As we’re writing this blog, it’s hurricane season. Right now, millions of people in the southeast are keeping an eye on several storms moving across the Pacific Ocean. Many of these people are small or mid-size business owners. Many more people depend on these companies for their livelihoods. Should one or more of these storms develop in to full-fledged hurricanes, like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017, damage easily runs into the billions. For small to medium-sized businesses, hurricanes not only cause physical damage to structures and equipment, but also forces their owners and employees to face the hardships of rebuilding and reopening the doors.
While business owners keep an eye on approaching storms, who’s keeping an eye out for their best interests when a hurricane makes landfall? Their equipment financing provider is the least expected answer. However, that’s exactly what happened last year after Harvey and Irma tracked devastating paths in the south and southeast.
It’s not a common occurrence for most equipment financing customers to receive a payment deferral on equipment leases after a disaster. Usually a customer would have to contact their lender/lessor and request a payment deferral due to a tragedy. What’s special about working with a personal service-focused equipment-financing provider, like Global Financial & Leasing Services (GFLS), is that they will often reach out to their customers adversely affected and address their needs.
GFLS president, Judi Jenks, explains, “As a small business, we respond quickly because we don’t have to go through layers upon layers of decision makers. Our management team watched the news footage of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and we wanted to help in a way that made a fast, positive impact on our clients. We did a search of our database for lessees in the affected areas and automatically applied the payment deferral. Then, I personally called each one to let them know they had one less thing to worry about.”
The difference between obtaining financing for essential business equipment from a “big bank” and a smaller equipment financing provider was never so evident than it was for a GFLS Services’ client in Florida. He had lived in the Sunshine State all his life, yet Hurricane Irma was the first time he had to deal with insurance companies.
Judi recalls, “This client lost the roof off his personal residence among other damage. That alone was a nightmare situation. When I called him to tell him about the equipment financing deferral, he was simply ecstatic over what we had done and was so appreciative. It was the least we could do given the circumstances, but took a burden off his shoulders while he began to get life back to normal.”
It’s heartbreaking to watch coverage of cities being battered by waves, rain and wind. What people tend to forget is that along with damage to homes and city infrastructure, business owners are facing the same problems on two fronts – home and business.
“Even though GFLS Services is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, we’re still looking out for our equipment financing clients across the country. We always encourage our clients to call us at (480) 478-7400 and ask to speak directly to me or Rachelle, our operations manager, should they be dealing with a disaster and need help,” says Judi.