What is the real cost of owning and operating equipment? An indepth study by MBA students at the 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.