Thursday, November 15, 2012

5 Awesome Tips for Leasing Office Equipment

With 32 years selling office equipment, I've seen many ups and downs in the economy. Each uptick and downturn presents unique issues for all of our clients.

When the economy is booming, you'll have clients that could outgrow the systems you leased to them last year and they still have 2-5 years left on the lease. When the economy is struggling you'll get calls from clients who are struggling to make their lease payments, what they leased a year or 18 months ago is now a burden because they don't have the work and can't keep up with the payments.

So, what are we to do?

In the past I've had calls from clients who are having a rough go of it, in particular one account who leased equipment two years for an office they closed a few months ago. Now they have two sets of identical equipment and struggling to keep up with payments. I was called in to see if there was any way I could reduce the payments either with upgrading and buying out the old equipment. The bad news I have to give to the customer is that I couldn't do anything with either of their leases. Both of them are only two years into a 60 month lease and both have optional buyouts attached.

Just the other day, I noticed that one of my clients was coming close to the end of a 36 month lease. We spoke about the end of lease options but then informed me that he was not financially in a position to lease (that tells me that they may have entered into a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy), thus he asked for the purchase price of the system. I was more than happy to help, I received the buyout and it was a whopping 40% of the purchase price based on a 39 month term.  Really? Why do leasing companies need to do this......I'd be more than happy to say that the leasing company is Everbank (so buyer beware).  I then told my customer to call the leasing company and negotiate with them and always keep in mind that they don't want the equipment back.  You always have the edge over the leasing company, they may not act like you do, however when push comes to shove they don't want it!

Keep in mind that when I present a proposal, I give my clients the option of how long they wish to lease and the type of buy-out option at the end of the term. Most customers will opt for the lowest payment, meaning they go for a 60 month term and the option to buy at the end of term.

Here's some points to consider when explaining the leasing options:

1. Always try to get the customer to commit to the shortest term possible that will meet their financial needs.
2. Explain the advantages and the disadvantages of a Fair Market Value Lease and a $1.00 purchase option lease.
3. Explain the how the equipment needs to be returned if they enter into a Fair Market Value Lease.
4. Explain the additional charges such as insurance and documentation fees.
5. Read the lease yourself, if you're not comfortable with the contract, don't give it to the customer to sign.

Getting back to my client, where they have the extra equipment and they need to lower their payments. My only idea is to have them call the leasing company and see if the leasing company will start a new lease for them. It means that would have to resign for 4 or 5 years, however they would get what they need in order to make ends meet (lower payments). On the other hand I'm not even sure if leasing companies will do this.

BTW, if you really need a top notch leasing company that will cater towards the dealer and the customer I recommend LCA leasing. They are not the biggest (which is a good thing), however dealer and customer support is out of this world!

Art Post

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