I received a news release from a large HVACRmanufacturer’s PR people the other day that told of how the company has joined forces with a leasing company to make its equipment available on a rental basis.

And although this may sound like something new, it’s really not. Many energy-management groups and utilities have been working with leasing companies for years and offering equipment upgrades to large commercial organizations on a monthly payment basis with the promise the payments will be offset by energy savings.

Does this idea work? Yes, because even huge university and school campuses as well as public and corporate building owners have bought into these leasing programs quite successfully. This, of course, looks especially practical to those who need new equipment but aren’t willing to immediately lay out huge amounts of cash for the upgrade, or to those who must request funds for large disbursements from corporate folks, but can make monthly payments without the hassle.

Of course, there are all kinds of potential pitfalls to such a concept when it comes to trying to recover equipment for nonpayment when it is part of a structure. And unlike leased automobiles and trucks, there isn’t a huge market for used cooling equipment so it has little trade-in value. But these are matters the leasing companies have to worry about (and hopefully not us).

Should you think about contacting a leasing company to see if you can work out something for your contractor customers so they can grow their businesses by offering a leasing option to their sales programs? Perhaps it is something to consider, but only after all the terms and pitfalls are worked out and clearly understood.

The news release I received didn’t make it clear to whom such leases would be offered, but I got the idea they may have been talking about consumers in the residential market since the blurb mentioned people who would otherwise not qualify for financing.

If we learn from what large companies have been doing for many years, perhaps we can find some sunshine in this concept.

First, there is cooling equipment that is both easily installed and easily removed. Packaged heating/cooling systems come to mind as do ductless systems. And especially with ductless equipment, we find the potential for energy savings to help offset the cost of monthly payments since some of these are now very energy efficient!

Also, since it requires no duct connections, the fact that wall-mounted equipment is easily attached and detached may raise its value for future reuse and leasing — something that is less practical with ducted components.

What business is this of yours and why should your company consider promoting such a program? It will increase your sales! Realize your job must go beyond just offering equipment, parts and pieces to your customers if you want your company to grow and succeed.

The problem with the supply-house business is companies can’t grow much unless their customer bases also grow. You must keep coming up with new ideas and tools to make those customer bases grow.

 Those who understand this concept are the ones who will succeed.