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Which is the best option? Crane finance installment loans or leases?



If you plan on opening a construction business, then you are sure to understand the importance of a crane as it aids in the general lifting of those heavy weights. Being expensive equipment, it is quite tough to pay them out of your pocket, which is why choosing crane financing is the best solution you may have. 

Although crane financing may sound pretty straightforward on the surface, exploring them seemingly across the niche area of financing can become a bit like diving down the rabbit hole. At the end of the post today, we hope that it clarifies the basics of whether you should go for a crane equipment lease or a crane finance installment loans. 

Overview of crane financing

Crane financing makes the fundamental use of a loan or leases to buy or borrow those hard assets for your business. It uses financing options to buy or borrow all types of physical assets for your business. Various options for crane financing cater to the distinctive type of business along with cranes.

The highly vital thing to consider about crane financing, widely speaking, is the financing involved for the physical asset. So, why does it matter so much? It is highly unlikely to mention that the working capital loan and the asset you are purchasing all serve as the type of collateral. The lender starts repossessing the asset, and due to this, crane financing appears highly cost-effective by lowering the risk in the way the crane is acquired with the other types of financing.

How Does Crane Financing Work?

You will need an idea of what you are purchasing before contacting your crane financer when you choose to opt for crane financing. You also need an idea of whom you plan to purchase it from. 

In several cases, the crane financer covers almost every percentage of the cost behind the crane. In light of reality, several crane financiers are directly paying the vendors for the crane without the money passing through your bank account.

The precise terms of your financing start differing based on whether you are availing of a loan or a lease; however, most crane financing terms last between two to seven years. During this time, you generally make monthly payments to your crane financer to pay off the principal and interest. Your crane financer will generally start repossessing the crane while reselling it if you are on default the loan or lease.

Crane loaning vs. leasing

There are two very common ways involved in financing a crane, and one is through a loan or a lease. However, both of these achieve similar ends, offering you entire access to the crane required for operating the business since there are several differences between these two methodologies.

Let us check them both out in detail:

  • Crane loans

The loan was derived from the expressions of the reasoning behind buying a crane. Generally, the crane secures the loan, and if you cannot afford to pay the loan, the crane is collected as collateral.

These loans are extremely beneficial to entrepreneurs who require the crane for the long term but fail at affording them to make the purchase outright. The lending institution may agree to extend most of the capital, giving you chances to pay the periodic raises.

The arrangement here comes with a couple of downsides where several lending institutions agree to pay only 80 or 90% of the cost, leaving you to cover the rest 10 to 20%.

The other adverse end here is the long-term arrangement that leads to greater cost involvement than the one involved in purchasing the crane outright.

  • Crane lease

Leasing the crane is the prominent option if you wish to trade out frequently or fail to have the capital to pay the down payment involved in this loan, and it is more likely to cover the additional soft costs involved with shipping and crane installation.

Instead of borrowing the money to purchase the crane, you are simply paying a fee for borrowing the crane. The leasing company is technically maintaining the crane’s ownership; however, it allows you to use it.

The arrangements for the crane vary based on the needs of the company. Commonly, the merchants are entering into this lease agreement if they are periodically required to switch out their crane for the updated version.

If you wish to have ownership of the crane, a few lessors are offering the purchase option at the end of the lease term.

Leasing typically carries low monthly payments compared to the loan; however, it might be costlier in the long run. In parts, leasing appears expensive since they carry larger rates of interest than any loan.

Finance and operating are the two main forms of the lease option. The former starts functioning more like an alternative to the loan while it is being used for financing the crane you wish to obtain for the long term. The latter is much closer to the rental agreements, and in several cases, you might return the crane to the lessor once the term ends.

Both of these kinds have massive variations involved, and you will often come across the following:

  • Fair Market Value (FMV) Lease:

You might start making those regular payments as you borrow the crane for the fixed term with the help of an FMV lease. You will encounter varied options to return your crane or buy it at fair market value whenever this term increases.

  • $1 Buyout Lease

It is the form of a capital lease where you pay off the crane’s entire cost along with interest over the entire lease term. Finally, you own $1. After paying such a residual, it is a bit more than just a formality where you have complete ownership of the crane. It is the kind of lease to a loan, considering the cost and the structure apart from the technical differences.

  • 10% Option Lease

The lease is identical to a $1 lease; at the end of the term, you can purchase the crane, which is about 10% of its cost. It tends to tag low monthly payments compared to the $1 buyout lease.

Considerations to opt for a loan or a lease

For your specific circumstance, is a loan or a lease better? Below are a few questions that will help you determine this option.

  • Is a 20% down payment affordable for me?

If you cannot afford to pay 20% of the crane’s value, you might have fewer options to avail of the crane loan. With all being said, a couple of non-traditional lenders offer crane loans covering about 100% of the costs. However, you might have a feasible time to locate the lease covering entire expenses, mainly if you require help with the costs for transportation and installations.

  • How much do I afford to pay every month?

Compared to the loan, fair market value leases carry smaller monthly payments. While you are operating for thinner profit margins, the lease is worth considering. Always be aware whenever you plan to purchase the crane at the end of the lease term, where you are more likely to pay everything at a few costs for the crane. The arrangement here is a bit expensive in the long run.

  • How long is the crane required for my business?

As a general rule, if you need the crane for more than three years, purchasing it using the loan option is better. Although both the leases and loans offer better opportunities to own the crane, loans become cheaper at some point in time.

  • How sooner will the crane wear out, becoming outdated?

If you use a crane that quickly wears out becoming obsolete is why leasing is the cheaper alternative, and in the end, you need not decide on what you need to do with this outdated crane.

Alternatively, whenever you shop for the lease, you wish to ensure that your crane is not becoming outdated before the lease term ends. You are held responsible for paying until the term ends, although you cannot use the crane.

  • How are you accounting for the crane?

The kind of financial agreement you have created impacts how the crane is accounted for on the balance sheet. It applies mainly to the operating leases and depends on the arrangement where the crane might be considered an asset for the operating expenses.

Locating the best crane financers

With the rapid advancements in the world of the Internet, it is very easy to locate the right crane financer for your business.

There is also a great chance for your bank to do at least a bit of crane financing, which is generally the case for banks with the best rate and highly stringent qualifications.

With several online lenders available, things may get a bit trickier. Several institutions are not offering crane finance options, which is not true for a crane finance installment loans or lease to own the equipment.

Alternatively, a couple of online lenders are dealing exclusively in crane financing. Either way, ensure that you understand what the type of lease or loan you are up signing for is. Several third-party crane financers are selling used cranes returned to them by their previous lessees. 

The final option is to deal with the captive lessor while these vendors offer in-house financing on the crane you acquire.

Final Thoughts

Generally, leasing is the ideal option for a crane that needs to be upgraded regularly, and the loan is the best option for your crane to last a long time and retain its usefulness.

Remember that you are not restricted to conventional lease terms, with invoice factoring and lines of credit being the common financing required for the crane if you cannot pay out of pocket.

Irrespective of whichever path you pick for financing your crane, get the math done and go through the contract ensuring the term is working for your business!

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