Leasing equipment rather than buying it can often be better for your bottom line, but it is important to read the fine print and weigh up all the factors before signing anything.
Above all, shop around and compare deals.
Below is a checklist of the most important factors to consider.
|Is the initial term of the lease and the amount and timing of rental payments clear?|
|Do the terms of the lease provide an option for renewal and if so on what terms?|
|Are you allowed to sublease the equipment?|
|Who is responsible for maintaining the equipment? Will your maintenance costs be higher or lower than if you owned it?|
|Are you allowed to make any modifications to the equipment?|
|Who is responsible for ensuring the equipment conforms to any existing or future regulations it might be subject to?|
|What happens if the equipment is lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed? Does the lease specify what liability if any you would incur?|
|Who is responsible for insuring the equipment? To whom would any claims be paid?|
|Can you change the lease if your circumstances change?|
|Do the terms of the lease include a right to purchase, and if so on what terms?|
|Does the lease allow for premature termination, and if so in what circumstances? What penalties, if any, does premature termination incur?|
|What costs will be incurred at the termination of the lease, and how much of this will you have to cover?|
This list is by no means comprehensive. There are many other potential pitfalls with leases such as warranty issues, regulatory requirements, taxes, license fees, and public liability.