Is The Wrong Type of Equipment Finance Company Bad For (Business) Health?

They are all the same, aren’t they? Absolutely, positively… not! We are of course talking about the equipment finance company industry in Canada and how your selection of the right partner can determine which advantages and disadvantages you can enjoy… or suffer with. We prefer positive advantages that your business can benefit with, not Canadian business financing decisions that you will suffer via the wrong choice of a lease partner for your specific needs.

Ok, so what in the heck are we talking about? Essentially there are four types of asset finance partners in the equipment leasing industry in Canada. And you thought that a lease finance company was a lease finance company!

The first type of partner is the ‘captive’ – no you are not the captive! The term refers simply to finance companies that are owned and literally situated within various manufacturing firms. When clients ask us about lease finance options and they mention specific equipment we are always reminding them to ensure they determine if the manufacturer captive finance firm offers asset financing. If they do we can assure you it is probably the best financial terms you will be able to come up with, as well as a better chance for overall approval re rate, structure and other general terms. Why is that?

It’s to do with motivation – the captive finance firm is motivated to finance and promote the sale of products using financial options such as leasing to get the products out to the marketplace. Want to know a secret that should surprise most business owners and financial managers? It’s simply that captive finance firms in a competing industry will finance their competitor’s products, often at better rates, terms and structures. That is simply because the financial transaction will probably give the competing mfr a foothold into your business to promote and sell their own products. So don’t think that a great firm such as IBM CREDIT CORP. is the only firm that will finance your products you purchase through them. Others will also!

The second main group of asset finance firms in Canada is our chartered banks – Two major banks have leasing arms that are very significant, others employ lease finance to varying degrees. Our real only comment here is that the credit bar is high and more often than not you have to be a customer of the bank to enjoy the great lease and finance structures they offer.

The third main category of the Canadian equipment leasing company market is actually the largest and most robust. It also requires the maximum amount of knowledge and navigation by Canadian business owners and financial managers. This is the Independent lease finance market, where there are tens of firms that offer lease financing based on various criteria of asset size, credit quality, geographical preference, industry specialization, etc, etc, etc.

You have a great choice with our category 3 partners, the independent finance companies. You can spend tens or hundreds of hours determining their credit criteria, additional collateral they require, the size of deals they do, the different lease structures they offer, or… alternatively.. use our final category for lease provider, the independent lease finance advisor who are knowledgeable intermediaries who know the market, have a strong reputation with lease providers, and can match the advantages you seek in an equipment finance transaction to the right provider. Subtle nuances in your overall lease structure, depending on the size of your transaction, can save you thousands of dollars and untold grief at the end of the term of your lease.

So that’s your Canadian lease market overview. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can successful guide you through the asset finance maze.

Tips to Finding the Right Equipment Financing Companies When Looking to Finance Used Equipment

As you look at different options to get the equipment you need to either expand or keep up with the competition, you may look into leasing used equipment. If you can operate used equipment, this may be a great option for you since it is much cheaper and you do not pay for the expensive first few years. Financing used equipment is a little different than financing new equipment and as you look into equipment financing companies there are several things you should be aware of.

First of all make sure that the equipment financing company actually offers used equipment loans. Due to the increased paperwork and effort in financing used equipment, inventory and dealing with agents and older equipment, many financing companies do not offer used equipment loans. Look for a company that not only does loans on used equipment but sells equipment from their inventory. This could help on lease terms and financing options if they want to get rid of some of their inventory.

Make sure the company isn’t too rigid on their loan terms and don’t have too many restrictions. Some companies have strict rules on the financing used equipment. They may only make loans on equipment that is 5 years old or newer, less than 100,000 miles or limit the terms to 36 months or less. You business or needs may not fit into the companies criteria. If they can’t meet your needs there are companies that can. Each company is different and may be in different financial situations. You are trying to build a relationship with the finance company and they should be able to meet your needs.

Choose an equipment financing company that doesn’t use a third party appraisal. This is especially true for loans under 150,000. The company should be familiar enough with the equipment that they would not need to get a third party appraisal and more importantly have you pay for the appraisal. You should be able to effectively convey to the condition of the equipment so that the appraisal isn’t necessary.

The Myth Of Inventory Finance Companies

Your company carries it. You need to finance it. We’re of course talking about inventory. Discussions with clients reveal a lot of misconceptions around inventory financing in Canada. Let’s try and resolve some of those myths around the financing of your inventory, who the players are, who they are not ( that’s the most common myth ) and we’ll also try and provide some straight forward direction on next steps in your inventory financing challenge.

The overall quality of your inventory management will play a large part in your ability to finance your products, which are a part of the current assets component of your balance sheet. You cannot overlook the importance that an inventory lender will place on your ability to report and count your products. The reality is that most firms are either carrying a ‘ continuous’ or ‘ ‘periodic’ system of inventory control.

So here is solid tip # 1 – be aware that inventory lenders prefer a continuous type of inventory accounting, for all the obvious reasons. Essentially you are counting and monitoring inventory (with the use of software of course!) at all times. That’s a good thing when it comes to a lenders valuation on an ongoing basis and their ability to lend.

You’re company is growing. Unfortunately so is your inventory! And that places a huge drain on your cash flow. The working capital cycle dictates that cash turns into inventory which turns into receivables and then we start all over… that lag can be anywhere from 60 – 120 days, sometimes longer. Never underestimate the problem that higher sales will bring to your inventory financing needs.

Clients typically are looking for inventory financing because the level of investment that you have in product and receivables drains your cash flow. As sales volumes increase your cash flow decreases based on your overall collection period of A/R and of course those inventory turns.

Your sales staff of course never wants to be in a position to tell a customer you don’t have the product they have worked so hard to sell.

Does your company have an inventory financing strategy? The majority of firms we talk to in Canada, certainly in the small and medium business sector do not have access to the inventory financing they need. Do true inventory financing companies exist in Canada? We feel that the answer is generally ‘ no ‘, they do not. However if your firm would consider an asset based lending scenario that in effect takes the place of inventory finance companies in Canada.

Under an asset based lending strategy your inventory is margined for what its worth, by experts who categorically know what its worth. You will enhance your ability to finance your product if you have the controls, reporting, and inventory accounting system in places that makes the inventory and asset based lender ‘ comfortable ‘.

Speak to a trusted, credible, and experienced business f