Here’s a couple of things to consider about whether to RENT or PURCHASE an item for your dorm.
This mainly applies to Microfridges, but is applicable to other dorm room items as well.
The main reason you should PURCHASE a Mini fridge:
Its USUALLY cheaper in the longrun (if you don't factor in the storage costs). Even if you have to pay a higher price upfront, after 2 or 3 years of use, you usually come out ahead. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will be living on campus for all four years, won't ever be going to study abroad at any point, and don't have transportation or summer storage concerns, then from a strictly financial standpoint it probably makes more sense to buy.
Now when comparing cost, you should take into consideration that when you RENT a microfridge from Dorms Direct, only a portion of your money is paying for the actual rental of the unit. A large chunk is paying for the SERVICE we provide - assembly, transportation, delivery, installation, removal, maintenance, storage, etc. (And the rest goes to line our pockets with fat stacks yo! Mwahahahah…) But basically, when you are renting a Microfridge (or anything else) from us, you are paying for the convenience we provide, and not simply the cost of the actual item. However, over the longrun, buying is almost always going to be the less expensive option. But even if you manage to get a minifridge for free, there are still a few things to consider...
Reasons why you MIGHT want to RENT a MicroFridge:
Transportation: How far do you live from school? If you live close by and can make multiple trips for all your belongings, it’s probably smart to buy. But if you live several hours away, you will probably only be making one trip. Do you really want to pack up and store a big heavy appliance like that every summer? Packing space for your clothes and other personal items is already at a premium without having to worry about moving and storing large breakable objects that take up a ton of space like fridges and tvs. If you already have a large truck or SUV, this may not as be a big of an issue for you. But for many of you that are traveling in a small car (or flying in), you are simply not going to have room to bring everything with you. And a minifridge takes up a heck of a lot of space in a car…
Storage: If you DO live far away from school, chances are you'll need to store your stuff over the summer. Storage costs vary WIDELY from city to city so you could score some cheap storage, or you could end up paying $500/summer. Not to mention that you still have to actually go take your furniture to the storage unit yourself. A fridge, tv, and futon don't exactly fit on the back of your bike either... So when you are thinking about purchasing items, you shouldn't just look at the initial price tag; you should consider what your yearly storage needs are going to be and factor in those costs as well.
Hassle: Even if you’re a big strong footballer - do you really want to hike this thing up and down three flights of stairs every year? You’re already going to have to make multiple trips just carrying all of your other stuff. One less item might not really sound like it is saving you much, but it can really wear you out on moving day - and its going to be a nightmare fighting your way through the crowded hallways with the other hundred students all trying to do the same thing.
Uncertainty: Do you already know exactly where you will be living for the next four years? What happens if you move off campus to an apartment with a full sized refrigerator in the kitchen? What about if you stay on campus, but you have a new roommate who also bought a minifridge? At many schools, you're only allowed one per room which means that you might not be able to use the mini fridge you just bought last year! Bottom line: it is REALLY difficult to plan out your living situation for the next four years with any sort of certainty. Purchasing a mini fridge will limit your options and may result in wasted money. However, Renting will allow you much more flexibility for whatever situation you find yourself in the future.
Cost: A fridge is something that is going to be used by everyone living in the room. Many students split the cost with their roommate which brings the cost down to around $100 per student (or less if you are in a triple). And again, a very large portion of that is paying for the SERVICE that we provide, in addition to the rental cost of the unit. Additionally, a large portion of the profits of each rental goes to fund on campus student programs and employ student workers. None of that happens when you purchase a micro fridge from a big box store.
Maintenance: If you have any problems with your unit (the microwave stops working, the freezer stops freezing, etc) we will come out right away and take care of the issue. If we are unable to repair the unit on site, we will swap it out with a new one. However, if you purchase a unit from Walmart, and then it breaks down, you can hope that it is still under warranty, and if so, return it to the manufacturer for repair (time/effort/headaches). If the warranty has expired, then you’ll just have to purchase a new one (more money/time/effort). You get 100% peace of mind from renting.
Room Changes: If you happen to change rooms during the schoolyear, you are going to have to move all your stuff to your new room. Most of you won’t even have a car. I assure you that carrying a fridge half-way across campus is not fun, which is what you might end up doing if you decide to purchase one. But if you rent one, we will come out and move the microfridge to your new room for you.
At the end of the day, If the ONLY thing that matters to you is saving money, then you should definitely buy your own refrigerator. However, if you think that your time/sanity/stress level (and that of your parents) is something of value to you, then you should consider renting.