With so much changing, it can feel like a relief to keep a few things consistent. Your financing provider may be an excellent example of this phenomenon. For many organizations, the company that provides their equipment financing is still doing business the same way they did five, or even ten, years ago. Staying with them saves time and effort.
Or does it?
Time, after all, is your most precious resource, and a great equalizer. No matter who you are or how much you have to do, you still only have 24 hours in the day. Add in the fact that modern technologies truly do save a great deal of time and effort, versus the older, slower ways of doing business. So, would it actually save time to switch?
Before you decide, you may want to ask yourself these four questions:
1) Is your current equipment finance provider current with today’s highly convenient technology?
E-signatures, videoconferencing, and apps are common enough in the consumer space, but can be few and far between in the equipment finance arena. When you think about that the time spent shuffling through Fed Ex packages, hosting vendors at face-to-face meetings, and pouring over Excel spreadsheets – it is clear that a great deal of time is whittled out of your day.
It is respectful for your trusted financing source to provide you with the most current and convenient tools to do business with them.
2) Who you gonna call?
When you have a question, opportunity, or challenge, and you need to speak with your financial services provider, who do you call?
Progressive organizations like First American offer a single Project Manager who provides highly-personalized, hands-on service through funding and servicing, for the entire the life of the lease. A Project Manager is backed by a highly-skilled team behind the scenes… but you are not required to navigate the organizational structure. Your Project Manager is your go-to person. Be wary of financing providers that require you to comb through a system that was constructed for their convenience – not yours.
3) Do you have industry-specific requirements?
Some equipment finance providers specialize in your industry, and others do not. There are many advantages to working with someone who understands the nuances of your business.
A specialist will have a firmer understanding of the equipment types, buying cycles, common acronyms, and industry associations that are important to you. Also, importantly, they will have very helpful and specific information about how your peers are using equipment financing to achieve their goals.
4) Do you know what your bank cannot do?
Using a bank line to finance your equipment is a common solution, as they have the funding capability and stability. However, financing equipment with a bank also has several disadvantages.
Specifically, a bank typically will require a down payment, whereas an equipment finance provider can provide 100% financing. Beyond that, banks very often will not finance soft costs like software and maintenance packages. Finally, a bank may not be able to provide progress payments to your equipment vendor during the installation phase of a complex project.
An organization that has the flexibility of an equipment finance specialist, but is also backed by a highly respected bank may be the advantageous solution you seek.
Stay or go?
While changing financing providers requires some upfront effort, finding an equipment financing source with up-to-date technology, personalized service, deep and wide experience in your industry, and the flexibility to match your needs with an exact solution may save you quite a lot of time in the long run.