabling the flow of traffic and pedestrians around construction sites. These plates also protect the site and workers by covering hazardous openings and providing a stable surface for equipment. 

Hiring Steel Road Plates 

Hiring steel road plates typically involves contacting a rental company that specialises in construction equipment. The process includes selecting the right type and size of plates for your project, agreeing on rental duration, and understanding the terms and conditions, which often cover aspects like damage liability and late return fees. 

Availability and sourcing options can vary based on location and the specific requirements of the project. It's possible to source these plates from local or national construction equipment rental companies. Some companies might offer additional services like delivery and installation. 


The costs of hiring steel road plates can be divided into short-term and long-term. Short-term hire seems cost-effective for brief projects, but long-term hire costs can accumulate, making purchasing a more economical option for extended projects. 


Additional costs associated with hiring include transport to and from the site, installation, and any potential fees for late returns or damages. These should be factored into the overall cost comparison. 


Buying Steel Road Plates 

Before purchasing steel road plates, consider factors like the quality of the steel, the size and thickness needed for your specific project, and any customisation requirements. Assessing these factors ensures you invest in plates that meet your project's safety and durability requirements. 


The initial investment in buying steel road plates can be significant, but it may lead to long-term savings, especially if the plates are used frequently or for extended periods. This eliminates recurring rental costs and can be more economical over time. 

Consider the depreciation and potential resale value of the plates. Steel road plates have a long lifespan and can retain a significant portion of their value, which can be recouped by selling them when they're no longer needed. 


Hiring vs Buying

  1. Short-Term vs Long-Term Projects 

For short-term projects, hiring steel road plates is often more cost-effective due to lower upfront costs and the absence of long-term storage and maintenance responsibilities. In contrast, for long-term projects or frequent use across multiple projects, buying can be more economical in the long run. 


  1. Frequency of Use 

The decision also hinges on how frequently the steel road plates will be used. Infrequent use may favor hiring to avoid the cost and hassle of storage and maintenance. Regular use over several projects may justify the initial investment of buying. 


  1. Financial Implications 

This involves calculating the point at which the cost of buying steel road plates equals the cost of hiring them over a period. Factors in this calculation include the purchase price, potential resale value, hiring rates, and duration of use. 


  1. Cash Flow Considerations 

Hiring steel road plates can be more cash flow friendly, especially for companies with limited capital. Buying, while potentially more cost-effective in the long term, requires a significant upfront investment. 


  1. Project-Specific Needs 

Certain projects may require specially modified road plates. In such cases, buying might be preferable if suitable rental options are not available. Customisation ensures the plates meet the specific needs of the project. 


  1. Environmental and Sustainability Considerations 

Hiring contributes to a circular economy by reusing the same resources, which can be more sustainable than manufacturing new plates. However, if the plates are frequently needed, buying and using them long-term may have a lower environmental impact than repeatedly transporting hired plates. 


  1. Flexibility and Convenience 

Especially for one-off or infrequent needs hiring road plates eliminates the need for large upfront investments and is ideal for short-term projects. However, repeated hiring can become costly over time. Additionally, you need to consider the logistics of storage and maintenance during the rental period, as these responsibilities typically fall on the hirer. 


  1. Rental Fees 

Buying steel road plates allows you to avoid recurring rental fees and having the asset available whenever it’s needed. This option might suit companies with regular need for steel road plates. On the downside, buying involves initial capital expenditure. Additionally, the buyer is responsible for the storage and maintenance of the plates, which includes dealing with wear and tear and ensuring the plates remain in usable condition. 


Scope Cranes’ Steel Road Plate Hire Solutions 

While purchasing might seem like a cost-effective solution for long-term or frequent use, hiring can offer flexibility, reduced capital expenditure, and the convenience of professional support and maintenance. 

This is where Scope Cranes & Logistics steps in to offer an ideal solution for your steel road plate needs. Our steel plate hire services are designed to provide you with high-quality, durable road plates for any project duration, big or small. With Scope Cranes, you gain the advantage of competitive pricing, expert advice, and support tailored to your project’s unique requirements. Our commitment to safety, reliability, and customer satisfaction ensures that your project runs smoothly, without the added worry of managing steel road plates. 

So, whether your project is short-term or you require plates intermittently for various projects, consider Scope Cranes for your steel road plate hire. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist in making your next construction project a success, with the right tools and expertise at your disposal. 

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