Guide to Renting vs. Buying Linens and Towels

Guide to Renting vs. Buying Linens and Towels


One of the most common questions among businesses that use linens is whether they should rent or buy linens. There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In fact, the answer depends on what kind of business you're running and the short-term and long-term costs of renting linens. If you're a business that regularly uses linens, such as a gym, hotel, spa or health care facility, the decision to rent or buy linens can have a major impact on your bottom line. 

Reasons to Rent Linens and Towels

Whether you're starting a new business or investigating ways to streamline business practices, it's a good time to look at renting vs. buying linens. Making the right choice for you can save you money now and down the road. Finances shouldn't be the only factor driving your decision. There's much to be said for working with a company committed to providing just the right linens at the right time. 

Renting linens may be the best choice for your business if: 

1. The Linens You Want Are Standard

Hotels, gyms and nursing homes typically use standard linens made from basic materials. These linens are made from good fabric, but not from fabrics that are considered high-quality or specialty material. Standard linens are easy to find from a rental company and are likely to be in stock and plentiful. When you rent these linens, you can rest assured you'll always have a plentiful stock of the linens you need whenever you need them. 

2. You Have to Replace Linens Often

Linens don't always last long in a high-traffic environment. Towels at a gym may disappear or become damaged quickly. Linens at a nursing home can become permanently stained after just a couple of uses. When you rent your linens, the rental company oversees the cleaning and replacement of lost or missing inventory. Besides being a more cost-effective option, this frees up your staff to do more important things beyond laundry and linen inventory. 

3. You Don’t Want to Invest in Linen Inventory

If you're in a business that regularly uses towels and linens of any kind, it's a good idea to keep three times the needed linens on hand. This ensures that fresh linens are always available, even when some inventory is being cleaned or waiting to be cleaned. This is often a necessary business practice, but overall, it requires quite a bit of linen.

If your business is just starting out, you may not have the funds available to purchase that many linens or the equipment needed to wash and dry them each day. Opting to work with a rental company gives you access to larger amounts of inventory without the expensive upfront investment of purchasing your own linens or equipment. 

4. It Takes up Less Space

One towel doesn't take up much space, but 500 towels or sets of bedsheets do. Many businesses don't have the space to store extra linens when they aren't in use. When you decide to rent linens and towels, you reduce the need for storage because the rental company takes care of storage for you. They bring only what you need during a previously specified amount of time, then come back to remove the dirty ones and replace clean ones brought from their own storage facility.

It Takes up Less Space

5. There Are Fewer Expenses

Though it costs money to sign a deal with a linen rental company, it also costs money to buy and maintain your own linens. If you rent your linens, the rental company comes on a regular basis to swap dirty linens for clean ones. The company takes the dirty linens back to its facility to launder them. Businesses who own their own linens also have to purchase a washer and dryer, as well as detergent. Then, there is the expense that comes if those washers and dryers break. 

The other cost savings that come with linen rental is that most companies won't charge you for rental linens that are lost or damaged. If you own your own linens, you'll be responsible for paying for every towel, washcloth and pillowcase that goes missing. Those missing towels can add up quickly.

Reasons to Purchase Linens and Towels

Is it better to rent or buy linens? There are several good reasons to rent linens, but it isn't for everyone. It may be better to purchase your own linens if: 

1. Your Linens Are a Unique Expression of Your Brand

Certain luxury businesses, such as hotels, rely on the quality of their linens for marketing luxury. If you're looking for a high-quality fabric for towels or linens, a rental company may not have what you need. Rental options are often crafted to provide basic, non-descript linens to the average consumer. If you're looking for linens in a distinct color or with your company's logo, purchasing custom-ordered linens may be the way to go. 

2. You Have Extremely Variable Linen Needs

Rental prices are typically based around a regularly occurring schedule of delivery. In other words, you decide in advance what you'll need and how often it will be delivered. These contracts revolve around businesses that need regular linen deliveries, such as gyms and nursing homes. If you don't anticipate needing large quantities of linens frequently, it may be more cost-effective to purchase what you need and store it in between uses. This also provides the flexibility to use your linens whenever and however you need to, without navigating the terms of a service agreement.

You Have Extremely Variable Linen Needs

3. You Want to Avoid Contracts or Service Agreements

When you purchase your own linens, you aren't tied down to contracts or service agreements. You can use the linens when and how you need and you don't have the added expense of paying a regular rental fee. This may be a better option if your business doesn't use linens every week or doesn't use enough to justify entering into a rental contract that requires regular deliveries and payments.

Now Linens Supports Linen Buying or Renting

Now Linens has been in the textile industry for more than 30 years, providing quality linens and prompt delivery to each of our clients in the Chicago area. In addition to our rental services, we sell quality linens at competitive prices. If you're debating renting vs. buying linens, our experienced sales staff is just a phone call away. Let us show you why we're the one-stop shop for both COG and rental services. 

Browse our online inventory or contact Now Linens today for rental options.