Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Secrets Of Equipment Leasing: Secrets 1-6

Equipment leasing enhances a company's ability to respond to changing market conditions and to take advantage of new opportunities. Lease financing is a much more financially-intelligent decision than taking out a bank loan or purchasing with cash. Investing cash reserves in equipment makes a company asset rich and cash poor.

Today, more than 80% of all U.S. corporations lease some or all of their equipment. It is the use of equipment, not ownership of equipment that generates profits. This simple precept explains the rise of equipment leasing activity, especially as equipment life cycles shorten in this high-tech age. Whether opening a new business, expanding existing facilities or opening an additional location, the method you choose to acquire equipment can have a profound impact on your business, credit and cash flow.

Secret #1:

Virtually all types of equipment in almost any industry can be leased. Leases are specific. You can choose the manufacturer, the model number, the source and even accesories. You're covered by all conventional manufacturers' warranties. And because lease payments are usually lower than other forms of financing, your leasing dollar allows you to acquire more of the equipment your business needs or more advanced equipment. With an equipment lease, you get 100% financing so the amount of cash needed up-front is reduced. Most soft costs can be included: delivery charges, installation, training, and software to ensure that the equipment is productive immediately, speeding your return on investment.

Secret #2:

Bank loans can be dramatically more expensive than anticipated because of the large security deposit that is required. Down payments for bank loans will usually range between 20% and 40%. The result is that there is a tremendous difference between the effective APR and the stated APR. A stated 8% bank rate with a 25% down payment is actually equal to a 21% APR on a five year loan.

Secret #3:

Even if you have the cash to purchase your equipment, purchasing is rarely, if ever, the best choice. With equipment leasing, cash can be used for other business requirements such as expanding sales, starting new marketing programs, offering quantity discounts, replenishing inventories, opening a new line of business, or increasing cash reserves. Using cash for necessary business expenses that cannot be financed is much more intelligent decision-making than spending it on equipment that is worth less and less as time goes by. Not only are there higher payments for traditional financing, but you'll have to come up with the entire amount for a cash purchase or a substantial down payment with a bank loan if you decide not to lease.

Secret #4:

With the lower, fixed-rate payments of an equipment lease, you're protected against inflation. Cash outlays are deferred, as compared to an up-front purchase. In the future, "cheaper" dollars will be making your lease payments as inflation lessens your cost. You will be making your monthly payments to the leasing company with ever-inflating dollars during the term of the lease. This actually reduces the cost of financing to you in real dollars, a tremendous advantage that is often overlooked.

Secret #5:

Leasing equipment offers a wide range of benefits, from consistency with expenses to increased cash flow. But perhaps the most significant advantage of leasing is the ability to maintain up-to-date equipment. Leasing allows you to easily and affordably add equipment or upgrade to a completely new piece of machinery to meet future needs. This lets you transfer the risk of being caught with obsolete equipment to the leasing company.

Secret #6:

With the scheduled updating of your business equipment offered through equipment leasing, you can maintain a competitive edge, keeping you ahead of your competition. With an equipment lease, upgrading to newer technology during or after the lease is easy. In contrast, when equipment is purchased with cash or bank financing, there is an incentive to postpone any upgrade until the original investment has been recouped through depreciation, which hinders your flexibility. A planned replacement program avoids obsolescence and keeps you up to date with the latest state-of-the-art technology. An additional, often-overlooked disadvantage of ownership is equipment disposition. Ownership of equipment, the result of the full repayment of bank loans or cash purchases, includes several additional costs that are significant and can be avoided with leasing. These costs are associated with removal, environmental fees for disposal (for certain equipment categories, such as computers) and the costs of remarketing.

In summary, there are many "Secrets of Equipment Leasing" that require significant research to uncover. These "Secrets" can be determining factors in the survival and profitability of any business enterprise. As such, they warrant in-depth consideration to determine their potential contributions to every individual equipment acquisition situation. Nearly 100% of the time, bank loans and cash purchases are always significantly less beneficial and less advantageous than equipment leasing.