Leasing company solutions can be the true ‘ success story ‘ of any business that requires assets and technology. But does the business owner/financial manager really understand how to maximize benefits achieved from this method of asset financing? Let’s dig in.
Over the years the lease finance industry has gravitated to financing every type of asset – they call that from ‘ micro ticket ‘ to ‘ large ticket ‘ which can be an office photo copy machine for 2k or a corporate aircraft for 20M$.
The borrower, aka ‘ the lessee ‘ that knows the differences of applying for and getting approved for different asset categories. Owners/managers can also waste a lot of shoe tread in dealing with the wrong firm when it comes to your company’s credit quality, geographical location, etc.
When it comes to the small ticket market (people disagree on the exact maximum deal size within this market segment) a large part of the financial approval is often based on the personal credit history and guarantees of owners. If your company doesnt have a truly very strong profile (strong = growing sales, growing profits, growing cash flow, acceptable debt levels) it can almost be guaranteed that personal guarantees will be requested.
The one thing we want to mention about guarantees is that owners/managers who can present their company financials properly can often have some ‘wiggle room ‘ in the personal guarantee conundrum. That might mean a ‘ partial guarantee ‘ or a ‘ declining balance’ guarantee. In some cases it might make sense to negotiate the type of ‘ covenants ‘ that are often related to bank loans – i.e. debt to equity / working capital ratios.
Old school credit granting is not quite dead yet also, so traditional criteria such as years in business, usefulness of the asset being financing relative to revenue / profit generation, and commercial credit references also can play a large part in the overall approval process. If there is one good thing happening in financing approvals is that timelines these days are close to instantaneous in the small / mid market – typically same day or 48 hrs max.
We’ve always maintained that clients focus far too much on rate, if only for the reason that that finance lease companies are in a highly competitive environment – ultimately your firm’s credit quality will always drive the lowest rate in a competitive environment. Owners/managers would be cautioned to spend more time on areas such as terms of the lease, renewals, buyout options, and down payments or security deposits that might on occasion be required.
While we’re talking in the main about ‘ lease financing ‘ remember also that term loans for equipment might ultimately make as much sense for your financing needs – Also assets already owned can be refinancing under creative sale leaseback or bridge loan scenarios.
Larger transactions for any leasing company will receive a lot more credit diligence when it comes to financial statement analysis, cash flow reviews, and consideration for nuances in the particular industry your firm might be in. Unfortunately some industries temporarily find themselves ‘ out of favor ‘.
We can’t over emphasize the need for time spent on documents – that might be a ‘ Master lease ‘ scenario, or the rights and obligations you have under and operating lease. The ability to ‘ add on’ to any current lease transaction is typically always available.
Amortization terms for finance lease companies tend to range from 2-7 years, in truth the majority of transactions are on a 3-5 year term which makes sense for a large category of different asset types.
What then are the most touted, and real… benefits of equipment finance they include :
Ability to access other credit facilities other than current borrowings
Ability to finance 100% of any asset acquisition
If you’re looking to maximize on the benefits of a leasing company solution seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your asset finance needs.