The cost of equipment can be a staggering expense for any business, especially startups. Depending on what kind of equipment a business needs, a company might be looking at millions of dollars in investment over a period of several years.
Worse, buying equipment outright can mean years or even decades of payments. By the time a business has paid off a piece of machinery or office building’s worth of printers, the equipment is likely to be outdated and in need of repair or replacement.
Because few companies have the cash to buy equipment outright, many turn to equipment leasing. This is a sound financial strategy that can save a business money over time.
The 6 Best Equipment Leasing Companies
Equipment leasing is common across a broad range of industries, from manufacturers to restaurants. Some of the equipment a business might lease includes:
- Commercial cooking equipment
- Office computers and printers
- Trucks and other vehicles
- Heavy machinery, such as forklifts and backhoes
- Medical equipment
It’s typically more affordable to lease this equipment than purchase it. For example, the average office printer can cost $20,000 or more.
Instead of coming up with the full purchase price, a business can distribute the payments over a span of months that can extend several years.
Additionally, many business equipment leases incorporate maintenance and service, as the big names in commercial equipment leasing typically offer both leasing and their own in-house maintenance services. In other cases, they have partnerships with service companies that allows them to build the cost of maintenance and service into the lease agreement.
This means companies don’t have to worry about employing technicians who can repair broken equipment. To use the printer example, a busy doctor’s office probably doesn’t want to bother with the hassle and expense of keeping printer repair technicians on staff. Instead, they can simply call a service number if their printer is malfunctioning.
Business equipment leases can include various terms and conditions. In some cases, they come with an option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease term. Businesses may also be able to extend their lease, with the option to upgrade to the latest equipment.
There are several options for businesses looking for equipment leasing. Here are six top commercial equipment leasing companies to consider.
- Gordon Flesch Company
- Crest Capital
- National Business Capital
- US Business Funding
- Smarter Finance USA
- Wells Fargo
Gordon Flesch Company
- In-house financing & maintenance
- Trusted by 33,000+ customers
- Leases range from 12 to 63 months
- Step & deferred payment options
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Founded in 1956, the Gordon Flesch Company provides in-house financing and maintenance for a wide variety of business equipment, with a particular emphasis on information technology.
Today, the company has more than 33,000 customers spread across the United States. Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, the Gordon Flesch Company has 16 satellite locations. The company maintains a long list of partners, including Canon, Sharp, Lexmark, and Kyocera. According to Gordon Flesch, its customer retention rate is an impressive 88 percent.
They recently even added rapid temperature screen kiosks to adjust to COVID-19. This will help keep your staff and visitors safe while also helping identify who is sick.
Of course, they also offer the basics such as printers and copiers as well as enterprise-level hardware for your data security and IT infrastructure.
Gordon Flesch manages all financing in-house. Leases can range from 12 months to 63 months, with both step payment and deferred payment lease terms available. According to the company’s website, it promises customers won’t be surprised by hidden fees with respect to end of term buyouts.
- Finance new & used equipment
- Borrow $5,000 to $500,000
- Multiple payment plans
- Flexible lease terms
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Founded in 1989, Crest Capital finances both new and used business equipment.
Their interest rates are solid too, varying between 5.5% and 9.5%. Businesses can borrow anywhere between $5,000 and $500,000.
One downside: They require two years of tax returns and financial statements for businesses that want to lease more than $250,000 worth of equipment. Crest Capital also charges a $275 administrative fee per lease, however, it doesn’t assess prepayment penalties. Leases typically span anywhere from 24 months to 72 months.
Crest Capital is known for its flexible lease terms, which can be key to helping a growing startup business afford the equipment it needs. For example, Crest offers a number of payment arrangements, including a graduated payment plan that starts off with smaller payments and then slowly moves toward larger payments as a company grows.
The company doesn’t seem to require that a business have a certain amount of revenue. Rather, it requires a disclosure of projected revenue along with actual revenue. Assuming a business meets the requirements. Crest Capital offers an online application and, in some cases, a same-day decision.
National Business Capital
- Network of 75+ lenders
- Online application process
- Terms can span 12 to 60 months
- Decisions as fast as next day
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Unlike many other business equipment leasing companies, National Business Capital matches businesses with a network of more than 75 lenders that provide new and used equipment financing. This makes it possible for businesses to do a side by side comparison of financing terms from a variety of potential lenders.
Interest rates will vary based on a company’s creditworthiness, but reviewers report a range anywhere between 8% and 20%. There is also a possibility of discounts if a company pays off its lease ahead of schedule.
Fees vary, and some lenders may charge a loan origination fee. Additionally, National Business Capital receives 2.99% of the origination or closing fee. Lease amounts start at $10,000 and go all the way up to $1 million. Financing terms can span 12 to 60 months.
While the majority of lenders in National Business Capital’s network don’t require a business to provide collateral, the majority require a UCC lien. Borrowers can apply online, and some companies can get a decision by the next day.
US Business Funding
- Wide network of lenders
- 95% approval rate
- Wide network of lenders
- $10,000 minimum lease
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US Business Funding finances both new and used equipment and has a reputation for working with businesses that might have encountered difficulty leasing equipment with a different leasing company. According to its website, the company approves 95% of applicants and has funded $2 billion in business equipment. Applicants will also receive a decision within 24 hours of submitting their application.
US Business Funding works with a network of lenders, with interest rates varying from 8% to 20%. Depending on a business’s creditworthiness and the lender, interest rates might exceed 20%. Most lenders require a UCC lien filed on the asset, and some may require a personal guarantee from the business owner.
The company requires a minimum lease amount of $10,000, but there is no cap on how much a business can borrow. The length of a lease can range from 24 months to 60 months.
Smarter Finance USA
- Finance $2,500 to $250,000
- Works with entrepreneurs
- Average 12 to 84 month terms
- Funds in as little as 24 hours
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A relative newcomer to business equipment leasing, Smarter Finance USA has been in business since 2016. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the company is known for working with entrepreneurs as well as companies with challenges that might have prevented them from getting financing through another business equipment leasing company.
This is reflected in the Better Business Bureau reviews for Smarter Finance USA, in which several customers say they struggled to get financing for their business before being accepted by Smarter Finance USA.
Depending on what kind of equipment a company wishes to lease, Smarter Finance USA requires a documentation fee ranging from $300 to $850. Additionally, interest rates start at 6% and can go all the way up to 30%. Borrowers can finance between $2,500 and $250,000, with the length of the loan starting at 12 months and extending up to 84 months.
Because Smarter Finance USA frequently works with businesses with poor credit, it typically requires both a UCC lien and a personal guarantee. The company offers an online application, and borrowers can usually receive a same-day decision and, in some cases, access to funds within 24 hours.
- 5,000 banking locations
- No fees or prepayment penalties
- Terms range from 12 to 84 months
- $35,000 lease minimum
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With more than 5,000 banking locations across the country, Wells Fargo is one of the most recognizable names in the financial industry. While most consumers probably know Wells Fargo as a bank, the company also offers business equipment leasing to small and large business owners.
Interest rates start at 6.25%, and there are no fees or prepayment penalties with a Wells Fargo business equipment lease. Unfortunately, the most competitive interest rates are reserved for borrowers who also maintain a business checking account with Wells Fargo. Businesses must also lease a minimum of $35,000. The length of loans range from 12 months to 84 months.
A Wells Fargo business equipment lease might not be an option for some businesses. This is because Wells Fargo requires borrowers to prove they have been in business for at least three years. Wells Fargo also requires a higher credit score compared to other business equipment leasing companies. Businesses can apply online or stop by a Wells Fargo branch to speak with a banker in person.
How to Choose the Best Equipment Leasing Solution for You
When it comes to choosing an equipment leasing company, there are a number of factors to consider.
1. Interest Rates and Fees
As with any loan, the interest rate and any accompanying fees are an important factor. The interest rate will depend on the company’s creditworthiness and, in some cases, annual revenue. Also keep in mind that some lenders charge documentation fees.
While every business owner wants to secure the lowest interest rate possible, keep in mind that you might pay a higher rate if you’re a startup company or a business that has struggled with revenue in the past. In other words, don’t rule out lenders that offer equipment leasing at a higher interest rate. As your business grows, it’s possible you can negotiate more favorable terms if you decide to renew your lease.
2. Availability of Funds
Ask how quickly you can expect to receive the funding after you’ve been approved. For any business, time is money. You can’t afford long delays while you wait for funds to become available. Some lenders state explicitly that they offer funds within 24 hours. If you need business equipment in a hurry, this can be a significant factor.
3. Ease of Applying
Is the leasing application available online? Can you submit your application and other documentation to a secure client portal? While the lack of an online option isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, a lender that doesn’t provide this feature might not be as technologically savvy in other areas, such as customer support.
4. Underwriting Requirements
What kind of criteria does your business need to meet to qualify for an equipment lease? Is there a minimum credit score? Does the lender only work with companies that have been in business for a certain number of years? To avoid wasting time, make sure you know if the lender has specific underwriting requirements before you apply.
5. Repayment Options
When you research equipment leasing companies, it helps to inquire about repayment options, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or running a startup business. For example, some lenders give businesses an option to start with smaller, more manageable payments and then move to larger graduated payments as the business grows and earns more revenue.
Business equipment leasing is a smaller niche than other types of financial services, such as consumer banking. For this reason, you might not find many reviews for business equipment lending.
However, you might have success finding reviews that speak to other aspects of the lender’s business. For example, Wells Fargo offers financing for equipment leasing, but it also works in the consumer finance sector, offering checking and savings accounts, home loans, and credit cards. If you can’t find reviews for equipment leasing, look at some of these other areas to get a feel for others’ experiences.
7. Customer Service
Business equipment can take up a huge chunk of a company’s budget. When you invest that much money into equipment, you want the peace of mind of knowing you can get help when you need it. This is particularly true if your equipment leasing company also performs service and maintenance on the equipment you lease.
There are a number of top business equipment leasing companies that offer equipment financing to business owners. If you’re a business owner looking to lease equipment, your creditworthiness and annual revenue will determine which lenders are willing to work with you. As with all things in business, it’s important to review your options and work with a company that can best help you achieve your goals.