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Is It Time to Add an Additional Covenant to Copier Leases?

 

It's common knowledge that I've been struggling with hitting my numbers for the last 8 weeks.  I should have expected a run like this since I had a run of 14 months that were above average.  Instead of saying "Why Me", I'd rather stick to "Why Not Me".

I had five appointments in the field today and that gave me a lot of windshield time and time to think.  Because of the pandemic and now the ensuing Delta variant I have at least 5-6 leases that are in renewal.  At this time I've not found a way to get those clients to upgrade.  In most cases it's easy to show the show the savings on the maintenance side in order to facilitate the  upgrade.  I have three clients that can save thousands yet they still won't pull the trigger and  are in rollover with month to month to month clause.

With most copiers leases there are four options at the end of the lease.

  • upgrade
  • purchase
  • return
  • don't return and don't buy, just keep renting on a month to month, or every two months and some leases will auto renew for 12 months

I would tend to think that most copier dealers that use leasing companies have these options in the lease.  The fourth clause can be different from each dealer and or leasing company.

I'm also aware that there are many dealers that have their own leasing companies and they may dictate the end of lease terms differently from what I've seen and what I use in the field.

Car Leases

I just looked up the terms of my car lease and at the end I have three options. One is to purchase the leased vehicle, upgrade to a new lease or return the car and walk away.  There is no rollover clause that I know of, however I have heard that some of the car manufacturers will grant a short term extension of the lease if needed.  Pretty simple stuff right?

Times Like These

We've never endured times like these before in our industry.  I've got five to six leases in rollovers and I can only imagine how many others are in the same boat as me.  It's times like these that make you think about those terms and conditions and if they could be changed to help facilitate upgrades in a more timely manner.

Rollovers

At some point in time these clients will pull the trigger on the upgrade but when you're struggling you tend to think that just maybe there is another option to add or takeway.  Most leases state if you don't exercise your option the lease will renew on a month to month, every two months and then some that have a 12 month rollover.  I've heard that some of the leasing companies will roll a portion of that rental back to the dealer.  So, that's great for the dealer but not so great for the sales person because they don't see any of that revenue. Thus good for the leasing company and somewhat good for the dealer.

What I Would Like to See

I'm not sure if I'll be around when the next pandemic hits, but it would make sense to me that a dealer may want to re-think the the fourth option of the roll over.  Now this idea comes from chats with many clients that have asked me about the end of lease options. When I get to option 4 which is the roll over some of the clients asked me if there is an additional cost for the device once the lease goes into the month to month. The reaction from the client is more like they thought there would be an increase at the end of the term.  Of course there isn't but what if there was?  Why can't the month to month rental double in cost or there is no month to month option and the equipment has to be purchased, upgraded or sent back.

If we had these additional covenants it would be a win for the leasing company (especially if the lease went to rollover at double the cost), win for the dealer and the sales person would have a much better chase of securing the upgrade at the end of the lease.

Again the only reason that this came to mind is my current situation but it does get you thinking and when you compare the end of lease options with a car it seems to be that they are better at protecting the upgrade process.

As my buddy @VinceMcHugh, just my two cents

-=Good Selling=-

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Comments (3)

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@copyme posted:

Great analysis Art. I have one account with two machines that are in this situation. Very frustrating. Leasing company is making out like a bandit and our dealership and I are seeing nothing out of it.

@copyme I hear ya!  In another couple of weeks the amount in rollover will be at 8 and no site of movement from any of them.  If I were KING I would be on the horn with the leasing companies ASAP to make changes

I feel you on this one @Art Post.  We've had more customers go month to month OR buy out their lease and now own the units.  While we're still getting service revenue and HOPEFULLY the opp to put a new device in when it kicks the can, you never know these days.  The sales rep gets a small kicker on a lease buyout but nothing like if it was a new deal, especially not the revenue credit.  In regard to the end of lease terms, I like the idea where it rolls to double.  As some competitors have escalators in their contracts, why couldn't a lease have that escalator at the end built in.  "If you don't renew, return or buyout this lease, the monthly lease amount is subject to xx% escalation until an action is taken."  Great idea.  Even if the customer wants to return it / turn in the keys, then you can turn the screws again.  It'll cost XXX to get this thing removed and shipped back to the leasing company.  Always a penalty for not reading the fine print.  Not that you want to screw your customer, but most leases are two columns, one page of somewhat ( ) easy to read text, and it can be brought about as part of the cost savings in implementing a new solution.  I don't see any silver bullet currently with trying to push those folks in renewals over the edge because there's unfortunately too many variables as long as covid is still a thing.  We've had customers come back to the office full force and now are evaluating hybrid again due to this damn delta variant.  Time will tell, but that's not putting money in your pocket.  As always, a damn good article my friend!

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