Should You Buy or Lease Your Office Equipment?
Office equipment is the lifeblood of modern offices. The technology deployed is essential to workflow and productivity. Without periodic equipment upgrades, efficiency and quality of work can stagnate. Considering the equipment has turnover, there is an inevitable question. Is it better to buy your required office equipment periodically, or is it best to lease?
What Are the Benefits of Buying Office Equipment?
Buying office equipment entails making substantial purchases every few years. The equipment’s longevity depends on its purpose and quality, but these are multi-thousand dollar purchases in many cases. What makes such spending worthwhile?
For significant items like copiers, it is often a lower overall cost to purchase than lease. Copiers have a decent lifespan and don’t need regular performance upgrades. Printing itself does not experience the reinventions that other technologies realize. That longevity allows your copier to improve its ROI as it is used for additional years. Eventually, leasing costs overrun the purchase costs on these items.
When you own a device, you control it. You don’t have to worry about losing access to equipment if there’s a problem. You don’t have to wait for someone else to schedule repairs. You can determine your own upgrade schedule. You can do whatever you want or need to do with the equipment. For businesses that deal with rapid changes, the flexibility of ownership is invaluable.
Office equipment does not appreciate, and it should not be considered a primary source of capital. That said, the money you spend on owned machinery is money invested. In a pinch, you could try to sell or lease some of the equipment you own. The money spent on leased equipment is gone.
What Are the Benefits of Leasing Office Equipment?
Even if office equipment represents significant purchases, we all know that leasing agreements will absorb that cost. Since leasing may cost more money over time, what makes this option appealing?
Office equipment regularly gets into the thousands of dollars per purchase. Leasing spreads that cost out over a long period of time. If cash is short, leasing might be the only viable option.
This holds true for long-term budgeting. It’s easy to account for a permanent monthly leasing cost. If you have to purchase major equipment periodically, those are dramatic spikes in spending, and they can be unpredictable. If it is difficult for your business to hold that kind of liquid capitol, the stability of leasing may well be worth the overall increase in cost.
Taxes make everything more complicated. When it comes to deductions, office equipment sits in a strange space. You cannot deduct the purchase price of a copier and similar equipment. Instead, you can only deduct depreciation. This will be about 40 percent the first year and 25 percent each year after. When you lease, you can remove the entire leasing fee. It is a pre-tax business expense, and depending on how your business is set up, that deduction could ultimately save you money over the cost of buying your equipment.
Copier maintenance is a notorious source of frustration. When you lease, the maintenance is the responsibility of the lessor. You don’t have to pay for each repair or the machine’s replacement when it is no longer worth fixing. That said, you must understand the repair clauses of your leasing agreement before you sign a contract. Consider an uptime guarantee that suits your business.
Access to Enhanced Features
Leasing office equipment ensures access to state-of-the-art devices at an affordable monthly price point. Modern solutions provide a competitive edge to small- to medium-sized businesses, as they can leverage the latest technology and software solutions that large corporations rely on. Conversely, purchasing equipment outright may put your business at a disadvantage. From mobile printing to workflow automation software, your business can ensure streamlined, efficient workflows by leasing modern office equipment.
What’s Best for Your Business?
You have seen some pros and cons. Now it’s time to determine which matter most for your business. The following questions will help you prioritize your needs to make an informed decision as to whether you should purchase or lease this equipment. As you compare your options, remember one thing: this is not an either-or decision. You can purchase some items and lease others.
Every business is different. Are you better off paying for the copier upfront, or would you benefit from splitting that cost over the course of a lease? Do the tax advantages from leasing make enough of a difference to your business? Do you use a variety of equipment that needs to be upgraded every one to three years to ensure the availability of modern tools? The answers to these questions should convince you which option provides a net benefit.
Aside from costs, uptime is a serious consideration. Do you have the means to service your own equipment as needed? How much does downtime hurt your bottom line? How long can you reasonably wait for a repair to happen? How hard is it to budget for unexpected maintenance on your office equipment? These are all essential thoughts, as they directly align with the financial questions asked above.
These questions are arguably more critical than those regarding costs. How essential is the equipment for the business? Office equipment is vital for the vast majority of modern companies to ensure workflows and business processes are streamlined and met. When your equipment is crucial to your operations and success, downtime is unacceptable. As maintenance and uptime are included in leasing, your uptime is maximized with this option. Purchasing your office equipment requires supplemental budgeting for maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.
These general ideas and questions can get you started, but eventually, you need to compare some hard numbers to determine whether to buy or lease your office equipment. For an assessment of your Houston business’s unique needs and recommendations on the equipment that will match your budget, contact Stargel Office Solutions today.