With so many financing options available from a variety of lending sources today, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choices, especially considering you’re making a serious financial commitment. While you’re weighing choices, your business lacks the equipment needed to launch or grow. If you’ve been trying to decide whether to rent, finance or purchase outright the essential business equipment your company needs, we hope this article makes the decision a lot easier for you.

Let’s take the business factor out of the equation. That way you can better understand your equipment financing options because you’ve probably already made similar choices in your personal life. For example, you had reasons for choosing where you live and what you drive. If you rent your home, essentially you are leasing it from the owner, be it a house or apartment. You can live there as long as you pay your monthly rent, and the owner still owns the property at the end of your lease. If you pay a mortgage, you took out a loan with a lender who gave you the money to buy your home. Once you pay the lender back, you own your property. Same goes for your vehicle. You chose to lease or buy it. If you lease it, you’ll return it at the lease’s end. If you bought it, you either paid cash or took out a loan and make payments, after which you’ll own it.

Why rent versus buy a home? There are many reasons, including saving up for a down payment, a rent payment being more affordable than a mortgage, ensuring what you buy meets your long-term needs and goals, etc.

Why lease versus buy a vehicle? Again, there are many reasons, such as high usage results in wear and tear you don’t want to be responsible for and the vehicle you need in the short-term isn’t the one you’ll need in the future.

If you think about how to finance your essential business equipment in those same ways, deciding between renting, financing or an outright purchase becomes much easier.

Questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to finance an equipment lease or loan:

Do you want to own the equipment eventually? If yes, then financing an equipment loan is right for you. Like a mortgage or car loan, once your loan is paid off, the equipment is yours.

Do you have a down payment or sufficient collateral to qualify for an equipment loan? If not, then financing may be your best bet for getting the equipment your business needs. The additional revenue generated from having essential equipment can be saved for purchasing equipment down the road.

Is the equipment something you’ll use for years or is it the type that is often updated, requiring you to upgrade? If you intend to keep the equipment for a while, an equipment loan makes sense. If you know you’ll need to upgrade the equipment to stay competitive (like medical equipment), financing an equipment lease makes sense because you can return the equipment at the lease’s end and upgrade at that point.

If You Decide to Finance, You Have Two Choices, an Operating or Capital Lease

Operating leases typically have lower monthly payments and you have the choice to either relinquish the equipment at the end of the lease term or buy it at fair market value.

Capital leases generally have higher monthly payments. Although a capital lease is much like a loan, you don’t include it on your balance sheet during the lease term. At the end of the lease, you can buy the equipment for a nominal price, such as $1 or a percentage of the purchase price.

Bottom line: If you decide to finance, consider a lease, as you will be often expensing the rental payments like any other operating expense as you use the equipment.

If You Decide to Take Out a Loan, Understand the Lender’s Requirements

If you choose an equipment loan, your lender will front the money to purchase your piece of equipment. Depending on your lender, you can finance all or most of the purchase price. Like a home or car loan, you’ll pay any down payment, if required, and make monthly payments that cover principle and interest. After the loan’s paid off, you own the equipment outright.

READ MORE: With Inflation and Rising Interest Rates, Is Now a Good Time to Finance Equipment for Your Business?

Our Team is Here to Help

Many small and medium-sized businesses prefer Global Financial & Leasing Services (GFLS) to traditional banks or alternative online lenders due to our easy application process, holistic decision-making and personalized approach to lending. Our equipment financing experts listen to your needs and goals to find a solution that works not only for your budget, but also to meet your short and long-term business goals.

GLFS’s credit application process is designed to be as streamlined as possible, while still giving us a full picture of your business and needs. We understand that time is of the essence when running a business, so we often can get back to you with a credit decision within 72 hours.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your business.