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Pros and Cons of Equipment Loans
January 15, 2019
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Pros and Cons of Equipment Loans

As a business owner, you probably use at least one type of equipment, regardless of your business’s industry. This equipment is likely pivotal to how your business functions, or at the very least makes it easier to do so. Unfortunately, most equipment is expensive, and with the myriad of other expenses you need to afford, it might be too costly for you to purchase. Luckily, that’s where equipment loans come in!

Deciding if an equipment loan is right for your business will depend on several factors. However, if you’re heavily reliant on expensive equipment to run your business, equipment financing could be a good option.

To help you evaluate if an equipment loan is the right fit for your business, we’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of equipment loans. After reading this post, you should be able to determine if this type of financing will benefit your company.

Pros of Equipment Loans:

1. Money to Buy, Repair, or Lease Equipment

Even if your business is well-established, chances are you don’t have ample cash available to spend on equipment. Fortunately, cash for equipment is exactly what these types of loans provide.

Since equipment loans allow you to borrow money specifically to pay for equipment, you don’t have to wait until you have the cash on-hand to make an important purchase or repair broken equipment that you already own.

Having this money on-hand can improve your business’s bottom line; waiting to purchase, lease, or repair equipment could severely hurt your company’s sales, especially if the equipment is crucial to your operations. For instance, if your restaurant’s oven breaks, you’ll need to repair or replace it as soon as possible.

2. Spread the Cost of Your Purchase

For any business owner, cash flow is a constant concern, and equipment purchases only complicate cash flow issues further. However, because an equipment loan enables you to spread your cost, this type of loan helps solve the cash flow problem presented by equipment purchases.

For example, let’s say you need to purchase a large format printer for multiple business locations, and the total cost is going to be $100,000. With an equipment loan, you could put 10 percent down, and pay an annual interest rate of six percent over five years. That means you’d be paying $10,000 on day one and making monthly payments of about $1700 over 5 years. Without an equipment loan, you’d need to come up with $100,000 in cash immediately to buy the equipment outright.

3. No Need for Additional Collateral Besides the Equipment

To qualify for a business loan, you could be expected to put up collateral that you already own, such as real estate or vehicles. This generally isn’t the case with an equipment loan. Usually, alternative and online lenders will be satisfied with just using the equipment you’re purchasing as collateral for the loan. This can be very beneficial, because this significantly lowers your downside risk.

4. Increase Your Business’s Future Sales

If you receive an equipment loan, it could improve the productivity of your operations. For instance, if you own a manufacturing company, having additional machinery could help you complete orders faster. You might even be able to take on additional customers, which would boost your bottom line.

By getting an equipment loan, you’ll be investing in your business and may even be able to earn more money in the long run!

Cons of Equipment Loans:

1. Restricted to Equipment

As the name implies, equipment loans can only for be used for equipment. That means you won’t be able to use the proceeds from an equipment loan to cover payroll expenses, rent, or anything else. Other types of financing, like a merchant cash advanceline of business credit, or a credit card allow you the flexibility to use the financing as you see fit. Of course, this isn’t a very serious drawback if the only thing you need the cash for is to purchase equipment.

2. Higher Rates Than Traditional Loans

Equipment loans typically offer favorable interest rates, as low as five percent, according to US News. However, if you have excellent credit history, you’ll likely be able to find a lower interest rate by taking out a traditional loan.

Still, some traditional lenders can be slower to provide a loan amount (up to 30 to 90 days) and will require more documentation. Therefore, if your equipment needs are pressing, you may not be able to wait for a traditional lender to approve your application.

3. You Own the Equipment

This could be a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it. When you take out a small business loan for equipment, you’re borrowing money to purchase and own pieces of equipment. An alternative to this is equipment leasing. With an equipment lease, you make monthly payments to use the equipment, and then return it when the lease is over.

For equipment that may become obsolete or depreciate relatively quickly, owning rather than leasing could be expensive for your business. However, for long term equipment, owning is usually more affordable. William Sutton, president and CEO of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Associations recommends leasing if you need the equipment for less than 36 months.

Conclusion: Determine if Equipment Financing is Right for Your Business

Unlike many other types of financing, equipment loans are meant for a very specific purpose. While that prevents these loans from being versatile, it also means that — for the right person —equipment loans can be extremely effective. To help yourself make the final decision, take the time to conduct research, understand your most pressing business needs, and determine the type of equipment your business requires. That way, you’ll have all the information you need to make the best decision for your business.

Has your business received an equipment loan? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!

Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2019.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].