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Is Laboratory Equipment Financing Right for You?

Medical technology has been updating in a neck-breaking speed, with exciting new developments arriving every year. At present, with health care reform and a controversial medical device tax ”medical companies are focusing more than ever on products that deliver cheaper, faster, more efficient patient care.” According to ASME.org.

lab550Whether you’re a doctor, a scientist, or a clinical laboratory owner, it is of the utmost importance for you to have access to the most advanced medical lab equipment, to be able to perform your work in the most efficient and expedited way. Therefore acquiring new equipment in on the agenda of many laboratories.

The one issue that clouds this exciting development is the cost. New and cutting edge equipment has a very expensive price tag. Large companies are freezing budgets, banks make lending more difficult, and finding capital for these purchases has become extremely challenging.

No wonder that financing laboratory equipment is often the only way to obtain it.

There is a shift in the purchase habits across the lab equipment spectrum. More and more managers explore the leasing market as it offers a better alternative to buying, the traditional mode of operations.

Leasing is not always the best option for all types of lab equipment as other factors such as need for maintenance, tenure of equipment, frequency of use and necessity to upgrade need to be considered in addition to the cost of the equipment.

Consider those questions

Need for maintenance – If the equipment needs a continuous maintenance service, buying or capital leasing seem to be preferred because these options offer not only standard but also customized maintenance services. An operational lease usually doesn’t offer customized maintenance services since the equipment will be returned to the lessor at the end of the lease term.

Length of usage – If the expected usage of the equipment is longer than three years and it is frequently used, capital lease or buying is suggested, given the need to upgrade the equipment is low. When the expected use of the equipment is less than three years and ownership is not desired, an operational lease might be best. If the equipment will be sporadically used for a short time, rental is probably better.

Need for upgrade – With a low to moderate need for upgrade it is preferable to acquire equipment through buying or capital lease, since buying equipment with high upgrade requirements could result in owning obsolete equipment.
Frequency of use – Medium and high frequency use – the return on equipment is high because the cost of the equipment is spread over years of use. For temporary usage, buying or leasing will incur more cost and less return.
There is an “after market” for laboratory equipment. Pharmaceutical and chemical companies are major end users of lab equipment, as are universities and government research institutes. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all scenario whether to buy or lease equipment. Cost-effectiveness and return on equipment analyses need to be performed when choosing the most appropriate purchase model.

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