Equipment Loans Explained
If part of your business strategy comprises increasing operational effectiveness in order to scale your SME, equipment finance is an important factor to take into account. Businesses looking to increase productivity and product excellence or to streamline operations while remaining compliant with changing industry requirements, by investing in better equipment.
We’ll outline how equipment financing operates, its advantages and disadvantages, the fundamental requirements for these loans, and potential alternatives.
What Exactly Is an Equipment Loan?
Business equipment loans enable owners of small businesses to purchase equipment that would otherwise be out of their price range. For businesses looking to increase their revenue with a specific tool or piece of machinery, an equipment loan is a terrific option.
It’s a great financing choice because, in most cases, the equipment’s rapid ROI pays for the debt earlier than anticipated. An equipment loan poses somewhat of a risk for the debtor and the bank than an unsecured loan.
How Do Equipment Loans Work?
A loan taken out to buy business-related equipment, like a vehicle, copy machine, or restaurant oven, is referred to as equipment finance. You must make regular payments that include both interest and principal above a predetermined period of time when you decide to take out an equipment loan.
Like an auto loan, the creditor may demand a lien on the machinery as security for the loan, serving as collateral for your debt. You acquire the equipment completely free of any liens after the loan is fully repaid. Additionally, the creditor might place a lien on several of your other company assets or demand a personal guarantee. If you default on your loan, the creditor may seize your business property and, if you provided a personal guarantee, even your personal property. To understand your risk, you must carefully analyze the loan details.
How to Qualify for Equipment Loans?
The criteria for obtaining an equipment loan will differ amongst creditors. Creditors will often consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant credit. But before picking a creditor, you should research their underwriting rules to make sure you match their minimum requirements.
When applying for equipment loans, your personal and corporate credit scores will be taken into consideration. You can find both your personal and corporate credit scores online if you’re unsure of your present credit standing. You are more likely to be approved for a loan with better terms the higher your scores.
You might need to add some personal files as well because creditors are also curious about your personal financial situation. It might also include a record of all your existing debts, bank statements, and previous tax filings.
Pros and Cons of Equipment Loans
In case you’re thinking about financing equipment for your company, here is a quick rundown of the various considerations to take into account:
Knowing all of the advantages of this financing option will help businesses make a wise and calculated decision if they are thinking about taking out an equipment loan. The advantages of equipment financing are listed below:
- Absolute ownership
After paying off the loan in full, business owners will have free ownership of the equipment they bought (the creditor cannot confiscate the equipment after your payment responsibilities are satisfied).
- Fixes budget constraints
The fixed monthly payments will firms them to purchase the equipment without having to make a sizable upfront investment, which can complicate their cash flow situation.
- Fast and efficient processing
The loan provider will begin processing your application as soon as you deliver your supporting documentation. The equipment you require can be acquired quickly.
Even though an equipment loan has many advantages, there are some disadvantages to be aware of. Before requesting an equipment loan, keep the following things in mind:
- Higher cost
The final cost will be much greater than if you paid cash for the equipment due to the high-interest rates and some other fees that the loan would incur.
- They are solely appropriate for capital.
An equipment loan can only be used to pay for the equipment that is stated when you utilize it. That implies that you cannot use it for running costs or for any other purpose.
- You might purchase items that you don’t need.
Lack of research could result in you purchasing a piece of equipment that won’t pay for itself, which could be detrimental to your company.
Alternatives to Equipment Loans
One of the simplest ways for a small firm to obtain expensive tools is through equipment financing. However, it’s not the only option; leasing is another. In addition to those two, you can also use business credit cards, SBA loans, regular bank loans, online loans, and traditional lending institutions. Your loan and credit alternatives are broken down here.
- Equipment Leasing
The same outcome can be achieved with an equipment lease as with an equipment loan. After the lease is completed, ownership of the equipment may transfer. However, there are numerous distinct kinds of leases with various payment schedules. Some do not demand that the debtor assume ownership of the item upon lease expiration.
- SBA Loans
Equipment and real estate purchases for small businesses are the sole purpose of SBA 504 loans. But it’s challenging to be eligible. The good news is that you can qualify for other SBA loans as well. SBA 7(a), which is intended for working capital, is one of your additional possibilities. The maximum loan amount is $5 million.
- Loans from neobanks and online creditors
Small company loans are offered by online creditors and neobanks, which are simpler to qualify for than conventional business loans. The majority of them don’t perform hard credit checks, and a sizable portion won’t even take into account your personal credit. They are therefore perfect for business owners whose credit hasn’t yet had a chance to develop.
- Bank Term Loans
When trying to purchase business equipment, seeking for business equipment loans may seem like the best option. If, however, you are not eligible for equipment financing, you might want to think about applying for a conventional bank term loan. If you want a banking facilities that you can repay over a lengthy period of time—up to 10 years—it can be a particularly suitable alternative.
- Small Business Lines of Credit
Your company can use a business line of credit as a revolving line of credit anytime it needs fund. Imagine that a creditor extends to you a line of credit for $100,000. You can take money from that fund whenever you need it, as long as you don’t go over the $100,000 threshold.
- Small Business Credit Cards
The same principles that govern consumer credit cards also apply to business cards. Your firm receives a credit card from the card provider that it can use to make purchases. When you use the card, you are borrowing funds each time. The creditor will establish a cap on how much you can borrow.