|Leases & Leasing Information|
How To Choose An Equipment Leasing Company
Leasing has become a preferred form of equipment financing, accounting for more than 30% of business equipment acquisitions. Each year, thousands of U.S. companies face the challenge of finding attractive financing to acquire business equipment. Many of these companies approach the lease sourcing process seeking the lowest lease rate. While securing a low rate is a worthwhile goal in choosing a leasing arrangement, it alone is usually not a reliable standard for obtaining the best lease transaction or leasing experience.
To obtain attractive lease proposals and to avoid lease blunders, make sure you choose the right leasing companies to bid. Ultimately, the wrong lessor choice can result in a slow approval, inability of the lessor to deliver, hidden fees, substandard lease terms, or worst. To secure the best lease arrangement, you must do your homework in pre-qualifying bidding leasing companies. Give this aspect of obtaining an attractive lease arrangement your highest priority.
How Leasing Companies Differ
Leasing companies can vary in a number of ways. Some specialize in specific industries, some in lease types, some in certain equipment types, and still others in transaction sizes. For example, some leasing companies specialize only in a single industry like health care, printing, agriculture, or transportation. Others focus exclusively on a lease type. They may only offer operating leases for equipment with attractive residual values. Some lessors specialize in full-payout finance leases. Still others focus on small ticket transactions with equipment cost under $ 100,000. It is important to understand the specialization of the lessors bidding on your lease transaction. To get the most attractive deal and to avoid the run-around, stick with lessors who focus on the type of transaction you are seeking.
Leasing companies also differ in resources and capabilities. Many large leasing companies are owned by banks, financial companies, or other large industrial concerns. These firms usually have abundant resources and expertise in a number of leasing segments. Mid-size and smaller leasing companies greatly outnumber large lessors. While these companies cannot match the resources of their larger brethren, they often have highly skilled professionals, sufficient resources and more flexibility to meet lessee needs. The goal is to obtain the best leasing arrangement for your firm. By establishing priorities for the leasing arrangement you are seeking, you will be able to determine whether a leasing firm with sizeable resources or one that is nimble and flexible is a better choice.
When And Where To Look
The time to start your search for a leasing company is early in the lease-planning phase, once you have established criteria for a leasing arrangement. Some criteria to consider for a leasing arrangement are: pricing, monthly cash outlay, financial statement impact, the appropriate lease type, lease term, lease flexibility, lease facility size, and whether your equipment will be accepted for lease. Use criteria like these and the qualities you are seeking in a leasing company to start your lessor search.
A great starting point for finding bidding leasing companies is through professional and personal referrals. Check with your attorney, your accountant, bank contacts and colleagues in your industry. Also ask friends and acquaintances who use leasing in their businesses. Asked them for contacts at leasing companies that specialize in your industry or that offer the type of lease you are seeking. Call your industry association and ask whether they have names of leasing companies serving others in your industry.
Another approach is to call a couple of the major equipment leasing trade associations. Major association websites include: www.elaonline.com, www.eael.org, www.uael.org, www.naelb.org, www.aglf.org, www.mael.org, and www.nvla.org. Describe the type of equipment and the industry you are in. Ask whether they are in a position to provide you with a list of members to contact regarding your lease. If you receive such a list, you may need to narrow the candidates based on further homework and the criteria you have established.
Evaluating Leasing Companies
Qualities to look for in any leasing company you consider include: 1) experience and expertise; 2) reputation; 3) ability to perform; and 4) a relationship approach.
Interview prospective bidders carefully. Discuss their expertise and experience in the leasing business. Ask about experience with the type of transaction you are seeking, involvement with similar firms in your industry, and the types of lease products they offer firms like yours. Discuss your equipment needs. Find out whether they will be able to lease most of the equipment you need. Ask whether they will finance your lease using internal funding or whether they will broker the lease to another funding source.
Get enough information from and about bidding lessors to decide whether to include them in the bid process. If possible, ask for financial information from potential bidders to evaluate their financial condition. Also, if you can, obtain a Dunn and Bradstreet report ("D&B") for each bidder. In the D&B report, look for lawsuits filed against the lessor, judgments, severe payment delinquencies, poor financial performance and similar issues that might impact performance on a new lease transaction.
Ask for and check customer, vendor, bank and trade references for each lessor. Contact each reference and verify key information given to you by the lessor. Ask how the lessor handles its account and whether there have ever been any problems or issues. Ask customer references about the lessor's ability to perform and about attentiveness to customer problems and concerns.
Investigate bidders online. Check Google (www.google.com) to see whether prospective bidders appear in any newsworthy articles. Hit the message boards and newsgroups. Look for unresolved problems, fraud, financial problems, success stories, and awards. Visit bidders' websites to get as much information as possible before extending an invitation to bid. You may be able to screen out undesirables.
Lastly, make sure prospective bidders belong to one or more industry trade association. While membership alone does not speak for the integrity or expertise of members, most of the associations set standards of conduct for their members.
A Word About Lease Brokers
Lease brokers serve roles similar to insurance brokers. They profit by placing lease transactions with the ultimate financing sources for those transactions. You should decide whether a lease broker would serve you better than seeking direct bids from lessors. Lease brokers can be useful in finding sources for difficult transactions, due to weak credit or unattractive equipment. They also can be useful in placing transactions that are highly specialized. Only work with lease brokers who have high integrity, who have a good understanding of leasing, and who understand the market you are in.
The entry bar for becoming a lease broker is relatively low and not all brokers are well trained or reputable. Check the broker's references and capabilities thoroughly. Check to see whether the broker belongs to the national trade association for lease brokers, NAELB (www.naelb.org) or to one of the other major equipment leasing associations. Use the same guidelines for evaluating brokers as outlined above for leasing companies.
Parting Words Of Caution
Avoid high-pressure lease sellers. Whether they are brokers or leasing company representatives, the odds of you being misled or disappointed with the outcome are very high. Only work with lease representatives or brokers who have a good understanding of leasing and who are sensitive to your needs. To do otherwise might result in delays or disappointment.
Avoid giving lease deposits or advance rentals to brokers. Brokers do not provide the financing directly and, in possession of your money, represent a potential credit risk.
If the lease broker or leasing representative says anything that constitutes a significant misrepresentation, walk away. Chances are the first such misrepresentation won't be the last. There are too many knowledgeable leasing professionals with high integrity. Avoid spending time with those who are unprofessional.
Lastly, make sure you get at least three or four lease bids from qualified lessors, if you can. At the end of the day, lease pricing is market driven. Getting several bids will help ensure that you get competitive pricing and terms.
Choosing the right leasing company is worth the effort. By taking a few easy steps during the planning and bidding phases of the lease procurement process, you can eliminate or greatly reduce time wasted with unqualified lessors. You can also avoid getting the run-around. Allow enough time to carefully check out all bidders. Be partial to lessors with high integrity, great reputations for performance, good expertise and who communicate well with you. You will invest a little time upfront, but you will thank yourself later.
George Parker is a Director and Executive Vice President of Leasing Technologies International, Inc. ("LTI"). He is responsible for overseeing the company's marketing and financing efforts. One of the co-founders of LTI, Mr. Parker has been involved in secured lending and equipment financing for over twenty years. Mr. Parker is an industry leader, frequent panelist and author of several articles pertaining to equipment financing.
Headquartered in Wilton, CT, LTI is a leasing firm specializing nationally in direct equipment financing and vendor leasing programs for emerging growth and later-stage, venture capital backed companies. More information about LTI is available at: http://www.ltileasing.com
What Happens When the Anchor Tenant Moves and You Are On a Ten-year Lease?
Recently there was an article in the Houston Business Journal of the anchor store in many shopping centers through out Houston pulling out. Kmart, took out some stores, so did three other big box stores and a few consumer electronics places and larger furniture stores, now Albertson's has left. Who gets hurt? The franchise stores who pay a high price and lease to be in those centers along side a big anchor tenant. Think about it, Albertson's with their large super stores with Banks in side, Starbucks coffee, bakery, mini eating area, film developing and pharmacy. Soon in Western States where property and land permit, on site carwashes too and also some already have fuel for your car, when you are a club card member. What if you had an MBE, Quiznos, Subway, Dry Cleaning, Travel Agency (as if things are not bad enough already), GNC, Hobby Town, Cost Cutters, etc.
Basic Things You Should Know About A Lease Purchase Contract
What exactly is a contract?
Lease Contracts - The Meaning of Joint and Several
When you see the phrase "joint and several" in a legal document or contract it means that that the parties on one side of the agreement are responsible individually and collectively for the terms of the agreement.
Getting Your Venture Lease Approved
Each year venture capitalists fund more than 2,500 start-up companies in the U.S. Many of these companies try to conserve their equity capital by approaching venture-leasing firms to secure equipment financing. By obtaining lease financing, these savvy firms are able to use their equity capital for high-impact activities like recruiting key personnel, product development, and expanding their marketing efforts.
Equipment Leasing Blunders That Can Cost Your Firm a Mint
Rod McHenry, the financial vice president of a document imaging company, thought he had great cause for celebrating. He had signed an unbelievable $370,000 lease proposal covering computer servers, workstations, software and other networking equipment. McHenry believed he had snared an incredible lease rate, capping off weeks of negotiating an acceptable equipment price with the equipment vendor. The proposal guaranteed a lease closing and offered a return of the 2% 'commitment fee' paid by McHenry's company if the leasing company failed to give credit approval within two weeks. Little did McHenry know that signing this proposal would lead his company into the 'Twilight Zone' of equipment leasing. Ultimately, his firm would fork out more than $15,000 in legal fees seeking lessor performance, only to learn that the lessor was already insolvent and mired in several similar lawsuits.
Ten Ways Start-ups Use Venture Leases And Loans To Generate Millions
The rise of venture leasing and lending has created an opportunity for sophisticated entrepreneurs to gain a competitive advantage. Savvy entrepreneurs are using venture leases and loans to generate millions of dollars for shareholders by leveraging existing venture capital. They have discovered ways to use this flexible financing as a tool to build enterprise value between equity rounds and to leapfrog less sophisticated competitors.
The Lease And Purchase Option
If you have an investment property, should you rent it or sell it? The answer to that question is that you should do both. If you have lots of time on your hands and are handy with tools, you can choose to rent out your property. However, if you have several properties for rent, maintaining them can consume lots of your time. You can choose to hire someone else to maintain your properties, but it cost you money. And higher expenses mean lower profits. In addition to investing your time, finding good tenants for your properties is not easy. Tenants that choose to rent usually do it for a reason. They are usually having credit problems. In addition, most tenants do not take good care of your properties like they would their own homes. And when things go sour, they can mess up your house before they move out. Your goal is to find good tenants to rent your property, transfer the maintenance responsibility to them, and create incentives for them to eventually buy your property. Including the option to purchase to the least contract can eliminate most of the headaches associated with maintenance and dealing with bad tenants. There are several other benefits to the lease and purchase option.
Lease or Buy? That is Always the Question with Car Financing
Leasing is a perfectly viable and legitimate way to finance a new car. Although leasing offers attractive benefits, it is somewhat more complex than buying with a loan. This means there can be pitfalls if a decision to lease is made for the wrong reasons.
Insiders Guide to Snaring the Best Lease Deal
Every year, thousands of business owners and financial managers are faced with the task of obtaining attractive financing for equipment their firms want to acquire. Snaring the best leasing arrangement requires only a bit of planning and a smidgeon of finesse. You can save time, land a better lease deal and make the leasing experience less of a conundrum by considering several important factors.
Dodging Leasings Grim Reaper: Navigating a Payment Default
In her third Harry Potter novel, ?The Prisoner of Azkaban?, J.K. Rowling introduces a silent mysterious clan of spiny, cloaked creatures capable of siphoning off happiness and all good thoughts from anyone in their presence. Extended exposure to these scabby grim reapers, called Dementors, resulted in madness or death for even the most joyful individuals. In the world of equipment leasing, the closest things to Dementors are lessors who lose confidence in defaulting lessees. If your firm faces imminent payment default, there are several actions you can take to improve your chances of navigating this unfortunate situation.
Smart Car Leasing for Beginners
Car leasing is extremely popular because it provides an attractive method of driving an automobile that you might not otherwise afford. It allows you to make lower monthly payments than with traditional car purchase loans. About one out of every four vehicles driven by automotive consumers in the United States are leased.
With a Lease, The Devil Is In The Details
In the last article we looked at a few of the things you should consider before leasing that first office or storefront for your business. To recap, you should not only consider the old standard "location, location, location," but also consider things like sufficient parking, the number of employees who will be working onsite, and future growth projections. I stressed that it was important not to get caught up in the moment. You should take your time to find the space best suited for your business for the long haul, not just for today.
Ten Ways to Save a Bundle on Your Next Lease
According to the Equipment Leasing Association ("ELA"), U.S. businesses lease every thing from laptop computers to commercial airplanes, racking up more than $ 200 billion in equipment leased each year. Although four out of five U.S. companies use leasing to acquire equipment, many don't know the ins and outs of leasing well enough to negotiate a good deal. By focusing on a few key aspects of the lease transaction, you can save a bundle on your next lease and eliminate potential aggravation.
So You Want to be a Landlord?
The residual income from owning rental properties may bring more money into your life than the fast flip in the long term. If nothing else, the stress is reduced because a well-chosen investment will pay for itself until you the market is ready for you to sell. In order to make this idea work, you must plan carefully. Choose your property, choose your management approach, and choose your tenants carefully to make the most of your investment.
True Tenant Tales, Volume One
Working with tenants can be an amazing experience. (Owners and contractors are equally astounding, but those are subjects for another day.) It seems I get my most memorable anecdotes over the phone. Here are a few of the ones I've culled from my blog and experience and put together for your reading amazement.
Increase Your Business Growth and Cash Flow Through Equipment Leasing
"If it can be manufactured, it can be leased." For the past decade or so, this statement has become more and more true to fact. From computer software to commercial aircraft, equipment leases are utilized day in and day out in a constantly changing and highly aggressive business environment worldwide. To gain or to keep the edge over their competitors, companies of every type and size are constantly looking for creative ways to conserve working capital while expanding operations. Many have turned to leasing their equipment to help in the effort. For this reason, the leasing industry is being defined as a major player in equipment financing today.
What to Consider Before Leasing a Car
Some people choose to lease a car rather than buying one outright. Here are some useful tips on what to consider before leasing a car:
Landlord Tips And Tricks
Every real estate investor dealing in rental homes has done his own clean-up and fix-up, at least in the early years. Landlords also become very skilled at managing tenants after being burned a few times.
Terms to Know Before Leasing A Vehicle - Leasing Jargon Simplified
So, you've decided that you want to lease that next vehicle. Can't really blame you. With today's incentives, rebates, and favourable lease rates why wouldn't you. Not only do you get to drive a new car, but a new car that you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford if you were to purchase and finance it. Buyer beware though. With leasing comes new and sometimes rather confusing vocabulary. Don't get lost in a sea of leasing jargon. Protect yourself. Learn and understand the industry language. For those seriously thinking of leasing that next vehicle, here is a useful glossary of "new" terminology that you should familiarize yourself with BEFORE you negotiate a lease:
Warning - This Lease Might Explode Any Minute
Mike Caringi, owner of a small New Jersey business that sells pumps, found himself facing a gut-wrenching dilemma last summer. Should he continue paying $ 1,500 each month for essential telecommunications services he no longer receives and for leased equipment he claims was never installed? Or, should he stop making payments and face a potential lawsuit from the firm that financed the equipment under a 'hell or high water' lease? Mr. Caringi's company is one of several thousand small companies around the country reeling from the bankruptcy of Norvergence, a reseller of telecommunications and Internet services. At the core of the quagmire facing Mr. Caringi and others is that Norvergence succeeded in getting customers to sign separate lease and service contracts that provided its services.
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