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3D laser scanning can help professionals collect accurate information on the as-is conditions of a site, object or facility quickly and easily. Not only can using a laser scanner enable professionals to gather incredibly precise data, it can save on project costs and the time it takes to measure a space or item.

Despite these benefits, laser scanners are expensive – the equipment can cost anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the type of technology. Shelling out this kind of money for a single laser scanner that may only be used a couple of times may not seem like a good investment for some firms. When you consider how 3D laser scanning technology continues to evolve, buying may seem impractical to some. In fact, the needs of projects often differ, so a specific piece of technology for one job may not be the best tool for another. 

Buying isn't right for everyone
For most companies, renting is often the most affordable option. A business can pick from a wide range of scanners and receive expert advice on each system before renting a laser scanner – all at an affordable price. Many times, companies can rent a specific laser scanner for weeks at a time. However, many continue to wonder if purchasing a laser scanner is right for them. 

If you're stuck between purchasing a laser scanner or renting one and cost isn't an issue, ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Are there future projects planned that require this specific type of laser scanner? A large project may require laser scanning right now, but scanners are long-term investments, and a company should ensure they have other projects already lined up that require the technology before they think about investing in one. In fact, companies need to do a thorough amount of research into different types of laser scanning technology, and they should ensure these future projects can be accomplished using the specific type of scanner they will purchase. Otherwise, companies will be left with a laser scanner they have no further use for, and have to conduct the process of finding a scanner all over again.
  2. Who will operate the scanner? While many laser scanners are easy to use, technicians need to be trained in correctly operating the technology for the company to see any benefit from using it. If there isn't someone there who can be relied upon to operate it, buying the system won't be worth it.
  3. How will this person be trained on the technology? Laser scanners come with small booklets that outline how to use the technology, but these resources often aren't enough to truly operate the device. Any users need to be professionally trained for data to be mapped properly and for the information to be used correctly.
  4. Will there be support available if the technology requires maintenance? As with any type of technology, laser scanners need to maintained. Professionals who are trained to operate the systems may be educated on how to keep the technology functioning properly, but what about trouble-shooting? Knowing how to fix issues is essential, and requires a significant amount of knowledge.
  5. Will you need to insure the laser scanner? There are many additional costs and needs that come with owning laser scanners, and one is insurance, which is often expensive.

There are many other things companies need to keep in mind when they are considering purchasing a laser scanner, but these are often the most important things businesses should think about. Most firms find that they don't need to buy their own 3D laser scanning technology to receive the benefits laser scanners offer. Renting is often the most affordable and advantageous solution for many companies' needs.