So you or the loved one you care for needs a wheelchair ramp to get in/out of the house. Should you rent one? Should you buy one? Should you build one? The answer depends on your specific situation and the resources you have to devote. Following are thoughts to consider.
Building a Wheelchair Ramp
Building a wheelchair ramp is the answer for people needing a ramp for an extended period of time in one location. If you, a friend or family member has carpentry skills, building a ramp can be a real money saver. Depending on the type of ramp needed, even hiring a contractor to build one may cost less. What’s more, there are often many organizations that provide ramp building help on a volunteer basis. The above picture was taken of a Kiwanis group building a ramp in Texas. If you hire a builder, make sure they’ve had experience building ramps before. There are certain safety features that must be adhered to. Check references. The Minnesota Ramp Project has a great ramp construction manual to use for reference.
Renting a Wheelchair Ramp
Renting a ramp is typically your best solution for short-term needs. If you anticipate recovering from your illness or injury in less than 6 months’ time, renting a ramp is fast, easy and cost-effective. You will know that the ramp is property constructed for safety and it’s not a permanent addition to your home. When the need is gone – so is the ramp.
Ramp rentals also come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit most any need. Some are portable. Rental companies are often connected with a variety of contractors that can install and remove ramps in short order. Some businesses even offer 24-hour installation services.
Depending on your medical insurance and need, the rental cost may even be covered. Contact your insurer or the rental company for more information. Rental companies can be found online, the phonebook, or you can ask a local durable medical equipment store for information.
Buying a Wheelchair Ramp
Purchasing a ramp may be the answer for anyone expecting to need a ramp beyond 6 months’ time. Renting a ramp longer than that will typically end up costing you more than buying one outright. Some rental companies will allow you to rent the ramp to start and if you determine you need to buy the ramp, a portion of what you’ve spent on rental fees can be applied to the purchase price. The rent to buy approach works well for people with undetermined recovery times.
Buying a ramp may also be a smart choice for someone that knows they’ll need the ramp for a long period of time, but may be anticipating a move. The ramp may then be taken down and re-assembled at the next location, but this assumes the ramp requirements will be similar with both locations. Another upside to buying a ramp is that they may offer some resale value if/when they’re no longer needed.