When leased equipment is delivered and installed, the Lessee typically authorizes the Lessor, in writing, to pay for it. The Lessee's authorization to pay the supplier is indicated on an Equipment Acceptance Certificate form.
Advance Lease Payments:
Many leasing transactions call for one (1), two (2), or more payments in advance. As a rule, when Advance Payments are required for more than just the first periodic payment, the additional Advance Payments will apply to payments due at the end of the Lease. If payments are made monthly, for example, one Advance Payment will apply to the first month's payment while any additional Advance Payments will be applied to payments due at the end of the lease term. Advance Payments are payable at, or prior to, lease inception.
Most Lessors use a Lease Application Form to list the information required to evaluate a prospective Lessee's credit condition and history. Application forms call for specific information about the applicant, such as, but not limited to: Company name, address, phone and fax number; years you have owned the business; banking and trade information; and home address and Social Security # of the principals.
Additional Lease Application Information:
For equipment costing more than $75,000, accountant prepared financial statements or federal income tax returns will usually be needed. At times, the owner's personal financial statement, tax returns, or bank reference may also be required. Credit criteria and financial information requirements vary and are individually established by Lessors in their own discretion
"Application-Only" Credit Review:
Some Lessors grant credit using only the information submitted to them on Lease Applications. This data, along with input from bank and trade references and independent credit bureau reports, is used to review credit up to certain transaction size limits (usually less than $75,000). For these Lessors, written financial statements are not required from the applicant.
Lease Agreements generally contain a provision permitting the Lessor, or other type of Lender, to transfer the Lease to another party by "Assignment". Most often; Lessors employ their own documents utilize assignment provisions to sell transactions to funding sources. Terms and conditions for assignment vary regarding recourse and other provisions such as the right, title and interest in the equipment financed. Assigning the lease does not affect the terms and conditions of the lease itself.
Most businesses use "Budgets" to forecast and allocate expenditures for specific periods of time. Typically, Capital Budgets include allocations for equipment acquisitions, while Operating Budgets apply to the periodic expenses incurred in running a business. Often, when Capital Budgets are exhausted, or have been allocated for other purposes, businesses can use available funds from Operating Budgets to lease needed equipment. Since Lease Payments are typically made monthly, and are small in comparison to the full outlay of the equipment's purchase price, businesses can "stretch" their equipment acquisition power by leasing.
If long-term ownership of the equipment is your goal, a capital lease might be your best choice. It would be categorized on your balance sheet just like a bank loan, with deductible interest expense on your income statement. But, at the end of your lease, you can purchase the equipment for a nominal sum. Most purchase options range from $1 to 10% of equipment cost
Cash Flow is a critical measure of a business' ability to meet lease obligations. Cash Flow is calculated by adding the business net income to its depreciation expense for a particular period (i.e. month, quarter, year), and subtracting the current portion of long term debt. The remainder of this formula is the available cash to "service" new lease obligations.
Contact Payment Lease (Deffered Payments):
This lease structure offers a payment moratorium at lease inception. Ordinarily, the period is limited to two or three months, but, may sometimes extend as long as six months. During this period the lessee makes minimal ($50.00) monthly contact payments as a good faith gesture to the Lessor. Businesses benefit from these types of leases when new equipment requires a break-in, operator training, or set-up phase. This way, the Lessee is not required to remit regular lease payments during the equipment's initial start-up stage. Contact Payment leases also help when existing equipment will be replaced shortly, but some leasing or financing payments remain.
Corporate Resolution/Certificate of Secretary:
A Corporation must attest that the individual executing a Lease Agreement on its behalf is duly authorized to do so. A signatory's authority is commonly confirmed by the execution of a "Corporate Resolution" or "Certificate of Secretary". On this form, the Corporate Secretary, or other authorized officer, attests that the signatory is empowered, by name or title, to execute Lease Agreements for the Lessee. The Lessee's "Corporate Seal" is ordinarily required to be affixed to these forms, as well.
Credit Scoring systems typically formulate values assigned to various credit criteria to create a "Pass/Fail" scoring "Model". Leasing applicant's scores are then compared to appropriate Models to determine credit acceptability. Credit Scoring Models are generally derived from the particular Lessor's historical portfolio performance with Lessees of similar type, organizational structure, credit history, size, age, and credit bureau rating, along with other criteria an individual Lessor may choose to include. Lessor's equipment preferences ordinarily result from that Lessor's particular experience, or inexperience, with various equipment types. Scoring criteria vary, predicated on transaction size, type of business, and individual Lessor's particular preferences.
A Default is the failure of a Lessee to meet an obligation(s) called for in a Lease, most commonly a delinquent payment. The lease agreement will outline what events may trigger a default.
Leasing terms and conditions are set out in written Lease Agreements, sometimes comprising several different forms. Documentation requirements vary, depending on the type of lease, equipment, equipment cost, number of units leased, equipment configuration, additional provisions (if any), and the particular contractual policies of individual Lessors. For example, Lessors of inexpensive equipment today commonly use one page, self-contained, Lease Agreement forms while more expensive equipment generally calls for more extensive contracts.
Leases typically do not require Down Payments. Bank loans and other types of equipment based financing frequently require the borrower to pay 10 to 25 percent of the purchase price at the outset. Lessees with a minimal or negative credit history may choose to offer a Down Payment to get their lease approved.
The Equipment is the specific item(s) Leased by the Lessee as covered by a particular Lease Agreement. Although not specified in the lease agreement, lessees may be allowed (depending on the lessor) to include many "soft cost" items such as training, installation, and freight
Equipment Supplier (Vendor):
The "Equipment Supplier" is the seller/manufacturer of the equipment to be leased. In a leasing situation the equipment is actually sold to the Lessor and shipped to the Lessee.
Fair Market Value (FMV):
The price at which an asset or service passes from a willing seller to a willing buyer. Some leases contain purchase options that allow the lessee to purchase the equipment at the FMV at the end of the lease.
A lease in which the service provided by the lessor to the lessee is limited to financing equipment. All other responsibilities related to the possession of equipment, such as maintenance, insurance, and taxes are borne by the lessee. A finance lease is one that does not qualify as a True Lease (for tax purposes) or an Operating Lease as defined by FASB 13 accounting standards.
Often, business owners (especially in the case of proprietorships, partnerships, closely-held corporations, or small businesses), may be required to personally guarantee a leasing transaction. In these cases, the appropriate party(s) will acknowledge his or her Guarantee on a separate Guaranty form, or in a separate Guaranty section of the Lease Agreement itself. At other times, a business may be a subsidiary of, or owned wholly, or in part by, another business. Depending on the circumstances, the Lessee's Parent company may be required to guarantee a leasing transaction.
Most Lessors require the Lessee to insure the equipment against casualty loss, all risks, and require that the Lessee indemnify the Lessor against any liability incurred from the possession, operation, or usage of the equipment. This is very similar to the insurance requirement for automobile financing.
A Lease is a transaction wherein a "Lessor" owns particular equipment and agrees to permit a "Lessee" to use it. Lease terms typically cover two to five or more years, depending upon the specific equipment's type and usage. Lessors ordinarily offer monthly payments but individualized payment structures can often be tailored to meet particular Lessee's accounting, cash-flow, or other financial requirements. Lease Agreements can often provide for the Lessee's purchase of the equipment at the end of the original lease term. Most often, the Lessee will select the specific equipment to be leased and choose the Vendor from whom that equipment will be purchased. The Lessor will then purchase the equipment on the Lessee's behalf.
The Agreement is usually a pre-printed form that contains the basic terms and conditions, including the equipment location and usage conditions, equipment insurance requirements, responsibility for taxes and fees, Default provisions, late payment provisions, remedies, Lessor's Assignment rights, equipment return provisions, indemnity, title to the equipment, and such other or additional provisions as determined by the Lessor and by law. The Lease Agreement also calls for input of the exact legal name and address of the Lessor and Lessee, a specific description of the equipment leased, the name and address of the equipment supplier, a schedule listing the term of the lease, the number and timing of Lease Payments, the amount of each Lease Payment, any applicable taxes payable, the number of Advance Lease Payments required, and any additional fees or costs to be paid by the Lessee.
Most Lease Agreements call for a fixed periodic payment for a fixed period of time. Most leases require monthly payments in advance. Lease Rates: To simplify leasing payment calculations, leasing rates are typically stated as the number of dollars ($'s) charged per thousand dollars ($'s) of equipment cost leased, per specific period of time. Unlike a loan a lease does not have an interest rate. For Example, In a five year (60 month) Lease that calls for a leasing charge of $24.00 per $1000 per month, the Rate Factor equates to .024. To determine the payment for equipment costing $25,000: Multiply $25,000 X .024 = $600 per month. Leasing Rate Factors are based on various criteria such as: The then current money market costs, lease term, equipment cost, Purchase Option alternatives, lease type and structure, and any other variables applicable to particular lease configurations.
User of real estate, equipment, or other fixed assets for a specific period of time in exchange for payment. Lessor: Provider/owner of equipment or other fixed assets for a specific period of time in exchange for the receipt of payment.
Leverage commonly applies to the amount of a business's Debt compared to its Tangible Net Worth or Stockholder's Equity.
Off Balance Sheet Financing:
Financing that does not add debt on a balance sheet and thus does not affect borrowing capacity as it would Operating Lease: If cash flow and lease payment amount are critical, an operating lease might be the best option. An operating lease is considered an "off-balance sheet" liability and contains a provision to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease for market value. Further, this same type of lease can work to the customer's benefit for accounting purposes, with payments deducted as an operating expense. A True lease is not necessarily an Operating Lease.
Most often, leases provide an option for the Lessee to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease term. Most Purchase Options are drafted on separate forms. Purchase Option forms may state a specific purchase price or the percentage of equipment cost to be paid, the terms and conditions for Purchase Option exercise, and any other provisions, such as the method employed for determination of Fair Market Value (if applicable), established by the Lessor.
The most common Purchase Options are:
$1.00 Purchase Option:
Permits purchase of the equipment at the end of the original lease term for $1.00.
Fixed Purchase Option:
Permits purchase of the equipment at the end of the original lease term for a fixed percentage of its original cost. Typical options are 5%, 10%, 15%, or other percentage of equipment cost.
Fair Market Value Purchase Option (FMV):
Permits purchase of the equipment at the end of the original lease term for its then fair market value. FMV is determined at lease expiration by recognized appraisers or similar experts in the specific equipment.
The percentage of equipment cost leased per period of time is commonly known as a "Rate Factor". Once the appropriate Rate Factor has been calculated, any applicable equipment cost can then be multiplied by that Rate Factor to derive the lease payment.
Most equipment has a remaining or resale value at the end of the original lease term. The remaining value is referred to as the Residual Value.
Businesses can sometimes raise capital by selling owned equipment to Lessors and then leasing the same equipment back. Sale/Leasebacks may not be attractive to some Lessors because, although these type of transactions may be structured as leases, the prospective lessee's purpose is often to raise capital by refinancing owned assets. Refinancing risks differ from those incurred in leasing additional equipment needed for growth or for additional production. Therefore, it's important for businesses to have a valid, productive, reason for a Sale/Leaseback. When Lessors consider Sale/Leasebacks, an equipment appraisal (at the Lessee's expense) by a recognized appraiser, is generally required. Most often, the Lessor wants to learn the auction, or distress sale value, of the equipment. Generally, Lessors will offer the auction value, or less, as the buying price for the equipment to be sold and leased back.
Schedules or Addendum
At times, multiple equipment items or lengthy equipment descriptions require a separate Schedule or Addendum to the Lease Agreement, simply because physical space is lacking to enter information. Addenda may also be used to list special provisions or modifications to a Lease Agreement. Schedules may be used when additional equipment is leased for the same, or a different, lease term. If Schedules or Addenda are added to Lease Agreements at a later date, the "Schedule of Lease Payments" pertaining to the added equipment will generally be included on a new Schedule or Addendum itself.
Similar to Advance Lease Payments, Security Deposits are paid at, or prior to, lease inception. Security Deposits protect the Lessor by offsetting losses due to unreasonable wear and tear to returned equipment, the non-return of equipment, un paid late fees, or any other costs incurred due to the Lessee's actions or negligence.
Skip Payment Lease:
This structure permits payment reductions or abatements during a seasonal business' slow period. Seasonal businesses can then match their lease payments to the times of year that a business generates its income. Often this type of lease will allow the Lessee to skip any one lease payment a year.
Some Step-Leases call for lower payments early in the Lease term and higher payments later on. Businesses acquiring more costly or higher capacity equipment than currently needed, but who will require greater productivity in the future, find this plan attractive. Rather than installing a smaller unit today, and then having to soon upgrade or replace the equipment, reduced front-end lease payments can permit the acquisition of higher capacity equipment at the Lease outset. Conversely, Step-Down leases can permit a faster write-off of leased equipment that will be obsolete in a short period of time. This structure matches the higher front-end leasing payments to the highest productivity stage of equipment usage.
A major leasing benefit is the Lessor's ability to meet specific Lessee needs through Lease structuring.
Currently, one of the biggest advantages to lease is Section 179 of the IRS Code that allows businesses to expense up to $20,500 of equipment in the current year rather than depreciate the asset. Because the lease term, Lease Payments, equipment's estimated useful life, Leasing Rates, and Lessee's down payment can effect the Lessee's accounting and tax treatment regarding any particular leasing transaction, it is strongly suggested that the Lessee seek competent tax and accounting advice.
Taxes, Sales/Use/Personal Property:
Most Lease Agreements require the Lessee to pay any applicable taxes or fees related to the leased equipment including sales or usetax, personal property tax, or other taxes.
This term refers to the total cost of the equipment to be leased, plus any other costs (i.e. software, training, supplies, transportation, delivery, installation, other soft costs) to be paid by the Lessor. The size of the transaction directly affect whether or not the lease application can be approved on an "application only" basis or if financial statements will be required.
Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statements (UCC 1):
Standardized UCC-1 forms are commonly used by Lessors to secure their ownership of leased equipment. UCC-1's are filed with the Secretary of State's office, (and in some cases the County Clerk's office), in the State (and County, if applicable) where leased equipment is located. The purpose of filing these forms is to notify other parties who may seek a security or other interest in the specific equipment, that a particular party currently has a secured interest in the identified equipment.
Vendor (Equipment Supplier):
The Vendor is the seller of the equipment to be leased. Although confusing to some potential lessees, it is important to the Lessor that the seller of the equipment be a "vendor in due course". This means they are the manufacturer or an authorized dealer for this particular type of equipment. Many Lessors will not finance transactions between private parties.
Working Capital equates to "Current Assets" minus "Current Liabilities", or a businesses' available funds. Leasing conserves Working Capital versus outright purchase because the equipment's full purchase price does not have to be paid out in cash.