For startups, equipment acquisition is necessary to get the business off the ground. For established companies, acquiring equipment is a means to grow and expand. Debt is a four-letter word for many business owners. Therefore, many believe raising equity to acquire equipment is better than taking on debt, even though debt comes with a specified interest rate and payoff date. Just because it’s believed, doesn’t make it so.
Taking on debt in the form of an equipment lease is far different than maxing out personal credit cards for frivolous purchases. Financing an equipment lease can be a wise business decision under the right circumstances, especially if your company has a steady flow of receivables that you can count on to keep up with lease payments and other expenses. A conversation with your accountant or a report from your accounting software can give you a clearer look at your income versus expenses, as well as any other upcoming, non-recurring ones for which you must plan.
Compared to raising equity to fund an equipment purchase or lease, financing offers several benefits.
Perhaps Most Importantly, a Lender Won’t Tell You How to Run Your Business
Chances are you have heard horror stories of equity investors believing their equity buys them a say in how the business is run. The more equity they hold, the bigger their control and influence regardless of whether their equity investment secured them a seat on the board of directors, ownership in the company or a “my money, my business” say in the business during family dinners.
A lender, like Global Financial & Leasing Services, keeps our proverbial nose out of your business. Make your payments (hopefully the equipment you’re financing will bring revenue to do just that) and our involvement ends there.
Equity is the Most Expensive Form of Capital
Equity is most expensive form of capital because it has an indefinite term and is paid in a portion of your profits each year with no cap on the amount that may be paid out. On the other hand, financing equipment with debt has defined terms, including the amount you pay (payment and payoff) and a date when those payments end. Equity takes a percentage of your profits, and the amount paid out to equity holders increases as your company’s revenues grow. The more successful your company becomes, the larger the profits and the more you pay out for that equity stake. As such, a $100,000 piece of equipment may end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What that looks like in real life.
If you take a $100,000 five-year loan at 20% APR, that original $100,000 borrowed for the equipment costs you $158,963 when paid off in full. But if you raise $100,000 in equity at a $500,000 company valuation (selling 20% of your equity), then get acquired and in that acquisition, you net $1M, the 20% equity stakeholder(s) would receive $200,000 from the acquisition, plus any distributions of profits that have been paid out over the years and prior to the acquisition.
In a nutshell, you obtain the same amount of capital to fund an equipment purchase at the same time, but that $100,000 in equipment costs you, under the terms above, $158,963, where that same $100,000 from an equity investor costs you more than $200,000 in our example.
There are Tax Benefits to Financing Equipment
Fine print: we are not tax experts. That said, there are tax benefits to financing your equipment lease. With a capital lease you can deduct the full purchase price of the equipment in the tax year it is placed into use. This can equal a sizable deduction on your taxable income. An operating lease allows you to deduct your monthly lease payments as an operating expense for the term of the lease, lowering your taxable income.
Raising Equity Can Require Schmoozing
Whether pitching the idea of raising equity for your company to a private investor, an equity firm, a friend or your brother-in-law, the process takes time—weeks, months, even years, depending on the source and circumstances. Dinner, coffee, drinks, meetings, gathering up documentation, fine-tuning your pitch, answering questions… all are time consuming—time that you could be spending on your business.
Once the equity is raised, there will be more time involved to keep your investor(s) updated on the company’s (and their investment’s) progress.
Global Financial & Leasing Services can often make a lending decision on your equipment lease in as few as 24 hours from the time we receive your application. Time is of the essence when it comes to acquiring equipment. You might have a job that hinges on it or found a great deal that won’t last on the exact model you need.
How you fund equipment acquisition is an important business decision with the potential to alter your company’s course. Understand all your equipment financing options and don’t be afraid to take on debt when it serves you, your customers and your business well.