Washington, D.C. — Office equipment rental equipment can cost thousands of dollars for office workers, and the cost often rises further with each year the equipment is used, according to a new analysis from the National Association of Realtors.
“There is a big gap between what you can buy and what you need,” said David Gertner, president and CEO of the Realtor Association.
“We’re seeing it everywhere, in every state, in almost every industry.”
The association’s annual report, released Wednesday, showed the average annual cost of renting office equipment from three vendors — an electrician, an electricians’ friend and a computer repair company — rose from $2,000 in 2016 to $3,700 last year.
The average monthly rent increased from $1,800 to $2 and the average daily rent rose from 3,000 to 4,400, the report said.
“It’s becoming a trend,” Gertnerson said.
In 2016, the average rent for an office-equipment rental in Washington state was $1.1 million, an increase of 22 percent from the previous year.
But that is far below the national average of $3.3 million.
That is largely because of the cost of installing and maintaining the equipment.
In the past, rent for office computers in the Washington area was much more expensive.
“Our customers are often very high end and they have the equipment they need, so we don’t really have a lot of competition for that,” Gretner said.
Rent is an issue for workers, too.
The National Association for Business Economics estimates that an average American office worker needs one to two hours of office time per week to keep his or her job.
And if that is not enough, the survey said, the amount of time a worker spends commuting to and from work could be a major factor in how long he or she is productive.
“That is not a situation where people can just walk into a business and say, ‘I’m going to work out of my office for five hours a day,'” Gertners said.
The association also found that the average hourly rent for a computer or tablet repair job in Washington was $8.25 per hour, a significant increase from the $7.50 per hour that the workers were paid in 2016.
The median hourly rent in the state is $8 per hour and in some areas, like the suburbs, it could be as high as $10.50 an hour.
That could make it difficult for the average employee to keep up with their rent, the association said.
On average, the median hourly salary for a technician in the Puget Sound region is $17.30, according a Washington state Labor Department report.
Gertson said he was surprised that the median income for an individual in the region is as low as $20,000 a year.
“If you are an individual making $40,000 per year, that’s a very significant difference,” Gontner said, noting that the number of workers earning less than $20 million is a major problem.
“The bottom line is that our rental rates are so high that the costs of living are so much higher than the wages, and so the demand for our products is so low that the supply is so much lower,” he said.
A survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau this month found that more than half of the workers surveyed had never owned an office computer.
“A lot of people have not been given the opportunity to purchase one or learn how to use one,” Gostner said of the data.
“They have no idea how to set up a business, how to manage it, how much to charge, how long it takes to pay the bills, or what their expectations are of the service.”