Construction Equipment Financing Takes Planning

Establishing or expanding an existing construction business can be an overwhelming experience.
In deciding the proper direction you’ll need to plan out what type of equipment to purchase but more importantly how to pay for it. Are you able to pay cash or will construction equipment financing be necessary? Is it better to buy new equipment or will refurbished or used equipment be a better value.

Unable to pay cash is not unusual and often the need to seek out a construction equipment finance company is the best alternative. In researching equipment financing you’ll want to have a clear understanding of what your company needs in the way of equipment and how your cash flow will allow you to pay for it.

Determine The Type Of Equipment You Need

Your construction equipment finance company will need to know exactly what type of equipment you intend to purchase, as they will tailor the finance terms to match the need. Different types of equipment will have different types of financing. For example, if you plan to upgrade your computer system the finance company may offer shorter term financing as computer equipment becomes obsolete in a short amount of time. The purchase of a bulldozer or cement truck may have a much longer life span and be eligible for longer term financing.

Consider Used Or Refurbished Equipment

Once you decide how much equipment to buy, the brand you want or need, how much your budget can support, etc. you will then need to decide if buying new or used equipment is the best route to follow. Refurbished or used equipment may be an ideal solution, especially if the primary use is to be used as a back up to your existing construction equipment and not put into use on a daily basis. Not all used construction equipment will be reliable enough if you plan on making it your primary equipment. Just as you’d research the pros and cons of purchasing a used car you should perform diligent research on your proposed used equipment purchase.

Not All Financing Companies Are The Same

Now that you know what you want or need and have decided between refurbished or new it’s time to start researching financing companies. A good place to start is the bank that maintains your business checking account. Although they may not offer the most attractive financing options it may offer a good comparison to a company that is a construction equipment finance specialist.

Because it’s all that they do, an equipment financing company will be more knowledgeable than a commercial bank with regards to your specific business and equipment needs. Seek out a company that maintains its own underwriting department since these companies are more able to respond to your request for equipment financing quicker than if they had to send the application out of the department for review. The end result will be you have your financing quicker and delivery of your new equipment will not be delayed due to financing.

If you’re not in a position to purchase new or refurbished equipment another option often offered by equipment financing companies is equipment leasing. This is a great option for a seasonal business, someone just starting out or where tax advantages come into play. If you’re concerned about tying up liquid assets as you establish or expand your current construction equipment fleet, look to a construction equipment finance company. They have the experience and knowledge to help guide you in financial decisions that are right for you.

Financing Cash Flow Peaks And Valleys

For many businesses, financing cash flow for their business can be like riding a continuous roller coaster.

Sales are up, then they do down. Margins are good, then they flatten out. Cash flow can swing back and forth like an EKG graph of a heart attack.

So how do you go about financing cash flow for these types of businesses?

First, you need to accurately know and manage your monthly fixed costs. Regardless of what happens during the year, you need to be on top of what amount of funds will be required to cover off the recurring and scheduled operating costs that will occur whether you make a sale or not. Doing this monthly for a full twelve month cycle provides a basis for cash flow decision making.

Second, from where you are at right now, determine the amount of funds available in cash, owners outside capital that could be invested in the business, and other outside sources currently in place.

Third, project out your cash flow so that fixed costs, existing accounts payable and accounts receivable are realistically entered into the future weeks and months. If cash is always tight, make sure you do your cash flow on a weekly basis. There is too much variability over the course of a single month to project out only on a monthly basis.

Now you have a basis to assess financing your cash flow.

Financing cash flow is always going to be somewhat unique to each business due to industry, sector, business model, stage of business, business size, owner resources, and so on.

Each business must self assess its sources of financing cash flow, including but not limited to owner investment, trade or payable financing, government remittances, receivable discounts for early payment, deposits on sale, third party financing (line of credit, term loan, factoring, purchase order financing, inventory financing, asset based lending, or whatever else is relevant to you).

Ok, so now you have a cash flow bearing and a thorough understanding of your options available for financing cash flow in your specific business model.

Now what?

Now you are in a position to entertain future sales opportunities that fit into your cash flow.

Three points to clarify before we go further.

First, financing is not strictly about getting a loan from someone when your cash flow needs more money. Its a process of keeping your cash flow continuously positive at the lowest possible cost.

Second, you should only market and sell what you can cash flow. Marketers will measure the ROI of a marketing initiative. But if you can’t cash flow the business to complete the sale and collect the proceeds, there is no ROI to measure. If you have a business with fluctuating sales and margins, you can only enter into transactions that you can finance.

Third, marketing needs to focus on customers that you can sell to over and over again in order to maximize your marketing efforts and reduce the unpredictability of the annual sales cycle through regular repeat orders and sales.

Marketing works under the premise that if you are providing what the customer wants that the money side of the equation will take care of itself. In many businesses this indeed proves to be true. But in a business with fluctuating sales and margins, financing cash flow has to be another criteria built into sales and marketing activities.

Overtime, virtually any business has the potential to smooth out the peaks and valleys through a more robust marketing plan that better lines up with customer needs and the business’s financing limitations or parameters.

In addition to linking financing cash flow more closely to marketing and sales, the next most impactful action you can take is expanding your sources of financing.

Here are some potential strategies for expanding your sources for financing cash flow.

Strategy # 1: Develop strategic relationships with key suppliers that have the ability to extend greater financing in certain situations to take advantage of sales opportunities. This is accomplished with larger suppliers that 1) have the financial means to extend financing, 2) view you as a key customer and value your business, 3) have confidence in the business’s ability to forecast and manage cash flow.

Strategy # 2: Make sure where possible that your annual financial statements show a profit capable of servicing debt financing. Accountants may be good at saving you income tax dollars, but if they drive business profitability down to or close to zero through tax planning, they may also effectively destroying your ability to borrow money.

Strategy # 3: If possible, only transact with credit worthy customers. Credit worthy customers allow both the business and potential lenders to finance receivables which can increase the amount of external financing available to you.

Strategy # 4: Develop a liquidation pathway for your tangible assets. Equipment and inventory are easier to finance if lenders clearly understand how to liquidate the assets in the event of default. In some cases, businesses can get resale option agreements on certain equipment or inventory from prospective buyers assignable to a lender to be used as recourse against a lending facility for financing cash flow.

Strategy # 5: Joint venture a sales opportunity with another business to share the risk of a large sales opportunity that may be too risky for you to take on yourself.

Summary

The primary long term objective of a business with fluctuating cash flow and margins is to smooth out the peaks and valleys and create a scalable business with more of a predictable sales cycle.

This is best achieved with an approach that including the following steps.

Step #1. Micro Manage your fixed costs and cash flow and accurately project out the cash flow requirements of the business on a weekly basis.

Step #2. Take a detailed inventory of all the sources you have for financing cash flow.

Step #3. Incorporate your financing constraints into your marketing approach.

Step #4. If possible, only transact with credit worthy customers to reduce risk and increase financing options.

Step #5. Work towards expanding both your financing sources and available source limits for financing cash flow.

Business cycle stability and cash flow predictability is an evolutionary step for every business. The industries with longer sales cycles will tend to be the more difficult to tame due to a larger number of variables to manage.

Benefits of Financing Your Business Equipment

The advantages of financing are greater than ever. Any business or organization can benefit from these advantages which include reduced costs, simplified budgeting, credit preservation and flexibility. When it is time for your business to make a financing decision, equipment financing allows you to take full advantage of business opportunities while enjoying critical flexibility and investment protection.

More for Your Money

Many businesses struggle with the need to grow while feeling constrained by a lack of capital. What so many business owners don’t know is that equipment financing can increase your buying power and decrease your expenses. When you finance rather than use working capital, you can afford a more complete solution while making lower monthly payments and paying little or no up-front costs. This leaves your working capital intact while allowing for the needed growth.

The larger the business acquisition, the greater the benefits of financing. For large-scale projects financing can mean the difference between making those changes now and putting them off indefinitely. Putting off necessary changes often means taking your business out of a competitive market position – a position that can be difficult to regain.

Critical Business Advantage

As the business landscape changes on a daily basis, it can be imperative for your own business to adapt and grow to match the market. This is especially true for software and services that are vital but can have large up-front costs. Unfortunately, there are many companies that lack – or think that they lack – the resources required to purchase all of the equipment needed to keep their businesses productive.

Financing can expedite this business transformation by letting you add necessary service capacity, reduce the risk of your technology becoming obsolete and can decrease the total cost of ownership. Equipment financing can provide flexible payment options tailored to your specific budget requirements or timed to match your benefit streams, enabling your company to afford all of the components necessary to maintain a competitive business edge.

Speeding Up Your Business

Other obstacles to keeping businesses moving ahead at an effective pace can include budget constraints and the lack of capital. But emerging markets and those ever present competitors won’t wait for you to catch up. Financing those business purchases means that a lack of capital doesn’t have to cripple your business endeavors.

Equipment financing enables companies to quickly adapt to changing competitive environments, and any business strategy should include access to flexible and competitive financing options. Take some time to research equipment financing companies. The good financing programs offer customers competitive, flexible financing solutions for acquiring hardware, software and any other equipment that your business might need.

Competitive Advantage

It is a simple fact that business solutions are becoming obsolete faster than ever. A customer-focused equipment financing program provides flexible, cost-effective solutions that can help you acquire the technological components that you need to migrate to new business models and to maintain your competitive edge including software applications. This benefit can help ensure that your business never faces the specter of business obsolescence.

You should consider taking advantage of the flexibility that financing offers if your business is in the market for new equipment. This flexibility can help you stay ahead of the technology curve, and ahead of the competition.

A Hedge Against Inflation

With an economy that may seem less than stable, it is important that businesses, especially newer businesses, take advantage of every opportunity that gives them protection against tough economic times. Postponing growth is not necessarily the best way to protect your business as it can result in a loss of customers if you can’t offer them the services that they need or want.

When growth becomes a necessity, equipment financing can allow you to grow the way that you need without making your financial base less stable. The right equipment financing program not only gives you the access to capital that you need for growth but it could also lock in the rates for the loan. This means that you won’t have to worry about your rates falling victim to inflation… ever!

Don’t Fear Financing

The business world can be cutthroat. That’s no secret. So in the quest to keep your own business competitive or to grab a bigger share of the market, don’t let the lack of capital inhibit your plans. It would be nice if we could all expand using only the capital at hand, but that is simply not realistic. Equipment financing can be a very valuable tool and one that offers many benefits. It should not be feared. There are plenty of financing programs available that offer flexible and tailored terms to fit your needs. Do your homework and you will find a lender that will work with you rather than against you. In the long run, that financing could be the most valuable weapon in your business arsenal.