Categories: Blog

The Pros and Cons of Equipment Financing for Small Businesses in India

 Brief overview of equipment financing

Equipment financing is a helpful financial option that allows small businesses to get or rent important machines, vehicles, or other kinds of equipment without paying the full price right away. This type of financing has different choices like equipment loans, leasing, hire-purchase, and lines of credit. These choices can be adjusted to fit the specific needs and financial abilities of a business. By choosing equipment financing, businesses can tackle money problems, invest in new technology, and stay competitive in the market.

Equipment financing is important for small businesses in India because it helps them grow and create jobs in a fast-growing economy. Having modern and efficient equipment is important for these businesses to stay competitive and grow their operations. But getting this equipment can be expensive, and it’s hard for small businesses with limited money to afford it. Equipment financing solves this problem by letting small businesses invest in the equipment they need without using up all their working capital or cash flow. This type of financing has become more and more popular in India because it helps businesses grow and adapt to the constantly changing market demands.

The goal of this blog is to give a complete look at the good and bad sides of equipment financing for small businesses in India. By explaining the advantages and disadvantages of this financial option, we want to help business owners make smart decisions when they think about using equipment financing. By learning about the different parts of equipment financing, small business owners can better decide if this financing choice is right for their business goals and financial situation.

II. What is Equipment Financing?

Equipment financing is a way for businesses to get the machines, tools, or vehicles they need without having to pay the full price upfront. This kind of financial help allows small businesses to overcome money problems and invest in the essential equipment required to grow and stay competitive. Equipment financing is especially helpful for small businesses in areas like manufacturing, construction, transportation, and farming, where having up-to-date and effective equipment can make a big difference in how well the business does.

 Types of equipment financing options

  • Equipment loans

Equipment loans are a common type of equipment financing where a bank or other lender gives money to a business to buy equipment. The equipment itself is used as collateral, meaning that if the business can’t pay back the loan, the lender can take the equipment. For example, a small factory might get an equipment loan to buy a new computer-controlled machine, which would help them make more products and meet increasing customer demand.

  • Equipment leasing

Equipment leasing is when a business makes an agreement with a leasing company to use a piece of equipment for a certain amount of time and make regular payments for it. At the end of the lease, the business can decide to buy the equipment, give it back, or start a new lease.

 A restaurant owner, for instance, might lease a big refrigerator, which gives them the flexibility to switch to a newer model when the lease is up.

  • Hire-purchase

Hire-purchase is a mix of equipment loans and leasing. In this kind of agreement, a business makes regular payments to a financing company, and they have the option to buy the equipment at the end of the contract. Unlike regular leasing, part of the hire-purchase payments goes toward the actual cost of the equipment. 

A small construction company, for example, might use a hire-purchase agreement to get an earth-moving machine, allowing them to take on bigger jobs and eventually buy the machine after making all the payments.

  • Line of credit

A line of credit is a flexible way to finance equipment where a lender gives a business a set amount of credit that they can use to buy or lease equipment whenever they need it. The business only pays interest on the money they actually use, making this option attractive for companies that need different equipment at different times.

 For example, a company that organizes events might use a line of credit to rent sound and video equipment for different events, making sure they have what they need without spending too much money.

III. Pros of Equipment Financing for Small Businesses in India

1. Access to capital

  • Easier approval process

One great thing about equipment financing for small businesses in India is that it’s usually easier to get approved than with a regular business loan. Since the equipment being bought or leased is used as collateral, lenders feel more secure and are willing to take a little more risk. This means that even small businesses with a short credit history or not-so-great credit scores might still be able to get equipment financing. 

For example, a new bakery might not have a long enough financial history to get a regular business loan, but they could get equipment financing to buy a big oven, which would help them bake more goods and grow their business.

  • Competitive interest rates

Another advantage of equipment financing is that it often comes with lower interest rates, which makes it a good choice for small businesses in India. The lower interest rates can help businesses save money in the long run, which can be used to invest in other areas to help the business grow.

 For example, a small delivery company might use equipment financing with a low interest rate to buy a new delivery van. The money they save from the lower interest rate can be used to advertise their services, hire more employees, or buy more vans, all of which can help the company grow even more.

2.  Tax benefits

  • Depreciation deductions

One of the benefits of equipment financing for small businesses in India is the tax savings they can enjoy through depreciation deductions. When a business buys equipment, they can usually claim depreciation on the equipment as a tax deduction, which lowers their taxable income. This means that businesses end up paying less tax, freeing up more money for other investments or expenses. For example, a small printing company that buys a high-quality printer through equipment financing can claim depreciation on the printer, reducing their taxable income and saving money on taxes.

  • Input tax credit

Another tax advantage for small businesses in India using equipment financing is the input tax credit (ITC). When a business buys or leases equipment, they can claim an input tax credit for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid on the purchase or lease. This can help reduce the overall cost of the equipment and make it more affordable. For instance, a small retail store that leases a point-of-sale (POS) system can claim the input tax credit for the GST paid on the lease, lowering their overall cost and making the POS system more budget-friendly.

3. Flexible payment terms

  • Customizable repayment schedules

Equipment financing also offers flexible payment terms, making it easier for small businesses to manage their cash flow. Lenders often work with businesses to create customizable repayment schedules that suit their specific financial needs and capabilities. For example, a small landscaping company that acquires a new lawnmower through equipment financing can work with the lender to set up a repayment schedule that aligns with their seasonal income, ensuring they can make payments without causing financial stress.

  • Seasonal payment plans

Some equipment financing options also provide seasonal payment plans, which can be particularly beneficial for small businesses that experience fluctuations in their revenue throughout the year. These plans allow businesses to make larger payments during their peak season and smaller payments during their slow season. For instance, a small ice cream shop that needs to purchase a new freezer can opt for a seasonal payment plan, making larger payments during the busy summer months and smaller payments during the slower winter months. This helps the business manage its cash flow more effectively and reduces financial strain during off-peak seasons

4. Improved cash flow management

  • Reduced upfront costs

One of the main benefits of equipment financing for small businesses in India is that it helps improve cash flow management by reducing upfront costs. Instead of paying the full price for equipment at once, businesses can spread the cost over a period of time, making it more manageable. For example, a small photography studio that needs to purchase a new high-resolution camera can use equipment financing to pay for it in installments, rather than spending a large sum of money upfront. This allows the business to maintain a healthy cash flow and invest in other areas, like marketing or hiring new staff.

  • Predictable monthly payments

Equipment financing also offers the advantage of predictable monthly payments, making it easier for small businesses to budget and plan their finances. Knowing the exact amount they need to pay each month allows businesses to allocate funds accordingly and avoid unexpected expenses. For instance, a small gym that leases new exercise machines through equipment financing can accurately plan their budget, knowing that the monthly lease payments will remain consistent throughout the lease term.

5. Opportunity to upgrade equipment

  • Technological advancements

Equipment financing gives small businesses in India the opportunity to upgrade their equipment and take advantage of the latest technological advancements. By leasing or financing equipment, businesses can keep up with industry trends and stay competitive without investing a large amount of capital upfront. For example, a small graphic design firm can lease the latest high-performance computers and software, ensuring that they have access to the most advanced tools and can deliver top-quality services to their clients.

  • Improved efficiency and productivity

Another benefit of equipment financing is that it allows small businesses to improve their efficiency and productivity by investing in more advanced equipment. Upgrading to more modern and efficient equipment can lead to faster production times, reduced operational costs, and increased output. For instance, a small manufacturing company that uses equipment financing to purchase a new, automated production line can greatly increase their production capacity, reduce labor costs, and ultimately grow their business.

Hey!

Are you in search of the right financing solution to grow your business? Consider Refer Loan as your go-to platform for finding the best equipment financing options tailored to your unique needs. We understand the challenges small businesses face when looking to acquire or upgrade essential equipment. 

Our experienced team works closely with you to identify the most suitable financing options and secure competitive interest rates through our extensive network of lending partners. By choosing Refer Loan, you gain access to personalized guidance and support throughout the entire loan process, ensuring a fast and seamless experience to help your business thrive.

IV. Cons of Equipment Financing for Small Businesses in India

1. Collateral requirements

  • Risks of asset seizure

While equipment financing has many benefits, it’s important to consider the potential downsides as well. One such drawback is the risk of asset seizure. Since the equipment being financed often serves as collateral, there’s a chance that the lender could take the equipment if the business fails to make payments. For example, if a small delivery service finances a new van and struggles to keep up with the monthly payments, the lender could seize the van, causing disruptions in the business’s operations and potential loss of income.

  • Limited financing options for intangible assets

Another con of equipment financing is that it’s generally limited to tangible assets like machinery, vehicles, and tools. Small businesses that require financing for intangible assets, such as software licenses or intellectual property, may find it difficult to secure equipment financing for these needs. For instance, a small software development company that needs funds to acquire software licenses might not be able to use equipment financing as an option, as lenders may not consider these intangible assets as suitable collateral.

2. Total cost of ownership

  • Long-term costs

While equipment financing helps spread the cost of equipment over time, small businesses should be aware of the potential long-term costs associated with this financing option. In some cases, the overall cost of financing the equipment, including interest payments and fees, may be higher than purchasing the equipment outright. For example, a small coffee shop that finances a high-end espresso machine may end up paying more in interest and fees over the financing term than if they had purchased the machine upfront.

  • Interest payments and fees

In addition to the long-term costs, equipment financing also comes with interest payments and various fees, which can add to the total cost of owning the equipment. Small businesses should carefully review the financing terms and understand all associated costs before committing to equipment financing. For instance, a small event planning company that leases audio-visual equipment should be aware of any potential fees, such as late payment charges or early termination fees, to ensure they’re making an informed decision about the financing option.

3. Obsolescence risk

  • Technological advancements

One downside of equipment financing for small businesses in India is the risk of obsolescence due to rapid technological advancements. As technology continues to evolve, equipment can quickly become outdated, potentially impacting the efficiency and competitiveness of the business. For example, a small video production company that finances a high-end camera system may find that the camera becomes outdated within a few years, as new and improved models with advanced features hit the market. This could put the company at a disadvantage when competing with other businesses that have access to the latest technology.

  • Depreciating asset value

Another concern related to obsolescence risk is the depreciation in the asset’s value over time. As equipment ages and becomes less efficient or less relevant in the market, its value may decrease. This can be problematic for businesses that have financed the equipment, as they may still be making payments on an asset that is no longer useful or valuable. For instance, a small printing company that financed an expensive printer may find that the printer’s value has significantly dropped due to newer and more efficient models becoming available, leaving them paying off an asset that is no longer worth the investment.

4. Limited flexibility

  • Contractual obligations

Equipment financing can sometimes limit a business’s flexibility due to the contractual obligations involved. When a small business agrees to equipment financing terms, they commit to making payments for the entire duration of the contract, which could last several years. This may restrict the business’s ability to adapt and change its operations as needed, especially if their financial situation or market conditions change. For example, a small gym that leases workout equipment for a five-year term may struggle to pivot their business model or respond to shifting customer preferences, as they are locked into the lease agreement.

  • Challenges in modifying payment terms

In addition to the long-term commitment, small businesses may also find it challenging to modify payment terms once they have entered into an equipment financing agreement. Lenders may be unwilling or unable to change payment schedules or offer more flexible options, which can be difficult for businesses that experience financial challenges or significant changes in their revenue. For instance, a small restaurant that financed a new kitchen setup may face unexpected financial difficulties due to a sudden drop in customers. In this situation, renegotiating the payment terms with the lender may prove to be difficult, adding more strain to the business’s financial situation.

5. Impact on credit score

  • Increased debt burden

One of the potential drawbacks of equipment financing for small businesses in India is the increased debt burden, which can impact their credit score. When a business takes on equipment financing, they add to their existing debt obligations, and this increased debt can affect their creditworthiness. For example, a small retail store that finances a new inventory management system will add to their overall debt, which could lower their credit score if they are unable to make timely payments or face financial difficulties.

  • Potential negative effects on future financing options

The impact of equipment financing on a small business’s credit score can also have negative consequences for their future financing options. Lenders and other financial institutions often consider a business’s credit score and debt levels when evaluating loan or credit applications. If a small business’s credit score is negatively affected by equipment financing, it may be more challenging for them to secure additional financing, such as loans or lines of credit, in the future. For instance, a small bakery that finances a new oven might find it harder to obtain a business loan for expansion plans later on, as their credit score may have been negatively impacted by the equipment financing agreement.

In this blog, we’ve discussed the various pros and cons of equipment financing for small businesses in India. On the positive side, equipment financing offers access to capital, tax benefits, flexible payment terms, improved cash flow management, and the opportunity to upgrade equipment. However, it also comes with some drawbacks, such as collateral requirements, total cost of ownership, obsolescence risk, limited flexibility, and impact on credit score.

 Factors to consider when deciding on equipment financing

When deciding whether equipment financing is the right choice for your business, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Consider factors like your business’s financial situation, growth potential, the equipment’s lifespan, and the total cost of ownership. By doing so, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals and financial capabilities.

Importance of thorough research and financial planning

Thorough research and financial planning are crucial when considering equipment financing options. This is where Refer Loan can help. Refer Loan is an expert in identifying the best equipment loan that suits your business needs at a competitive interest rate. By connecting with the Refer Loan team, you can receive guidance and support throughout the entire process, from choosing the best loan to handling loan documentation and getting the loan sanctioned.

Refer Loan ensures a fast and efficient process, so your business can quickly access the funds it needs to acquire or upgrade essential equipment. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Refer Loan team to help you make the right decision for your business and secure the equipment financing you need to thrive and grow.

Komal Sharma

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