Equipment Acquisition: Buying New Vs Buying Used

This blog post is going to begin a 3-part series on the topic of buying new vs buying used equipment. Equipment acquisition is a big deal for businesses. Whether you are in the restaurant business, the construction industry, auto repair, printing, security system installation, etc.—it is important for your organization to have what it needs to be successful. You can’t run a restaurant without a dishwasher, and you can’t run an auto repair shop without the right tools.

Old vs New At Equipment Street, we offer our members the ability to buy or finance new and used equipment but as the buyer you need to consider the are pros and cons of each option.  In the end, you’re going to have to find a way to acquire what you need—but should you buy (or finance) new or used equipment?

Buying New

Buying new definitely comes with some upsides, though it also comes with its share of negatives. A lot of companies actually prefer to buy new if they can help it, as new equipment can usually be expected to have a longer life-span. You also know that new equipment has not been mistreated or neglected in the past, as it has never had another owner.

New OptionBut new equipment is also more expensive, and it can be more difficult to acquire because of this. Companies that simply cannot afford to buy new might consider buying at least some of their equipment used—especially if it is equipment that is not going to be utilized a lot. If the company policy is to only buy new and at times there are cash flow constraints, then utilizing lease or working capital financing is a good path to follow.

Here are the basic pros and cons of buying new.

Pros

  • New equipment usually offers you the latest technology
  • It typically  comes with a basic warranty plan
  • Sometimes, new equipment comes with after-market service included with the base price
  • It offers you the latest features which could deliver time savings or new revenue opportunities
  • You will know exactly where it has come from and essentially what to expect (you will know that it wasn’t scavenged from a flood or ‘fixed up’ so that it would just run long enough to sell, etc.)
  • It will generally last longer (you can expect more as the unit depreciates since you are acquiring it at the beginning of its life)

Cons

  • New equipment is typically more expensive
  • If you have limited funds, you might be required to compromise on brand selection if all that you are interested in is buying new
  • If you buy new equipment that is only going to be used once-in-awhile, you will have a pretty serious amount of money just sitting in one place when it is not being used—a cost that some companies can’t afford
  • If a new model or technology becomes available, it will be difficult to upgrade or transition due to your large investment in the existing piece of equipment
  • Limited ability to negotiate price discounts

Buying Used

Reburbished EquipmentBuying used is not without its upsides as well. Of course, there is also the ‘unknown’ element whenever you buy used. Unless it is a very special situation, you are generally not going to get any guarantee or extended warranty. The equipment might outlast even newer models, or it might break down in a week—so the unpredictability is also an issue.

On a good note, it could provide your business with what you need at a much lower cost—though it could also cost you more in the long run if it breaks down repeatedly or causes you delays in production. All in all, buying used is very situational. It can work out well, though is usually not the first option that companies like to consider.

A Quick Note On Refurbished Equipment

Refurbished EquipmentIt is important to note that there are a lot of dealers and manufacturers out there who also sell refurbished equipment. Refurbished equipment is different from equipment that you would label as used. Used equipment is generally equipment that you are literally buying from either a used equipment dealer or from a previous owner. It is usually untested, comes with no warranty, and is ‘as is’ for all intents and purposes.

Refurbished equipment, on the other hand, is equipment that is pre-owned but that has been “re-tooled” to be almost as good as new. It’s normally put through rigorous testing, comes with a warranty, and also usually comes with a condition report that will tell you specifically where the item has been, what parts have been replaced, how often it was maintained, etc.

Buying refurbished is, for all intents and purposes, basically the same as buying new from an equipment quality perspective. The cost is usually lower on refurbished items than it is on newer items, though you can expect to pay more for refurbished equipment than for equipment that is just ‘used’, or ‘as is’.

Here are the basic pros and cons of buying used.

Pros

  • Buying used equipment is less expensive
  • It can enable you to buy more equipment using  less capital
  • It is usually not as difficult to obtain since you might not need to get a loan for it
  • Some companies lease or even finance preowned equipment, which can save you money and, once again, make the acquisition process easier
  • You typically have more price negotiation power
  • Utilizing this type of purchase can help you meet short term equipment needs if you are in a limited cash flow position

Cons

  • Most used equipment typically doesn’t come with a warranty*
  • Theirs is a level of insecurity as to how long the equipment will last
  • There is no way of knowing where it has been or how it was treated before (it could have been left out in the rain for a month, etc.)*
  • Even if the tool or piece of equipment looks good on the outside, you could face an unexpected breakdown that isn’t covered by a warranty or maintenance guarantee*
  • Used equipment does not, as a general rule, last as long as new equipment

*These are not necessarily always true. If you buy refurbished, you will usually get a warranty, as well as a full condition report. You will also probably not be facing unexpected breakdowns that are not covered by a guarantee. Some dealers may provide some type of warranty on used equipment but it adds to the cost of ownership.

Of course, there is a lot more to this discussion—and we will continue it in the next blog post. Make sure to check back to read part 2 of our 3-part blog series on buying new vs buying used.

 

 

Merchant Cash Advance vs. Cash Flow Loan?

Which is Better Financing Solution for Your Business?

When it is time to purchase equipment for your business, deciding on the right payment strategy is a critical as making sure the equipment you are procuring meets your needs.  The last two posts discussed the pros and cons of merchant cash advances and cash flow loans. Today’s article compares the two products to help you get a better understanding of which lending solution may be best for your company.Loan Maze Image

At first glance, merchant cash advances and cash flow loans might look very similar. Neither requires a lot of credit, both of them are based (at least in part) on your daily revenue, and neither has a monthly payment. Both of them involve making daily payments instead of monthly payments, and both of them can provide you with a cash infusion for your business on short notice.

But that might be where the similarities end.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.

Payment Structure

Merchant cash advances are basically cash advances against future credit/debit card sales. Instead of making a monthly payment as you would with a bank loan, a small amount (generally 1% to 18% depending upon the terms of the advance) is deducted from every debit/credit card transaction. This is continued until the advance (and the interest) is paid off. There is no due date—just a percentage subtracted from every electronic transaction.

Floating Dollar Sign ImageA cash flow loan, however, is different. It does have fixed payments, though they are based on the expected cash flow of your business and are made daily instead of monthly. Many cash flow loan companies also offer a few payment-free months as a bonus.

Interest

Merchant cash advances are not technically ‘loans’. Instead, they are categorized as ‘a purchase of a percentage of future profits’. Still, with that being said, you will need to pay back a larger sum than was advanced—which is where you get the ‘interest’ amount. These types of advances can sometimes have equivalent interest rates that range from 60 to 200% APR.

Cash flow loans, however, offer much more affordable interest rates. These rates are typically somewhere between 12 and 15%, depending upon the term of the loan.

Payments

Payments for merchant cash advances are not fixed and they have no due date. Repayments are accomplished whenever you process a credit/debit card transaction. Of course, some merchant cash advance companies might be willing to take a lower percentage from businesses with lower profit margins, such as grocery stores—though for the most part the amount deducted from electronic transactions will be based upon the amount of the advance and how many transactions you make each day.

Cash flow loans, on the other hand, have a fixed daily repayment plan and a set due date. Most of these loans are available in 6 and 12 month terms and operate a lot like a bank loan in most other respects—albeit without the difficulty associated with getting approved.

Fast Funds with Payment Plans for the Way You Do Business

Fast Funds ImageBoth of these options can provide you with much-needed capital on short notice, though there are definitely a few differences between them. If you are considering one of these options to finance that new oven for your restaurant or lift for your auto repair shop, it is probably because you have had some credit and/or collateral challenges that are keeping you from acquiring a bank loan. If so, then you are definitely on the right track. Another reason why you might be considering these options is because you need the capital sooner rather than later. Again, if this is the case, then you are on the right path by considering these options, though it is important that you really investigate and do your research before making a choice.

Figuring out which is better for you will really depend upon your situation, though there are a few things to keep in mind as you contemplate both where your business is now and where you want it to be. One very obvious difference between these two is in the equivalent interest. You are going to pay much, much less in the long run for a cash flow loan than you will for a merchant cash advance, which is why a cash flow loan is usually recommended first.

Of course, a merchant cash advance does not hold you to a regular repayment plan. But then again, if you have a particularly good month in terms of sales, you will also end up paying more. This will help to pay off the advance sooner, but it won’t give you much of a choice in how you allocate your extra funds.

A cash flow loan, on the other hand, gives you a small daily payment plan that is fixed. You know what it is going to be, and it won’t change. This makes it easier to allocate extra funds to different parts of your business without it effecting your loan repayments.

Some businesses find that merchant cash advances will simply put them into a loss situation due to the higher interest rates. Losing money is not good for any business, though you should also keep in mind that your situation might be different than that of other businesses—even in your same market or sector.

In the end, there is no substitute for some thorough research and self-evaluation. Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and ask yourself which option fits more in line with your plans for the future.

The Pros And Cons Of Cash Flow Loans

Is Cash Flow Financing a Viable Equipment Procurement Strategy?

Cash flow loans, which can also be called ‘cash flow financing’, are a type of loan with a fixed-price daily repayment plan. These types of loans are backed by expected cash flow instead of assets owned by the company. This makes a cash flow loan different from a bank loan because bank loans actually require collateral (or assets).  But with a cash flow loan, the asset that you are borrowing against is actually the expected amount of revenue that your business will generate in the future. Cash flow financing is generally easier to obtain than bank loans are, and can be a very helpful for getting needed funding for your business.

Business Money Whether your a restaurant buying a new stove, a retail store upgrading its security system or a auto mechanic shop buying a new lift… there is much to learn about how cash flow products can vary greatly.  Different cash flow loan providers may have slightly different terms and conditions, though you will generally find them to be relatively similar for the most part. Loan sizes may range from $5,000 to $250,000, and often come with 6 or 12 month terms. Interest rates for these terms may vary. You can expect to see rates of around 15% for 6 month loans, and 30% for 12 month loans. Depending upon the lender you select, certain fees may apply.  Payment for these types of loans is a fixed amount and is made daily (instead of monthly, as is common with most bank loans). The payments are generally debited from the company’s bank account.

Cash flow loans are often obtainable in a very short amount of time. In fact, many of the better cash flow financing companies can offer instant qualification and can have your funds in your bank account in less than two days. This makes them a much faster option than bank loans, which can take weeks (or even months) to finalize and fund.

Who can benefit from a cash flow loan?

Money QuestionsCash flow loans are best for businesses with busy storefronts or bustling online marketplaces that sell a lot of small-ticket items to customers on a daily basis. The funds obtained can be used for just about anything. They can be used to make payroll, to buy equipment, to fund a marketing campaign, to purchase supplies, or even to restock inventory.

Of course, it is important to take stock of your current situation before making a loan choice for your company. Whether you choose a cash flow loan, a bank loan, company (third party) financing, credit cards, or any other funding method, it is imperative that you know and understand your future goals and expected revenue to avoid making a choice that could jeopardize future success.

Pros and Cons of cash flow loans.

Money Pros and ConsHere are some basic pros and cons of cash flow financing.

Pros

  • Qualification is often instantaneous
  • Funding is generally completed in less than 2 days
  • Does not require ‘good’ credit
  • Does not require physical assets or ‘collateral’
  • Payments are paid in small daily increments instead of larger monthly sums
  • Accessible to businesses that might not have any other loan options
  • More affordable than merchant cash advance options

Cons

  • Generally require you to have been in business for a certain amount of time (they are, after all, based on cash-flow)
  • Most cash flow loan companies require that you maintain an average monthly bank-account balance of at least $3,000
  • Your business must be busy enough to make sales on a daily basis
  • Cash flow loans generally have higher interest rates than bank loans

Conclusion

In the end, choosing whether or not to get a cash flow loan depends entirely upon your situation. Maybe you have applied for a small business loan but were denied. Maybe you have looked into merchant cash advances but were put off by the higher interest rates and excessive costs. Maybe your business enjoys regular cash flow but does not have enough collateral on hand to get any other type of financing.

There could be many reasons to choose to use cash flow financing, though the importance of doing your homework and knowing your options cannot be overstated. The truth is that there are many, many different funding options out there. All of them offer different advantages, and some of them will be better for your situation than others.

Is a cash flow loan the very best choice for your business? Only you can know that for sure. If you have challenges with your credit, need capital quickly, or do a fairly regular amount of business, then there is a good chance that cash flow financing is an option that would at least be a good idea consider.

 

 

 

Understanding Merchant Cash Advances

What is it? What are the Pros and Cons?

When it is time to buy that new piece of equipment your business needs, a critical part of the purchasing process is the payment method you ultimately select.  Whether it’s an upgraded telephone system, a new lift for your garage or an oven for your restaurant, finding the right equipment is just one part of the procurement strategy.  This article discussing the merits of utilizing a merchant cash advance to acquire the equipment you are purchasing.  Like everything, there are upsides and downside to utilizing this option.    A merchant cash advance is not technically considered a ‘loan’. It is basically a lump sum of money paid to a business in exchange for a share of future sales.

How a Merchant Cash Advance Actually WorksMerchant Cash Advance

Let’s say that there is a business that needs an infusion of cash for one reason or another. Maybe they need to catch up on some bills, buy some equipment, renovate their workspace, expand to a new location, etc. (merchant cash advances can be used for virtually anything that has to do with your business).

Let’s say that this company tries to get a bank loan but is denied. Once they realize that their options are a bit limited, they might consider a merchant cash advance. In order to qualify for this type of cash payment, the business will need to be processing a certain number of credit card/debit card sales (generally at least $3,500 per month), will be required to have been in business for a specific amount of time (generally about a year), and will need to have no bankruptcies present on their credit record. Of course, there are a few additional terms—though in general they will have a good chance of getting approved if they can meet these.

Once approved, they will typically get their cash infusion within 7 days and will immediately begin making payments on it, though this is where merchant cash advances differ from more traditional types of loans. With merchant cash advances, businesses are not required to make monthly (or regular) payments at all. Instead, a small amount is deducted from each credit/debit card transaction and goes toward paying off the sum of the advance, plus interest. The amount of this deduction varies with the type of the loan and with the business, but it could range from 1% to as high as 18%. The exact amount depends upon the circumstances, the size of the advance, and on the business that is applying.

The major downside to merchant cash advances is how much they cost. They are available with little or no collateral and/or credit, but the equivalent interest rates range anywhere from 60% to 200% APR. This definitely makes them more costly.

Who Might Find this Type of Cash Advance Useful?Money Maze

According to an article published by Businessweek.com, there are over 50 different merchant cash advance providers, though not all of them are created equal. Some are definitely more ‘responsible’, and self-regulate to avoid scrutiny. One of the main problems that these types of businesses have faced is the ‘predatory loan’ stigma. Many people take one look at their high interest rates and see them as little more than glorified payday loans, though it is also fair to say that those with a stake in the industry would not classify what they do as a ‘loan service’.

The big difference between a loan and a cash advance is that a cash advance company will suffer a loss if the business goes under. Since they give out cash advances against future profits, they can’t collect if future profits are zero.

With that being said, there are many different types of businesses that could potentially benefit from them. Retail stores, restaurants, and service companies are examples of businesses within just a few of the different types of industries that are more likely to qualify for a merchant cash advance. Businesses that do larger volumes of credit/debit card sales are more likely to qualify for larger cash advances, as they are more likely to be able to pay the sum back (with interest) within 12 months.

Of course, one of the major benefits to a merchant cash advance is that they are based on your existing credit card sales. There are no monthly bills and no fixed payments. If you have a slow month, you pay less. If you have a busy month, you pay more. And once you pay it off, it’s gone.

Cash Advance Pros & ConsPros and Cons

Here are the basic pros and cons of merchant cash advances.

Pros

  • They require little to no established credit history
  • No monthly payments
  • No due date
  • Payments are based on your current cash flow… not an estimate that will require you to pay more per month than you might be able to afford
  • They can be obtained quickly

Cons

  • They are very ‘expensive’ when compared to options like cash flow loans or bank loans
  • You must already do a moderate number of credit/debit card sales every month just to qualify
  • New businesses, unless they have already really established themselves with a steady stream of revenue, might not be able to get approved
  • Fine print on the agreement can be extensive and restricting
  • Merchant cash advance companies are not bound by laws that regulate lenders (and in turn, interest rates), which can make some people uneasy

Conclusion

Merchant cash advances are definitely an option that businesses might consider, though you should always make sure to examine your current situation closely to find out what will work the best for you. The truth is that this option does have some negatives. These cash advances come with big price tags, though they can be a good option for people with no other way to get an infusion of cash quickly. Most agree that cash flow loans accomplish pretty much the same thing in a very similar way with a much lower cost—though again, it really all depends upon your situation.

Guide to Effective Equipment Purchasing Strategies – Part Two

This is part 2 of a 2-part article series in which we discuss the pros and cons of different payment options available to business owners when they are acquiring equipment for their businesses.  Whether you own a restaurant, an automotive repair shop, a legal firm or an exercise facility, the one commonality is the need to purchase quality equipment at an affordable price. Once you have invested significant time into assessing potential suppliers and equipment options, you will often find that a critical part of the procurement strategy is overlooked. This part can be summed up in one basic sentence.

Cash Question MarkWhat is the best way to pay for the equipment that you need?

Taking the time to assess your various purchase options can be one of the most critical steps in the process.  In the previous article we covered personal cash, cash capital, and company financing. Of course, every payment method comes with its own set of pros and cons, and different situations will call for different measures. What might be best for one company might not be a good option for another.  What drives this “best” purchasing strategy is dependent upon a wide variety of factors:

  •  The maturity of the business (years in operation)
  • The cash flow position of the company
  • Company credit strength and history
  • The corporate structure
  • Type of equipment being purchased
  • Bank covenants

With this in mind, it is important to take a good look at all of your options before moving forward. So now, continuing from our last article, let’s get started with option #4.

Option #4… You Could Use A Credit CardCredit Card Pile

Credit cards come with their own pros and cons. In a lot of ways, they are very similar to company financing. Credit cards can be a quick and easy solution to start-up costs, and can also serve as an interim funding option for companies that are waiting for a cash infusion of some kind. Of course, it is important to remember that all credit card companies have different interest rates, so you should make it a point to know exactly what you are going to be getting yourself into should you choose to use credit to fund your business equipment acquisitions. What will your monthly payments be? What kind of interest will you need to pay every month? How long will it take you to pay everything off?

Credit cards also require you to have at a clean credit history and it can be extremely difficult for start-up companies to qualify, especially if the principals of the business have little or no credit profiles.

Pros:

  • Can provide an easy way to pay for your equipment
  • Can be a great way to float your initial expenses before paying them down in cash
  • Can provide you a means for paying for your equipment when you might not have any other choice

Cons:

  • The interest can be brutal if you don’t get things paid off quickly
  • Relying too much on credit cards may leave you with very high monthly payments, which could stress your budget later on
  • Some people may not have enough credit to get everything that they need, rendering this option a bit useless

BankOption #5… You could get a loan from the bank

This might be one of the most common methods by which people outfit their businesses.  In today’s economy, obtaining a small business loan can be challenging.  If your business qualifies, this type of loan can be very reasonable in terms of monthly payments and interest. Of course, getting a small (or large) business loan will involve going to the bank and filling out a loan application. You may be required to submit a business plan, as well as various other pieces of financial information. The equipment may be used as collateral for all or part of the loan approval terms and conditions.  The process can be a bit labor intensive, though well worth the effort if you are in need of funding and if your company can meet the bank’s loan criteria.

All in all, there is a good reason for why this option tends to be one of the most popular. Bank loans are pretty straightforward, fair, and designed to be useful for everyone. If your business has significant financial strength and currently has a long standing bank relationship, this can be a very viable strategy to pursue.

Pros:

  • Bank loans are pretty safe and straightforward
  • Shopping around at different banks offers you the opportunity to find the best rates and terms
  • They may offer lower rates on interest than many other financing options

Cons:

  • The application process can be lengthy and a bit complicated
  • The approval-to-funding time can be extremely long
  • Preference is more often given to businesses that are already running. Small business start-ups might have a bit more trouble qualifying
  • It can be difficult to get banks to loan you the full amount asked for, which could leave you short and force you to seek out additional options

Option #6… Equipment LeasingLease Compass

Equipment leasing is becoming more and more popular as businesses look for better ways to obtain the equipment required to stay competitive while preserving their valuable cash at the same time.  The great thing about leasing is that it eliminates the need to come up with a large sum of cash to procure the equipment you require. It also makes it possible for you to get the best and newest equipment with basically no down payment. Leasing, unlike a bank loan, is also usually very convenient to get started with.

Often, credit decisions are made within hours instead of days.  Equipment financing contracts are typically only one page long—not the usual stacks of documents banks require you to sign.  You can also get access to the funds in a much more timely fashion as compared to bank-based financing.

Of course, leasing does have its downsides. With some leasing plans, you won’t actually own the equipment—though this could also be seen as an advantage. When your lease is up, you can trade for newer models or even choose to buy outright.

Pros:

  • The initial costs are lower
  • Allows you to more easily budget your equipment purchases
  • No collateral required to obtain financing
  • Leasing makes it easier to get access to the current models of equipment
  • When your lease is up, you can trade-in what you have for newer equipment
  • Rates are based on the credit strength of your company—the better the credit history, the lower the rate
  • Enables companies with challenging credit histories to obtain capital

Cons:

  • In the long run, leasing is more expensive than buying
  • Leasing does come with a contract, just like any bank loan or credit card purchase

Conclusion

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that you should examine every purchasing possibility carefully before committing to any specific option. Choosing how to pay for your business equipment is going to play a big role in determining your company’s success, so always make sure to check and re-check your options before deciding on a specific direction. Whether you buy or lease, always choose the option that is going to make the most financial sense for your business’s current stage of development.  Most important of all—take the time to think through your options. Weigh the pros and cons before you buy.

Guide to Effective Equipment Purchasing Strategies

Every business needs equipment. You cannot do business without the quality tools required to engage and satisfy your customers.   Whether you need computers, telephones, security systems, that new lift for your garage or the latest oven model for your restaurant, evaluating what you will need and your options for obtaining it are sure-fire steps in the right direction.  Finding the right dealer and the right equipment solution is no easy task, but figuring out how you are going to pay for what you need is going to be another issue that you are eventually going to have to deal with.

So how exactly are you going to pay for the equipment that your business needs? In this article, we are going to talk about the pros and cons of three different payment options. Exploring the ups and downs of different options before you jump into one of them could save you a lot of money and trouble down the road.

Alright, let’s get down to business.

Option #1… Using Personal Cash

Cash is an obvious payment method that most people will utilize if they have it available, though it is important to note that personal cash is different from cash capital owned by your business. If you are a sole proprietor, then there may not actually be much of a difference between the two—though in the vast majority of circumstances these are two very distinctly different things. Personal cash is cash that literally belongs to you, while cash capital is money that is technically owned by your business.Payment Options

Pros:

  • If you have the money just sitting around, this might be a good investment in your future
  • No interest, which to helps reduce overall expenses
  • No debt, which could be critical if you are trying to borrow a large some or meet specific bank covenants
  • The equipment is yours to keep for as long as you need it (or for as long as it lasts)

Cons:

  • You are taking a personal risk when you tap into personal funds
  • If the business doesn’t work out, that is money that you can’t really get back unless you can sell the equipment
  • Some people do not have this kind of cash lying around, making this option a non-possibility for them

Option #2… Using Business Capital

If your business has investors, has been injected with cash from one or more sources, or if you are cash-flow positive, then you probably have some capital on hand that you could use to buy your equipment or supplies with. Having money on hand may not be a luxury that every business can take advantage of, though it can be a very low-stress method for acquiring what you need. Of course, one of the downsides of utilizing your capital is that there is almost never enough at first to get everything that you would like to have. This can leave you, as a business owner, conflicted about how to spend the money. You may eventually come to decide that the cash could be better used elsewhere, though this mostly depends upon your situation.

Cash PaymentsPros

  • Allows you to purchase your equipment without creating debt
  • Allows you to purchase your equipment without incurring personal risk
  • No interest payments
  • No on-going monthly expense payments
  • Your business will own its own equipment outright

Cons

  • Not every business has available capital that it can use to purchase its equipment, making this an option that some will not have access to
  • In some cases, you might find that you will need to use what capital you have on other critical purchases
  • Equipment can, admittedly, take up a large part of your budget—making options like financing or leasing more attractive if you have limited funds

Option #3… Third Party Financing

Third party financing differs from a bank loan in that the financing is provided and administrated either by the equipment dealer directly or by a third party financing company that they have partnered with. Not all equipment dealers offer financing, though many of the larger ones do—especially on their larger items or on items that cost more than a few thousand dollars.

Company financing definitely comes with its own set of pros and cons. One of the best things about it is that it is easy to get and saves you the trouble of getting a bank loan. One of the negatives is that the interest rates might not be as good as those that you would get from the bank. On the plus side, it may be easier for companies to qualify for dealer or third party financing because they typically have more liberal credit parameters when compared to most banks.  Non-bank financing is usually much quicker, and this funding method also requires significantly less paperwork.  Most important of all, non-bank financing does not require you to use the equipment as collateral as part of the loan agreement.Loan Payments

It should also be noted, however, that company financing does not always mean paying more interest. Some companies offer highly competitive interest rates that not even banks can compete with—so it is important that you very carefully consider your options before signing off on anything.

Pros:

  • Allows you to acquire your equipment with minimal up-front costs
  • Saves you from the hassle of getting a bank loan
  • Serves as a definite option for those who do not have enough cash on hand to purchase their equipment outright
  • Makes it easier to obtain financing for companies with more challenging credit histories

Cons:

  • Rates will be based on the credit quality of your company
  • Will require monthly payments—a portion of which might be interest
  • Might not be as economical in the long-run as a bank loan (depending upon the company and on how good of a loan you can get from the bank)

We are going to continue this pros and cons list with three more equipment procurement options in another blog post, so make sure to check back!

Restaurant Fire Information and Prevention By Equipment Street

All About Restaurant Fires and How to Prevent Them

Working in a fast-paced restaurant can be exciting and exhilarating. With so much going on all the time, it is easy to work through your shift without ever feeling like the night is dragging on. Time goes by quicker when there is a lot going on, and a constant influx of new customers will always keep you on your toes. However, when the atmosphere of a restaurant gets rushed and crazy, it is also easier to forget or overlook things that could be potential hazards or dangers to both the employees working in the restaurant and the patrons enjoying their meal there.

Restauarnt Fire DangerOne of the most common workplace hazards when it comes to restaurants is the potential for fire. No commercial kitchen is immune to the danger of a fire, which could result in an untold amount of damage, both financial and physical. The cost of repairing your kitchen after fire damage can be extreme, not to mention the fact that you most likely won’t be able to open your restaurant while the renovations are taking place. For this reason, it is best to be aware of which areas of your kitchen have the highest chance of causing fires within your restaurant and the best ways in which to avoid those catastrophes.

Potential Hazards

Because most kitchens are powered by either gas or electricity, the chances for fire are relatively high. It is not too difficult to get a fire started using either of these forms or energy. However, there are certain areas where fires are more likely to occur due…which is where you need to pay the most attention to.

Open Flames

Open flames are probably the most obvious hazard when it comes to starting a fire. While most open flames are contained in one way or another, it could be easy for those flames to jump to other surfaces or catch different materials on fire. Loosely fitted clothing, like aprons or long sleeves, and hair can easily be left hanging over an open flame, causing those items to catch fire if contact is made.

 Grease Traps

When a grease trap gets more hot grease added on top of it, any debris that has previously fallen into the grease trap could be instantly heated up and cause a fire. Bits of food and even some paper products are likely to fall into the grease trap if the workers haven’t been vigilant about keeping their work areas clean. When boiling, hot grease comes into contact with these items after they have been soaked in grease, a fire could be started.

When there is a large amount of dust or other films on equipment or work areas, it is easier for that debris to catch fire. Cluttered storage areas and work spaces can easily spread fire if the materials filling those spaces are flammable and hard to get to when trying to put a fire out.

Kitchen Fire Danger Unclean Work Areas

When there is a large amount of dust or other films on equipment or work areas, it is easier for that debris to catch fire. Cluttered storage areas and work spaces can easily spread fire if the materials filling those spaces are flammable and hard to get to when trying to put a fire out.

Faulty Electrical Wiring

Keeping equipment in good working order is vital to preventing fires from happening. When wires are frayed or faulty, it is easy for those electrical parts to spark and catch things on fire within your establishment. These sparks create electrical fires, which can be difficult and scary to put out.

 How To Protect Yourself and Your Employees

Just because there is the possibility of fires starting in your restaurant and kitchen doesn’t mean you have to just sit back and let fate take charge of those chances. There is still a lot you can do as preventive measures in order to both prepare your employees to handle a fire situation and to prepare your facility so that it is less likely for fires to start in the first place.

 Regularly Clean Areas

One of the best ways to avoid having a fire start in your kitchen is to keep the areas clean. By eliminating materials that are nonessential to the cooking procedure, you will limit the amount of clutter around your establishment that could catch on fire. This cleaning process should include cleaning grill surfaces, grease traps, walkways, and other work stations. By doing this, food particles and grease—big fire perpetuating agents—are not just resting in work areas waiting to be ignited. Keeping work areas clean also allows employees and other visitors easy escape routes in the event that a fire does break out.

Clean and Quality Equipment MattersOnly Use Properly Functioning Equipment

By ensuring that your employees and kitchen staff are only using equipment that is working correctly and not damaged, you can cut down the chances of having electrical fires as a result of frayed or faulty wiring and power cords on equipment. If you do come across equipment that is defective, get it out of the kitchen as soon as possible. Not only could this equipment start a fire in your restaurant, but it could also harm your employees by electrocuting them. It is more cost effective to replace your worn out equipment before they cause damage to your facility than to wait for a blowout or fire to occur.

 Educate Employees on Proper Fire Procedures

Knowledge is power. If you show your employees that you value being aware of fire safety procedures, this will help them to be vigilant and prepared if the situation were to arise. Be sure everyone knows where fire extinguishers are located and any plans you have made for evacuation in the case of a fire. It is also important to train employees on how to put out small fires of different kinds. Make sure it is common knowledge to your workers not to throw water on grease fires; that will only make it worse. It is also important for your employees to know not to try to fight large fires by themselves. It is better to get out of the dangerous area and wait for help to arrive than to put yourself in even further danger by trying to handle the situation on your own.

If everything in your kitchen is functioning properly, you have employees with attention to detail and a knowledge of how to handle themselves and the facility in the case of a fire, and you have prepared your establishment to be as safe as possible, you should not have to always worry about fires breaking out in your restaurant. However, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to fire safety and the health of your employees, patrons, and restaurant as a whole.

 

Effective Restaurant Layout Tips By Equipment Street

Things to Consider for Your Restaurant’s Layout

The physical layout of a restaurant is one aspect most subconsciously noticed by customers. Although patrons of your restaurant are unlikely to complain outright about the layout and structure of your establishment, an ineffective layout creates issues with flow and ambiance that customers are very sensitive to. To ensure you are creating an atmosphere that is both productive for your employees and inviting to your customers, keep the following information in mind.

Inviting Restaurant Entrance The Entrance

Arguably the most visually important part of your restaurant is the entrance. The entrance is the area that makes the first impression on customers, both current and potential. If your entrance looks welcoming and friendly, people will be more likely to want to visit your establishment. There are a lot of options for decorating and designing your entrance in a way that both reflects the atmosphere and attitude of your restaurant as a whole. Consider corresponding types of lighting, outdoor furniture, shrubbery, signage, and other decorations for your specific restaurant when laying out your entrance.

The Waiting Area

A good waiting area will be large enough to accommodate those waiting to be seated in the dining room or bar area without overpowering the rest of your restaurant space. It will also be a type of funnel that ushers people into the areas of your restaurant where they can make purchasing decisions. One of the key things to keep in mind when laying out and designing the waiting area is to make it comfortable, but not as comfortable as the bar or dining room. The waiting area is a great place to get your customers excited about the dining experience they are about the enjoy. Creating a board of daily specials or discounts along with having copies of the standard menu nearby will create excitement in the customers about the food they will soon be eating.

 The Dining Room

Dining Room AmbienceThe dining room is the area where your customers will be spending the most time. But before setting up the seating in this area, make sure you check the fire code standards for your establishment so you are aware of how many people you can legally fit in your dining area. Once you have this information, you will be able to decide if you prefer booths or tables, private or open seating. Different people are more comfortable in different situations, so if you can swing it, it is best to try to have a little bit of everything. Places for large groups as well as areas for more private meals will be enticing to almost every diner. Just be sure that your dining room is comfortable for your patrons and functional for your staff.

The Bar

Depending on the type of bar you are planning to have in your establishment, you will probably want to have different goals for your bar area. If you want a full-service bar where patrons can get both food and drinks, your bar area should be just as comfortable and inviting as the dining areas. However, if your bar is strictly meant to serve drinks and possibly appetizers, you might want that area to have more of a laid-back feel. While many bar areas are slightly separated from the rest of the dining area, it is still important to keep the layout functional because most servers will be placing orders and picking up drinks from the bar.

The Kitchen

The heart of every restaurant is the kitchen. You as a restaurant owner know better than anyone what type of equipment you will need to have in your kitchen. But as you are acquiring this equipment, keep in mind that you will need to fit storage, people, and the equipment in the same room. Your staff will need room to move around comfortably and safely within the kitchen while still having everything they need in close proximity. The amount and type of food you are able to make in your kitchen will dictate a lot about what your restaurant becomes. Make sure your expectations can be met with the kitchen facility you equip your restaurantwith.

As for the layout of the kitchen with regards to the rest of your restaurant, this is largely dependent on how much of that space you want your customers to be able to see. Most restaurants keep their kitchen closed to customers; however, some restaurants have their allure in the customer’s ability to watch as the magic unfolds. Decide which of these camps you prefer and lay out your kitchen accordingly.

Storage and Administration Areas

You will need both storage areas and rooms in which you can do the administrative business for your restaurant. These rooms are best kept behind closed doors. While you might like the idea of having a very open floor plan for the rest of your establishment, keeping stored food or cleaning supplies in a place that isn’t visible is best for your clientele—there are some portions of your restaurant that customers don’t want to see. It is also a good idea to keep the storage area near the administration office so you can always be aware of any upcoming needs. This also helps to prevent theft or vandalism.

Appealing Restaurant RestroomsThe Restrooms

Do not underestimate the importance of having a classy restroom. One of the worst things customers can hear about a restaurant is that their restroom is unpleasant. Many patrons will use the restroom while eating at your restaurant, so don’t neglect it. Let your design theme travel from your dining room and into the styling of the restroom. Also, try to find a balance between having enough space for multiple stalls while still maintaining a large enough dining and kitchen space. Restrooms are typically found at the back of your restaurant, generally to either side of the kitchen.

When it comes down to it, you can lay out your restaurant whatever way you like. Just keep in mind that there are some locations that work better than others for certain spaces. If the space and design flows well throughout your entire establishment, that is one less thing you have to worry about when you have a full house.

 

 

 

 

 

Things to Consider When Opening a Pizza Restaurant

The restaurant field can be cutthroat, but you can handle the competition if you decide on a specific niche. Pizza is a great choice for a niche restaurant because of its popularity, but there is a lot to consider when opening one for yourself.  Though there are many pizza restaurants competing in the food industry, you can get ahead of the game simply by being properly prepared.

Location

Everybody loves pizza, which is why it shouldn’t be too hard to achieve a good client base. However, location can also play a hefty role in your client retention. You don’t want to locate your pizza restaurant too close to other pizza places. Even though your pizza might shine next to theirs, it can be very difficult for you to compete with their sales and prices.

You will want to be in a place where people will notice you. If you are located in a rural area, it may be perfect for your delivering services because it is close to those you deliver to, but people might not be able to see it very well because it is not in a high-traffic area. It’s a good idea to locate your pizza place on a busy street or near a mall in order to attract the attention of passersby.

Since it is likely that you will be offering a delivery service, you should also be close to areas that are well-populated with homes. People love to have their pizza delivered right to their door, and if you are nearby, you don’t have to drive as far, and they don’t have to wait as long for their pizza, encouraging them to come back for your services.

Make Good Pizza

gourmet_pizzaOne of the most important things you can do to open a successful pizza restaurant is to have excellent pizza recipes. Pizza’s popularity is both a blessing and a curse for your establishment. It can help you gain a client base because everyone likes pizza, but it can curse you because there are a lot of pizzerias to compete with out there. If your pizza is mediocre at best, you aren’t likely to attract much attention. Consider making specialty pizzas unlike other pizzerias in your area. You could specialize in deep dish pizza or New York style pizza. Just choose a specialty and then make it well. People will go out of their way for unique, amazing pizza.

Have a Unique Menu

Generally, a restaurant that sells only pizza is not quite enough to stay in business. You will want to try to make your restaurant unique by offering other menu items in addition to your amazing pizza. You could go for an Italian theme and offer pasta and a salad bar, or you could go more American and include such things as subs, hot wings, or even chicken strips.

It would also be a good idea to have a dessert menu. You can have a variety of dessert pizzas or breadsticks, or you could have a pie theme and make pizza pies for the meal and fruit pies for dessert. Whatever you choose to add to your restaurant, try to fit it into a theme so that everything fits together and doesn’t seem random. You can attract a lot of customers with a unique theme and menu items.

Prepare the Little Details

When you open your pizzeria, you can’t forget about the little things that will make your place run smoothly. First off, you will want to find a trusted food vendor to supply all of your ingredients. Look at reviews online or ask others in the pizza business to find a vendor you can trust. Before ordering from your vendor, take the time to plan and draw up your menu. You’ll also want to hire employees, of course, but before you do that, come up with some policies to ensure that they will use the equipment correctly and that your kitchen will run efficiently. Also, make sure you obtain the appropriate license for your restaurant. It would be a shame for your restaurant to fail because you overlooked some of the smallest details.

Pizza Restaurant Equipment

pizza_chefThe type of equipment you need depends largely on the type of pizza you make. You will probably want a pizza deck oven to accommodate all the orders you will be receiving. A deck oven allows you to evenly cook multiple pizzas, breadsticks, or other items at the same time, allowing you to keep up with orders. There are also pizza brick ovens, which are used if you want a special, home smoked flavor to your pizza. You could also purchase a conveyor oven, which has conveyer belts running through it at different speeds, ensuring that your pizza cooks evenly. This also allows you to cook multiple things at once.

Most importantly, make sure all of these items are commercial grade and big enough to accommodate your customer base. It may be difficult to find such equipment since commercial equipment stores are few and far between. Luckily, there are now online websites and selling platforms that allow you to find your equipment online quickly, easily, and affordably.

Once you have taken these things into consideration, you’ll be on your way to opening a successful pizza restaurant. Remember that to have your restaurant remain successful, you should continually pay attention to the small details, revise your menu, and, especially, keep your kitchen equipment updated. The more efficient your restaurant is, the more successful it can be. Your clients will be able to see the difference!

Customers and Restaurant Equipment by Equipment Street

Demonstrate the Value of Your Customers with High Quality Kitchen Equipment

Every restaurant owner knows that a successful establishment goes hand-in-hand with client retention. If customers get angry and leave, the restaurant suffers. Because so many factors are calculated into the cause of lost customers, it might be hard to pinpoint the exact cause. However, a good portion of their frustration with your restaurant could point back to the quality of your kitchen equipment. Worn down and outdated equipment can cause a number of problems, but if you have updated, well-functioning kitchen equipment, it can significantly improve your customer retention rate.

Improve the Speed of Food Preparation

high_end_ovenNothing makes hungry customers more upset than waiting an unnecessary amount of time for their food. When you have hungry customers in your restaurant, they need their food quickly, before their hunger turns into anger. This is sure to happen if your kitchen equipment is worn down. Out-of-date kitchen equipment can quickly depreciate in value and quality. For example, commercial ovens can either run too hot or lose heat because their insulation wears down or the door no longer seals properly. The result is either wasted time on remaking burnt food or on waiting for slowly cooking food.

Not only are slowed cooking processes a big issue, but as your oven loses heat, your kitchen gets hotter, making it even more difficult for your kitchen staff to work efficiently. Heat is proven to make reflexes more sluggish and the brain sleepier, so you are more likely to move slower and make mistakes. Updating your kitchen equipment will resolve this problem. If your equipment functions properly, your food will be done when and how it should be, and your kitchen staff can be at the top of their game.

Improve Food Quality

Chefs know that variations in cooking temperatures can easily ruin food. The more worn down your oven or stove is, the more likely it is to have a faulty temperature gauge. There is nothing worse than putting the perfect soufflé in the oven for just the right amount of time and discovering that it is darker on top than it should be. Your kitchen doesn’t have time to redo a soufflé, so your staff may have to deliver it to the customer, even if it is sub-par. There is no reason to deal with that kind of misfortune. Aside from hiring competent staff, the best thing you can do to provide the highest quality food possible for your customers is to update your kitchen equipment. It will mean no more settling on lower quality food. You can deliver the cuisine you promise at a quality patrons will love.

Improve Food Safety and Cleanliness

Old restaurant equipment can easily carry bacteria that you do not want anywhere near your food. Worn down restaurant equipment can be masked in filthy rust or caked-on grease that is ripe with bacteria and unpleasant particles. If you have this problem, not only could a visit from a health inspector shut you down, but you could also make your customers sick, opening the door to lawsuits and a huge decline in client retention. New and updated kitchen equipment eliminates this risk. With proper cleaning and maintenance of new equipment, you are guaranteed that bacteria and contamination will not get into your food because of old, filthy equipment. This significantly reduces liability, not to mention it increases the satisfaction of your customers. You can show your customers what they are worth to you with safe, clean food.

Improve Guest Comfort

quality_restaurant_furnitureJust as updated kitchen equipment is integral to the success of your restaurant, a comfortable dining area is equally important. If your booths are ripped or your tables wobbly, it significantly decreases the appeal of your dining room. Your restaurant may be noted for its good food, but many won’t want to venture into a shabby establishment to get it. That’s why updating your tables, chairs, hostess stands, bar, etc., is so important. With a higher appeal to your restaurant’s dining area, more people will be excited to eat there. They will recognize how much you value them and will want to return for both the food and the atmosphere.

Your customers are the most important part of your restaurant. If you want to show them that you recognize their importance, updating your kitchen equipment is the answer. You will be able to guarantee an all-around, more pleasant dining experience for your customers if you do.