It’s not always just about the benefits of adopting a business strategy such as business equipment leasing and lease financing… sometimes it is about ensuring no undue risks are also taken.
So let’s examine 6 risks that Canadian business owners and financial managers can manage if properly understood at the outset of any lease transaction.
First of all it’s always great to understand that leasing equpment is all about two things, your rights and your obligations. Your ability to assess those at the start of your transaction is critical.
Our first risk management issue is the concept of addressing the end value of your asset at the end of the term. While most business equipment leasing in Canada is done on 3 -5 years terms shorter terms are possible (generally 2 years is the shortest) and assets that have long economic lives are often lease for in excess of the 5 year norm. If you are entering into an operating lease you must clearly understand that you have the obligation to return, buy, or re – lease the asset at the end of term.
That’s when knowing the potential value of the asset is important. If in fact you feel it has value why pass that value on to your finance partner without some sort of participation or negotiated benefit to your firm. In fact many leasing companies make a tremendous amount of profit by placing bets on the value to you, of the asset, at the end of the lease term. So make sure it’s an equal fight, so to speak. Discuss things such as early buyout or fixing a price at the end of the lease term that is mutually acceptable to both parties.
Our second issue on risk avoidance is the concept of maintaining your asset. While some assets, perhaps such as computers for example require little maintenance many other assets (think plant machinery or rolling stock) require some level of care. Lessors recognize this and often, if not always, write this into the lease. So understand your maintenance obligations.
It’s a ‘ taxing ‘ matter. Taxes! That’s our third risk element. Ensure that you and your management or financial team understands all the correct depreciation and tax issues surrounding your lease transaction. This is clearly a time, especially on larger transactions to invest a bit of time in speaking to your accountant or tax expert .The many benefits of equipment financing can sometimes be swept away by your inability to properly address tax, deprecation, how you account for the lease, etc.
Our fourth issue is the concept of upgrading during or at the end of term. Understand here that lessors are incented to keep leasing you assets in Canadian lease financing. Understand your upgrade options at the start of your transaction, and ensure they are properly document in your lease, whether it’s a capital or an operating lease transaction.
Our 5th risk avoidance tip is to properly reflect on indemnification. If any sort of indemnification is required in your lease ensure it is within reasonable risk and control. Issues such as title, transfer, operation of the asset should all be properly documented to your satisfaction
Our final item is in fact the insurance issues revolving around your lease. Ensure you insure am I guessing what we are trying to say, allowing for your insurance firm to cover the risk of any loss, damage or theft to your assets. In fact most lessors, who are in effect purchasing the asset for you and ‘renting’ it back to you, actually require you to provide a certificate of insurance on your transaction.
So, is there a bottom line? As always there is in business, and in this case it’s simply to view each business equipment leasing and lease financing transaction you undertake not only from a benefits point of view but from a risk avoidance perspective. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor for additional assistance.