There are a few different ways you can put in some good, high-quality tennis practice.
One of which, of course, is by using a tennis ball machine.
You have probably already recognized the advantages of using a tennis ball machine if you are reading this article.
In order to use a tennis ball machine for your practice sessions, you have two options: either buy one or rent it. Buying may not be a viable option solely due to the higher price these machines usually command. Though, in this case, renting one may be a good alternative.
In this article, you will find information on tennis ball machine rentals and everything you need to know about renting one, including whether or not it will be worth it. Continue reading below.
Can You Rent a Tennis Ball Machine?
You can rent a tennis ball machine from your local tennis club. Clubs and local businesses may be able to offer different options for renting a tennis ball machine, depending on where you live. Renting a tennis ball machine is one excellent way to improve your game.
There are a few things that you will notice if you are on the market for a tennis ball machine.
First, there are several different, relatively big manufacturers. And second, there will be a variety of different tennis ball machines.
Tennis ball machines will vary from very bare-bones, complete beginner, entry-level models to super-advanced, all bells and whistles machines, that are capable of simulating realistic experience. Usually, those higher-end tennis ball machines will be very expensive (selling for several thousand dollars in certain cases). They will be pretty much reserved for commercial use by the tennis clubs.
Your local tennis club should be the first place to check. Give them a call or stop by and ask if they rent tennis ball machines. Tennis ball machine rentals are growing in popularity, so the chances are you will be given some quotes.
Overall, renting a tennis ball machine from your court of choice is the best and usually the easiest way to go about this.
However, not all courts will have a tennis ball machine available for rent. (Or they may not have the type of tennis ball machine that provides certain features you desire.)
In this case, you can turn to some third-party businesses that specialize in tennis ball machine rentals.
This is a good alternative, as well, do not get me wrong, but there are a few caveats that you need to consider first.
Before renting the tennis ball machine, you will have to make sure the court availability. These companies only rent the machines and do not offer a tennis court of any kind, so you will need to contact the tennis court to book a timeslot.
Only then can you go ahead and rent your tennis ball machine.
Then the tennis ball machine will either be delivered to the court you have specified, or you will have to pick it up from a designated location.
Alternatively, you can always try to borrow one from a friend or team up together with a few buddies and buy a tennis machine that you can share.
What You Need to Know About Renting a Tennis Ball Machine
Now that you have a good idea of what to do in order to rent a tennis ball machine, let’s explore a few important points.
How Much Is Your Budget
Before you go ahead and rent a tennis ball machine, you need to decide on how much money you can spend. This is a very important step because tennis ball machines are not cheap to buy, but they are also not cheap to rent either, especially if you play very often.
You have to include not just the cost of renting the tennis ball machine but also any other club or court fees that you may need to pay, especially if you live somewhere to the north where you may need to play indoors more often.
Right now, you may be wondering, “But what is a typical rental price for a ball machine? Do I not need that information, too?” Don’t worry. I will get to this and more questions in a bit. For now, just try to come up with an acceptable budget.
What Kind of Tennis Ball Machine You Need
The next step you have to consider before renting a tennis ball machine is what kind of machine you need.
There are a lot of different tennis ball machines that have different capabilities and features.
Tennis clubs usually have mid to high-end tennis ball machines because that way, they are able to meet the demand of the majority of tennis players. In other words, it is highly unlikely that you will find a very basic, entry-level tennis ball machine for rent.
Regardless if you will be renting a tennis ball machine from a local club, company, or other facilities, make sure to ask around and see what options they are offering you and what these machines are capable of.
Some tennis players may need tennis ball machines that can shoot balls at average speeds and some horizontal oscillation capabilities. Others may want to have a tennis ball machine that can feed the tennis balls at a fully randomized two-line oscillation with varying levels of topspin or underspin and so much more.
Below are some features that you may want to consider asking for:
- The brand and model of the machine.
- The ball capacity of the machine.
- Does it have an oscillator, and if yes, what kind.
- Can it feed balls with topspin and backspin? Is the spin adjustable?
- How is it controlled, and does it have a remote?
- How quickly and at what speed can it feed you balls?
- Does it have an internal oscillation?
- Is it an AC or a DC model, and if it is battery-powered, how many hours can it be used for?
Check this out:
- Best Tennis Ball Machines
- Spinshot Tennis Ball Machine Review
- Lobster Tennis Ball Machine Review
- Wilson & Sports Tutor Tennis Ball Machine Review
What Is Included in a Tennis Ball Machine Rental
The next thing is to inquire about the details about renting a tennis ball machine. Usually, tennis balls are also included in the total price of renting a tennis ball machine. (Typically around 100 or so tennis balls.)
Frequently, if a ball gets lost, they may charge you extra. It could be about $1 per tennis ball lost, but it is good to be prepared and informed.
Make sure to ask for any other details that may concern you?
Does Your Local Club Allow for Tennis Ball Machines to Be Brought and Used
Another thing that should be a mandatory part of your due diligence is to check with your local club if you are actually allowed to bring in and use a tennis ball machine.
Some tennis clubs will not allow you to bring in a tennis ball machine.
Ask the owners, managers, and the pros working there. See what they will say.
There are different reasons why a club may not allow you to use your own machine. They can do it because of liability issues, noise, they may have their own machines, that they rent, or simply because the pros there may fear losing part of their income from giving lessons.
With that being said, many courts may not have any objections about you bringing in a tennis ball machine.
However, make sure you do the necessary research first. You do not want to buy yourself a tennis machine only to find that no court in the vicinity will allow you to use it.
Average Cost of Tennis Ball Machine Rentals
When I rented a tennis ball machine for the first time, I wondered if I was paying a fair price. Nobody wants to pay more than what is fair, and you can never be too sure nowadays.
This is why I have included this section, as it is my belief that it is the most important step of the process.
A tennis ball machine can be rented on an hourly or daily basis. Often there will also be 7-day and weekend rental offers too. Certain places may offer practice programs for renting a tennis ball machine, which includes several practice sessions per month. And better yet, some clubs can offer unlimited hours, one-time payment for a whole year plan.
The average cost of renting a tennis ball machine is about $25 per day for the weekdays and between $30 to $90 per day during the weekends. The hourly rates for renting a tennis ball machine are usually around $10 to $20 per hour, with an average of about $12.
Some places may be renting a tennis ball machine for $25 per hour, which in all fairness, is considered too much unless they offer flexible hours.
A 7-day tennis ball machine rental may cost between $90 and $200.
On the other hand, renting a tennis ball machine for the entire weekend can cost between $48 and $60.
Certain places may offer all-you-can-hit rates of $30 to $50 per month. However, these machines will usually be taken, and it may be very difficult to find time when the machines will be free.
And renting a tennis ball machine for the entire year, which may include unlimited hours (using a one-time payment plan), can cost as much as $250. (Depending on the plan and availability of the machines, this can be an excellent value deal.)
The court fees are usually not included in that price as this is the cost of renting the tennis ball machine alone. So before going ahead and renting it, make sure to calculate all the potential costs.
Is It Worth Renting a Tennis Ball Machine?
Whether or not it will be worth renting a tennis ball machine vs. buying one will depend on how often you plan on using it. If you play and practice daily or every other day, it will be worth buying your own tennis ball machine.
In certain cases where your local club rents a tennis ball machine really cheap and you do not practice very often it may not be worth buying a tennis ball machine.
Tennis ball machines are usually of very high quality and as long as properly looked after and maintained will last you a very long time. Some models may even last you up to a decade or so. The single biggest expense in owning a tennis ball machine comes from the fact that you will be replacing the tennis balls. Depreciation is usually not a huge problem. If you play very often, you may end up replacing the tennis balls once every month. And considering that many tennis ball machines will hold about 100 and more tennis balls, this can turn into a fairly expensive venture.
However, even then, it may be way cheaper in the long run compared to renting a tennis ball machine. For example, practicing three days a week is usually a good golden mean for beginner tennis players, but if you really want to improve, you may need to practice up to 5 days a week. Doing some very quick calculations, we can see that this could turn into $300 to $585 spent on renting a tennis ball machine per month (for one hour per training day). At this rate in one to four months’ time, you will have spent as much money, or even more, as you would have actually buying the tennis ball machine.
Is It Worth Renting Out Your Tennis Ball Machine?
Seeing how expensive tennis ball machines are, and at the same time, how useful they are to tennis players of almost any skill level, one question will inevitably pop up.
Namely, is it worth buying and renting out your tennis ball machine?
At first reading, it sounds like a good idea. After all, you get to have your cake and eat it too—sort of. You have a tennis ball machine that you can use, and at the same time, you will be able to earn some money by renting it. But is it that simple?
Unfortunately, it does not seem to be.
The first question that begs answering is where and to whom you will be renting it? Is it your own private court, or is it a public court?
Many public practice courts have time limits and will not allow anyone to take up one or several hours practicing (much less with their own tennis ball machine).
There are other expenses, liabilities, and risks that you will be facing when renting out your tennis ball machines. As noted earlier in this article, tennis ball machines are usually rented with tennis balls (generally at least 100 or so balls), which will add a significant expense to your bottom line.
Next, you have to consider the machine’s depreciation cost, including wear and tear.
Then there will be delivery and return costs, especially if you will be on-site. (To prevent misuse and help feeding the balls, etc.) This will take both from your personal time and will cost you more money in terms of fuel and, if we are to get really in-depth, in terms of your vehicle depreciation and wear and tear.
As you can see, this can end up being too much hassle with very minimal to no returns whatsoever. Overall, I don’t think it is recommended to do it.
The only way I see it potentially viable is if you rent it out to a friend or somebody that you trust will take proper care of the machine at a reduced cost. (For example: 5$ per hour.)
This is a win-win situation; they don’t have to pay a huge chunk of money straight out of their pocket, and you will get to earn a small amount of money instead of having the machine sit in your garage.
Additionally, although tennis ball machines are very durable, they can break with time and use. So, especially if you are buying a more expensive, professional model, it may not be worth the risk of renting it out.
With that being said, it is worth mentioning that you might be able to rent out your tennis ball machine through some third party companies (in a similar fashion how people rent out their apartments through Airbnb.)