Many medical and dental startups use equipment leasing to help manage their equipment requirements. But, it’s a valuable option for established companies too.
Healthcare equipment becomes outdated quickly, so your finance department must make necessary purchases to keep your facility up-to-date.
Leasing medical equipment is the obvious solution to make savings, as you won’t finish up with an obsolete lump of scrap metal that no one wants to buy from you.
Before considering financial solutions like this, your healthcare company needs to know how much medical equipment leasing costs.
Some types of medical equipment commonly leased by medical businesses, including doctor’s and dentist’s offices, hospitals, and clinics, include:
- Surgery tables
- Examination chairs
- Ultrasound devices
- X-ray machines
- Computers, workstations & EMR software
- Surgery equipment
- Medical office equipment
- MRI machines
- Medical laboratory equipment
- Medical imaging equipment
- Diagnostic equipment
How Much Does Medical Equipment Leasing Cost?*
First, remember that the average cost of medical equipment leasing includes how much the equipment devalues, not necessarily its capital value. Also, you can deduct medical equipment lease expenses from your taxes.
Fortunately, the definition of medical equipment includes all items conceivably used within a healthcare setting. These items include anything from MRI and X-ray machines to office furniture and employee uniforms.
So, the list of items you can lease is incredibly vast.
There are lots of factors at play when leasing equipment. Therefore, we’ve compiled some simple examples of rates to give you an idea of how much leased healthcare equipment costs.
Examples of rates
Generally, for every $1,000 of medical equipment you lease, expect to pay around $40-$60 monthly. For example:
- An item worth $10,000 will cost approximately $400-$600/month.
- A $25,000 machine costs about $1,000-$1,500/month.
- Items worth $400,000 cost $16,000-$24,000/month.
You also have to consider the lease length when calculating monthly payments.
|Equipment Value||Lease Length||Monthly Payment|
*This table shows approximate and estimated monthly payments for various equipment values over three different lease lengths.
However, accurate monthly payments depend on multiple factors such as the vendor’s profit policy, your credit score, the type of equipment, buy-out options, and other additional factors. We’ll look at these and more in the next section.
If you want accurate figures, ask your vendor for a quotation based on your company’s circumstances.
Factors Affecting Medical Equipment Lease Rates
Lease rates for your healthcare equipment vary with several factors.
Medical equipment varies from small, relatively affordable items to large, expensive devices costing millions of dollars.
It goes without saying that the equipment’s value affects the lease rate.
Most medical equipment leasing companies offer new and used equipment ranging in price from a couple of thousand dollars to a few million.
To make the payments affordable to both startup and mature companies with varying amounts of money at their disposal, leasing companies offer contract durations of varying lengths.
Usually, contract lengths vary from 12 to 60 months (although some companies provide lease durations up to 84 months), with payments ranging in size according to the lease length.
Many leasing companies offer payment options more appropriate to medical equipment.
These options can result in either higher or lower monthly payments:
- 100% finance with zero down-payment – higher charges.
- Down-payment, with balance split across lease contract duration – lower payments.
- Inclusive shipping, installation, and training costs are included in the monthly price – higher charges.
- Some companies require security deposits, while others ask for the first and last lease payment as an up-front fee – lower payments.
- Contracts offering deferred payments – higher payments.
- Seasonal payment fluctuations – regular variable payments.
- Step up or step down payments – variable payments across lease duration.
- Buy-out option for a nominal sum when the lease expires, often as little as $100-$200 – higher payments.
As with any borrowed loan, your company’s credit history significantly impacts the lease rates it pays for the healthcare equipment.
If it has a poor credit history with a low score, expect to pay a higher interest rate with correspondingly higher monthly payments.
Other factors such as training, installation, shipping, and maintenance, are sometimes included in the monthly payments.
Additionally, some companies offer a buy-out option where you can purchase the equipment during or at the end of the lease for an additional nominal sum.
These other extras result in higher repayment amounts than payment plans that keep these factors separate and optional.
There are two available options when your company decides to lease medical equipment.
This method allows your company to defer paying the agreed payments until after you’ve used the equipment for an agreed time.
Typically, the standard deferred payment duration is 90 days. However, some leasing companies offer deferred options of up to 12 months.
Step-down & Step-up Payments
An alternative method of payment offered by some lease companies is one using step-down payments. This method decreases the size of your charges over the lease contract duration.
Alternatively, step-up payments, a less popular method, increase prices during the lease duration.
Is it more cost-effective to lease or own medical equipment, and why?
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association suggests that over 80% of American companies lease rather than purchase equipment to improve their business model.
Generally, leasing medical equipment for all types of healthcare facilities is a practical and cost-effective alternative to purchasing.
The system allows you to:
- Save cash.
- Enjoy many tax benefits you would lose if you bought the equipment.
- Upgrade your equipment before it becomes obsolete, as often occurs with healthcare technology.
Let’s consider the benefits and disadvantages in more detail to discover if leasing is more cost-effective:
Medical equipment is generally expensive and requires a large payment upfront when purchasing. Instead, if your credit score is satisfactory, leasing only requires a contract agreeing to monthly payments over an agreed number of months.
Thus, your business enjoys a much better cash flow with more money for other investments.
Federal tax laws consider leased equipment a tax-deductible expense. All medical businesses can set these expenses against their income, lowering their tax burden and effectively lowering the cost of the leased equipment.
Depending on your company and the lease terms and conditions, you should be eligible to deduct depreciation in a single year under the federal tax rule Section 179. Ensure that your tax advisor knows about this.
We all know that medical knowledge advances continuously, taking its technology with it. Therefore, medical equipment purchased a few years ago is probably already obsolete.
Unfortunately, if you bought the kit, you made a significant investment and are now stuck with it for many years. And when you come to upgrade, no one wants to buy a pre-used piece of scrap many years out of date.
However, by leasing, you can regularly exchange it for the latest technology whenever new equipment becomes available. And we all know that modern, up-to-date medical equipment saves lives.
Generally, leasing companies offer the option to upgrade or exchange your equipment for alternatives before the contract expires. Usually, this exchange attracts an additional fee, but the facility is available if you need it.
Also, when your equipment’s contract expires, the options include:
- Returning the equipment
- Upgrading the equipment
- Purchasing it at a reduced cost
- Going to another leasing company
Installation, Training & Maintenance
Your company is responsible for the maintenance and repair of leased medical equipment, and you can sometimes use your in-house technicians if they are qualified and your contract allows it.
However, the leasing company prefers to use approved companies to handle equipment maintenance, and you might break the terms of your lease if you don’t use the preferred company.
So, read the contract carefully and understand what you’re buying. The agreement might include maintenance fees in the monthly payment, or you might have to sign an additional agreement on top of the lease.
Contracts often include training and installation fees in the overall cost, as it’s in the lease company’s interest to have the equipment running efficiently from the start.
Most leasing companies handle more than one type of equipment or use multiple manufacturers.
Therefore, you can tell their agent your requirements, and they will discuss the pros and cons of various models before buying. Thus, it saves you valuable time doing unprofitable research.
However, even if the lease company saves you many days of research, check whether the chosen device delivers what you want before signing the contract. And, when you’ve made a decision, turnaround time is usually quicker with a lease.
All you do is complete a form, the company makes a few quick checks, and you have a decision in a matter of hours.
Unfortunately, leasing has disadvantages too:
Usually, leasing is more expensive over the long term than purchasing. You pay the lease company for the privilege of not using your company’s capital.
Not every piece of medical equipment becomes obsolete quickly. Therefore, purchasing outright might be more advantageous if you want to use one of these.
Whichever road you take, it’s always a good idea to look at both options and make an informed decision, just in case there are added benefits.
What is the average interest rate of equipment lease?
Typically, lease rates for healthcare equipment are flat fees paid monthly over the lease contract period. The payments don’t change unless written into the initial contract.
This makes other costs such as repairs an extra expense paid separately by your company.
However, depending on the equipment, the dealer may have repair and upgrade options to which you can subscribe.
The equipment’s average leasing interest rate depends on the lease size, your payment history, and your credit score. It also depends on the size and type of your business and your location.
However, lease companies generally accept the following interest rates:
- For equipment priced at less than $100,000, the finance rate can be anywhere between 8% and 20%.
- For larger equipment costing over $100,000, the rate is between 6% and 8%.
What type of cost is the equipment lease?
Usually, medical equipment leases are considered Operating Leases.
According to the Federal IRS website, an operating lease allows the lessee (your company) to treat the payments as operating costs rather than capital costs because you pay for the use of the equipment but don’t benefit from owning it as a company asset.
Therefore, your tax accountant can deduct the cost of the operating lease from your company’s operating revenue.
What is the difference between equipment leasing and rental?
To understand the difference between equipment lease and rental agreements, you must first look at the definition of each, as they affect your company.
- Lease agreements allow your company to use the equipment owner’s property for an extended period. You take on the maintenance responsibilities.
- Rental agreements allow your company to use the equipment for an open-ended (usually short) period. You do not take on maintenance responsibilities.
From this fundamental difference, we can show other comparisons, better illustrated in the table below:
|Leasing Agreement||Rental Agreement|
|The contract allows your company to use the equipment for an extended period.||The contract allows your company to use the equipment for a shorter open-ended period.|
|A leasing contract is for the long term.||Usually, a rental contract is for the short term.|
|Lease contract for a fixed extended term.||A rental contract is for an open-ended duration.|
|Your company pays monthly installments for the lease.||Rent is paid monthly or quarterly for the use of the asset.|
|Maintenance is your company's responsibility||Maintenance is the equipment owner's responsibility.|
|Lease conditions are fixed once the contract's signed||The equipment owner can change the agreement at any time.|
|When the lease finishes, the owner offers your company a purchase deal.||The owner doesn't offer a purchase deal.|
Many kinds of costly medical equipment become obsolete before reaching the end of their useful lifespan. Usually, it’s difficult to re-sell used medical equipment because everyone wants state-of-the-art devices to maintain their company’s competitiveness.
Therefore, an outright purchase is often not a cost-effective way to acquire equipment for your healthcare company.
The obvious solution is to take advantage of affordable medical equipment leasing prices and have the option to upgrade or exchange healthcare equipment before it reaches its end of life.
As an added advantage, if you use leased assets, you attract useful tax and cash flow advantages compared to capital purchases.
However, finding companies specializing in leasing medical equipment can be challenging if you don’t know where to start.
Therefore, complete the form on this page, and we will forward your requirements to reputable companies that offer medical equipment leasing quotes based on your needs.
Then, you can take your time selecting the option that best matches your company’s budget and business model.