Last month we reported in our post “Tablets Quickly Becoming Primary Computing Device” that Forrester Research is predicting by 2016 there will be 760 million tablets in use globally representing a 46% compound annual growth rate. We are back today to report that in the last 30 days we have leased 3550 iPads vastly surpassing our leases on any other single computing device for the same period. What are you seeing in your business or school?
With schools now getting out the official first day of summer can’t be far behind. Along with summer comes vacation and the decision of whether it be a staycation or a trip away from home. If you haven’t made your vacation plans yet you are not alone according to Lisa Poirot, editor of FamilyVacationCritic.com. According to a recent survey by the site, 41 percent of families have not yet made their plans.
Here are some ideas on how to get the best deals.
Best Dates for Summer Travel. The least expensive dates for summer travel are the weekend before Labor Day weekend which falls this year on August 24-26. Historically, according to an analysis by Travelocity, this is the cheapest airfare of the summer since many families are getting ready for school and a number of schools are already back in session by then. If you can’t travel then, also take a look at making vacation plans June 22-24 or July 20-22. The most expensive dates to travel next to Memorial Day weekend are the weekends bookending the Fourth of July.
Cutting Theme Park Prices. Popular theme parks are going up in price but if you take some time to do the research ahead of your arrival you should be able to score some deals. Here’s how:
- Buy tickets online
- Use social media sites, especially Facebook and Twitter, to track deals
- Consider buying a season pass
- Check for special during off peak hours
- Check out groups you belong to for member discounts (AAA, AARP, employers, alumni associations)
Landing Cheap Airfare. It has gotten tougher to get a good deal on airfare but with a little work it’s still possible. Here are some tactics to use to land the best deal:
- Book travel on Tuesday afternoons three months out if possible
- Use Bing Travel and Airfarewatchdog to set fare alerts
- Use airfare comparison sites like Kayak and FareCompare.com
- Be flexible on traveling dates –Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays are cheapest
- Compare fees charged on checked bags and seat selection
Credit Cards for Making Summer Travel More Affordable. Another way to stretch your summer budget is to look at who is offering the best initial bonuses according to Card Hub’s most recent Credit Card Landscape Report. Card Hub compared more than 1,000 credit card offers and rated the following cards the four best:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred. Consumers receive 40,000 bonus points for taking out this card and charging $3000 on it for the first three months.
- Pen Fed Platinum Rewards. If you plan to be behind the wheel this summer this card is rated as the “best gas credit card” on the market. Why? The card offers 25,000 bonus points for the first $1000 spent in the first three months.
- Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card. This card offers 40,000 bonus points after your first purchase and 20,000 more after you have charged $3000.
- British Airways Credit Card. With more than 17% of US consumers planning a trip abroad this summer this card might be able to help them put a dent in the airfare cost. This card provides 50,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and the potential for even more depending on how much you use the card.
Quick word of warning though, make sure you read our post “The IRS May Come Calling” before signing on the dotted line.
Michael Lockwood, President of TEQlease Capital, wrote an article for Up and Running Blog that was published today titled “8 Ways to Clean Up Your Business Credit Report”. We are including an excerpt from that article below.
A complete and accurate business credit report is like a gourmet meal to a loan underwriter. Your business credit report is important for your company getting a business loan, because it tends to verify the information provided in your credit application and business plan. Much like a personal credit report, unless it is managed the business credit report is often inaccurate, incomplete and it presents your company in a poorer light than it should. If you want to maximize your chances of getting your business approved for a business loan or equipment lease, ensuring that the get a copy of your business credit report is accurate and complete should be done very early in the process. In fact, why not do it now?
Business credit reports are sold to the credit underwriters employed by lenders and equipment lessors. Dun & Bradstreet is the largest supplier of business credit reports, but it is by no means the only one. The data that goes into the business credit report comes from a lot of different public and non-public sources: lenders pool business credit information on a voluntary basis and public information is obtained and synthesized from sources like the State Secretary of State or the Division of Corporations. But don’t trust that the available information is accurate – take the responsibility to verify the information, and then add as much information as possible.
The first step of course is to get a copy of your business credit report. No need to pay for the report – you can get one for free from any provider, and you can modify the information (within limits) either online or over the phone. We recommend doing it online. Once you have the business credit report, verify it or correct it, following these tips:
- Make sure the business credit report accurately shows the business name, and any trade styles (DBA’s)
- Verify the physical business address, and include your website address
- Look at the payments score in detail. Is it accurate? Does it accurately show payment promptness? If not you can challenge an entry that shows the payment was paid later than it was, but be prepared to be able to prove the details.
- Is ownership of the business accurately explained, and does the business credit report properly show the business entity type (partnership, LLC, corporation), and time in business?
- The business credit report allows you to add the name of the officers of the company, the title and business function, and some work experience.
- It also provides for entries for the history of the company, and any recent company events, such as a move to a new location, a change in ownership, etc.
- You can decide whether to add financial information about the company, but remember that you will be making sometimes sensitive information available to everyone
- The business credit report will show liens, lawsuits, and loans. Make sure this information is accurate.
Managing your business credit report is a good practice. Calendar a follow up in a year to revisit the business credit report to check any changes and add new information.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Oak Mountain Winery, located in Temecula, California, has recently secured equipment lease financing through TEQlease Capital for new champagne tanks and will also be adding new bottling equipment. With the new equipment in place, Oak Mountain Winery will be expanding their winery business even further and will be offering their winery manufacturing services to three local wineries. You can learn more about the wines they offer at http://www.oakmountainwinery.com/.
By 2016 there will be 760 million tablets in use globally representing a 46% compound annual growth rate, Forrester Research forecasts in their just published report “Tablets Will Rule the Future Personal Computing Landscape.” That’s pretty dramatic growth considering that in 2011 56 million tablets were sold.
Why the rapid growth in the tablet market? According to Forrester’s Frank Gillett, “Tablets aren’t the most powerful computing gadgets. But they are the most convenient.”
They have longer battery life and always-on capabilities better than any PC — and will continue to be better at that than any ultrathin/book/Air laptop. That makes them very handy for carrying around and using frequently, casually, and intermittently even where there isn’t a flat surface or a chair on which to use a laptop.
And tablets are very good for information consumption, an activity that many of us do a lot of. Content creation apps are appearing on tablets. They’ll get a lot better as developers get used to building for touch-first interfaces, taking advantage of voice input, and adding motion gestures.
Forrester goes on to forecast that by 2016 one third of all tablets will be purchased by businesses and we will “see a very different computing landscape, with tablet adoption having had a dramatic impact on PCs.”
These predictions are probably not a surprise to many small businesses and schools that are already using tablets for many of their business functions. The Street recently reported on the growing using of tablets by small businesses in their article “Why Every Small Business Needs an iPad”. According to Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing at j2 Global:
Credit card processing off a mobile device is a great way to be able to do business in a variety of different settings. Using the camera in the device to be able to do both taking pictures and video. For someone who has remote offices, video conferencing can be a fantastic way to maintain contact with customers or employees. Using the camera is also great way to do documentation; essentially it serves as a scanner that can document insurance claims or for interior designers to be able to take pictures of different environments.
What questions do you have about leasing tablets for your business or school? Please contact us and we will walk you through the options.
The last four years have been tough on the tree care industry, but as consumers and businesses begin to return to spending, it’s a good time for tree services companies to take stock of their equipment needs and financing options to make sure they are primed for the return of discretionary expenditures. With limited budgets during the Great Recession, many tree services companies have delayed capital expenditures for high ticket items including wood chippers, stump grinders, ground units, aerial chip dumps, and telescoping tree trimmers. However, with a pretty consistent flow of positive economic news for both consumers and business, we see this changing in 2012.
If you are also considering acquiring new equipment, and want to conserve available cash, leasing may be an appropriate solution. However, before finalizing the purchase or lease of needed tree services equipment, I recommend that companies carefully consider the following 12 tips so they don’t make any costly mistakes.
- Understand your business credit and organize your financial information before contacting an equipment lease financing provider. Make sure you understand your credit score, your business financial picture, and any discrepancies that might be on your personal credit report or Dun & Bradstreet business credit report.
- Do the math and determine whether the Section 179 deduction and bonus depreciation will benefit your business or not. Section 179 allows businesses to deduct the cost of qualifying businesses equipment placed in service in 2012 up to $125,000. In 2013, the deduction will drop significantly to just $25,000 unless Congress acts. Also, get advice from your tax advisor about the acquisition.
- Determine whether equipment purchases should be made in cash, or whether lease financing makes sense to conserve capital. Do a lease-versus-buy analysis.
- Don’t assume your bank or the equipment manufacturer’s captive finance company will offer the best terms. The majority of equipment leases are done by equipment lease providers, and often at better pricing. Always compare rates, lease terms, fees and options.
- Do due diligence on your proposed financing provider. Once you have a short list of providers make sure to check them out thoroughly. Go to Google and run a search on them. Also run a search on social media sites like Twitter. Work only with established financial solution providers.
- Don’t pay upfront “application” fees to a bank or equipment financing provider.
- Be prepared to explain in advance any negative business results to a lease financing provider. For example, if you had a business loss in 2010 explain why. If you recently won a major contract, explain that too, even if the new business hasn’t yet affected your business results.
- Understand the difference between a Fair Market Value Lease and a $1 Purchase Option Lease. A Fair Market Value (FMV) Lease is one of the most common leases that businesses select because it offers the lowest monthly payments, provides the greatest flexibility at the end of the lease, and may also provide tax incentives. A FMV lease is often used for acquiring technology equipment. On the other hand, a $1 Purchase Option Lease gives businesses the ability to “purchase” equipment for a $1 at the end of a leasing period. The monthly payments are higher than a FMV lease. In addition, you may have additional financial benefits including depreciation and/or interest expense benefits for tax purposes under either scenario.
- Describe to the equipment lease financing provider how the equipment acquisition will benefit your business. Provide a projection of cost savings or incremental realizable margins if you have one. Obviously there is a reason why you want to acquire new equipment. Make sure your equipment lease financing provider understands exactly what this reason is.
- Consider bundling multiple equipment acquisitions from different vendors under one lease with an independent commercial equipment lessor. Rates tend to be higher for smaller transactions. Bundling equipment acquisitions generally results in lower rates, is simpler to administer and account for, and also minimizes processing fees.
- Ask your equipment vendor for payment terms so you can defer a portion of the equipment cost, and coordinate deposits, progress payments, and performance retention payments. Most equipment vendors will ask for a downpayment, with the balance due either at delivery or with ten to thirty days after delivery.
- Be careful of earnest money payment requests. An earnest money payment is sometimes required equal to a fixed amount or one month’s rent as a refundable application fee. The earnest money payment can be called an application fee, deposit, due diligence fee, etc. If the lease transaction is approved, the earnest money payment is applied to the first or last rental payment due under the lease. If the lessor declines the lease transaction, the earnest money payment is refunded, but sometimes, if specifically agreed in the lease proposal, a small portion of the earnest payment may be retained as an application or processing fee. Not all lessors require an earnest money payment.
U.S. companies are ramping up borrowing and signed up “ $5 billion in loans, leases and lines of credit in February, 22 percent more than the $4.1 billion a year earlier” according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA). Much of that new spending is concentrated on technology. With increased interest in replacing aging equipment and acquiring new technology to increase productivity, many businesses are researching equipment leasing to stretch their budgets further.
If your company is one of them, there are five things you need to know before signing a master lease agreement.
- A master lease agreement is a governing agreement that may include a number of equipment schedules under it. It can be viewed as an umbrella agreement that a company leasing equipment may use to acquire additional equipment over time with the same lease funder without having to execute a new lease each time.
- Under each master lease agreement, there is a separate equipment schedule agreement that lists equipment leased, terms of the lease, pricing of the lease per equipment schedule, and end of lease options. If a company acquires equipment at two separate times for example, there would be two separate equipment schedules but only one master lease agreement.
- The end of lease terms on the separate equipment schedules that fall under a master lease agreement may be different.
- All the other terms –except end of lease– of the master lease agreement are incorporated into the equipment schedule.
- Once a master lease agreement is in place, a company does not need to renegotiate terms with a lease funder each time it adds a new equipment schedule to the master lease agreement. A master lease agreement speeds the process of acquiring equipment.
If you have any questions regarding a master lease agreement and whether it is right for your company please contact us.
Regardless of high gas prices, U.S. consumers are more confident about the economy than they have been since late 2007, according to the latest consumer survey by Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan.
The survey also reported that more households are describing the most improved financial situation in the last four years and are the most optimistic about employment prospects. Perhaps even better news for businesses, the data from the survey indicates “inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditures can be expected to grow by 2.3% in 2012.” Consumer spending drives two-thirds of the economy.
The U.S. Commerce Department also weighed in and said “personal spending rose by a bigger-than expected .8% month over month in February, the largest monthly rise since July.”
All the upbeat consumer news is tempered by a warning from the survey director Richard Curtain, “Gas prices of $4 are no longer shocking, if they approached $5, the impact would be widespread and substantial.”
TEQlease Capital is very pleased to announce we have recently secured more than $1 million in lease financing for one of California’s largest poultry farms to use to acquire cage-free hen housing. With this lease financing in place, the poultry farm will be able to more than double its egg production, thereby increasing its profits and expanding its ability to supply organic eggs to one of the nation’s largest food retailers. In addition, with its state of the art cage-free system, the poultry farm now not only meets but exceeds California’s Proposition 2 law mandating humane standards for farm animals, and it has met the requirements of the law well ahead of its 2015 deadline.
If the launch of the iPad didn’t cause enough of a stir with predictions of the imminent demise of the personal computer, Gartner recently announced, “the reign of the personal computer as the sole corporate access device is coming to a close, and by 2014, the personal cloud will replace the personal computer at the center of users’ digital lives.”
Questions to think about include how will this impact your business, the products and services that you deliver, and whether your business will be ready?
According to Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, “Many call this era the post-PC era, but it isn’t really about being ‘after’ the PC, but rather about a new style of personal computing that frees individuals to use computing in fundamentally new ways to improve multiple aspects of their work and personal lives.”
The consumerization of IT has been taking place for nearly a decade. However, Gartner believes the next wave is starting to place as the following factors come together:
- Users are more technologically savvy and have very different expectations of technology.
- The Internet and social media have empowered and emboldened users.
- The rise of powerful, affordable mobile devices changes the equation for users.
- Users have become innovators.
- Through the democratization of technology, users of all types and status within the organizations can now have similar technology available to them.
How will your business respond?