In this The BIG Idea podcast, equipment financing expert David Harding details your options for financing your decorating equipment. “The only time you’d want to lease equipment is if you’re planning to upgrade that machine every three years,” says Harding, owner of New Philadelphia, OH-based DCA Equipment Financing, which helps customers grow their businesses by providing equipment financing solutions. “The technology has totally changed enough to make an upgrade feasible.”

For 12 years, Harding has financed millions of dollars each year for the decorating sector. “We finance a lot of automatic machines,” he says. “Customers want the jump from a manual to an automatic. They always say, ‘I should have upgraded to an auto years ago.’” Harding mentions that a six-color automatic machine, because of its size, is the go-to machine for most businesses looking to upgrade. With prices on direct-to-screen equipment dropping, Harding says they’re becoming more feasible purchases for smaller shops.

Harding stresses that no matter what type of equipment you want to purchase, take the time to read the financing and leasing fine print—and be aware of the fees you’ll incur before making a decision. That includes any upfront payments, loan terms, and the required monthly payment. “The number one thing plaguing our industry now is interest rates, and they aren’t always calculated the same,” he says. “Finance companies play with fees, an annual finance charge, rather than an APR. This is so they can make the finance rate appear to be more aggressive than what the APR actually may be.”

Listen to the entire The BIG Idea podcast