Equipment financing simply refers to any funding solution that is specifically designed for purchasing equipment.
Your business borrows money from a lender, purchases equipment, and makes payments towards the debt over time.
While equipment financing does typically require collateral, the equipment that you purchase with the borrowed money is often enough to secure the loan. This can make these loans much easier to qualify for than traditional business loans.
In some financing agreements, your lender may also impose a blanket lien on your business, which would allow them to claim any of your business’ assets in case you default on the loan.
Financing vs. Leasing
The difference between equipment financing and leasing comes down to one primary factor: ownership.
With financing, your business borrows money to purchase equipment. Once your debt is repaid, you retain full ownership of the equipment.
Leasing, on the other hand, essentially involves paying rent on a piece of equipment for a certain period of time. At the end of your lease, you can choose whether or not to renew the agreement, or you can often purchase the equipment at a discounted price.
Leasing allows you to avoid making any down payments, and you don’t have to put up any collateral. However, leasing equipment means you don’t actually own the equipment until you decide to purchase it.
Depending on how long you need to lease the equipment, it could be more expensive than purchasing the equipment outright.
Equipment Financing Options
Small businesses that need funding to purchase equipment have several options to choose from.
Equipment loans are great for new small businesses that need to purchase expensive equipment to expand.
With these loans, the equipment itself serves as collateral for the loan — making it easier to get the funding for the total cost of the equipment.
Repayment periods can be anywhere from three to 10 years, loan limits can be as high as half a million dollars, and interest rates are very moderate.
The Small Business Administration 504 loan program allows for-profit businesses to borrow up to $5 million to purchase land, equipment, real estate, and more.
Interest rates for these loans are often lower than other types of business loans. However, it can take as long as eight weeks to receive financing.
For businesses that need to borrow a very large sum of money to finance their equipment purchases, this may be the best option available.
Term loans include short-term and long-term business loans. While these are not specifically designed for purchasing equipment, they can be used for this purpose.
Terms loans can be great for businesses that need to borrow more than is offered by equipment loans.
Term loans are available from a very wide range of lenders, can be easy to qualify for, and offer very competitive interest rates.
The requirements for equipment financing depend on your lender and the type of loan. That being considered, there are some basic requirements you should be prepared for:
Credit score of at least 600
At least one year in business
Ability to make a down payment
Ability to demonstrate sufficient business revenue
It’s important to review your lender’s terms before applying to understand the specific eligibility requirements that you need to meet.
How to Apply for Equipment Financing
Applying for equipment financing is a very simple process. Just follow a few steps to get started.
Determine How Much You Need
First and foremost, you need to determine how much money your business needs to borrow.
Make a detailed list of all of the equipment you need and contact suppliers to get quotes for the equipment.
You will need this information to submit to lenders as part of the application process. It will also help you determine which type of loan will meet your business’ needs.
Find a Lender
Be sure to research and compare quotes and terms from several different lenders. You should understand what additional fees you are responsible for, what happens if you default on your loan, and anything else required by your lender.
If you’re applying for an SBA loan, you can use the SBA’s Lender Match tool to quickly find suitable lenders near you.
Complete Your Application
After finding a suitable lender, be sure to review the documents you need to submit before beginning your application. This will likely include:
Your SSN and EIN
After being approved, review your agreement one last time to ensure you understand and agree to the terms.