4 Things You Should Know About Your Equipment Term Loan
June 18, 2014
Equipment purchases are a vital part of starting a small business in Maryland, especially for manufacturing and retail companies. They can also be necessary investments once your business is up and running. Equipment updates and modernizing old equipment can make your business more productive, efficient, and even save you money in the long haul.
Equipment, however, is a significant investment and very few small businesses have the cash on hand needed to outright purchase large scale equipment. With costs that can easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, finding a way to finance equipment purchases is something that many small business owners have to look into to grow their company. While there are many ways to finance business costs, many business owners turn to something called an equipment term loan for acquiring or updating new machinery and equipment.
What Is an Equipment Term Loan?
An equipment term loan is essentially a business loan that offers either a fixed or floating interest for a pre-specified term (seven years on average). If the loan is longer than a few years, a fixed interest rate is what generally draws business owners to an equipment term loan, since the stability of having a locked-in interest rate is often times a safer bet than financing with a floating interest rate loan or a credit card. Those types of financing could have an unexpected increase in the APR, potentially adding thousands of dollars in additional interest.
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Getting Started with Equipment Term Loans – Things to Consider
- You might need additional collateral for your loan. Depending on the amount of money you’ll need to finance, standard collateral for a personal loan (like a vehicle) might not be sufficient enough for an equipment term loan. Be prepared to find other types of collateral that will be accepted by your bank. Real estate is the most common type of collateral for a long-term business loan, given that it’s one of the most common types of assets that are available to business owners. Other types of collateral that are commonly accepted for equipment term loans are natural reserves, inventory, plants, and machinery.
- Though the average term loan for business equipment is around seven years, some term loans can extend as long as twenty years. This largely depends on the cost of the equipment being purchased, as financing for a larger sum of money generally takes a longer term to pay off. Depending on your company’s financial situation, and how much money you can afford to pay back each month, you can work with your bank to find a term that works well for you. Longer terms will rack up more interest, resulting in a larger overall payment, but will have smaller and more manageable monthly or quarterly payments. Shorter term loans will keep your overall repayment costs lower, but you’ll have to take on larger monthly or quarterly payments.
- It could take two to three months to get approved. The process for securing an equipment term loan isn’t an altogether quick and easy process. Keep in mind that in best case scenarios, a few weeks is needed to process an equipment term loan. In a worst case scenario, it could take anywhere from a month to 2-3 months to review your company’s financial statements and finalize the paperwork before any money makes its way into your account.
- You’ll need to prove your credit worthiness. Business term loans, especially ones for high ticket purchases like manufacturing equipment, have a very thorough loan approval process. Be prepared to not only have your personal and business credit reviewed, but also your company’s financial statements, including cash flow, revenue projections, and possibly even your personal financial statements. The bank will want to make sure that you’re in a good financial position to be able to take on monthly or quarterly equipment term payments for the duration of your loan term.