Work Smarter: Outsourcing for Leasing Companies

by Shari L. Lipski September 2016
ECS's Shari Lipski tackles a problem we all face: a lack of time. She points to outsourcing as a solution for a leasing company’s routine task management.

Every day I wake up with the greatest of intentions.

I let the dogs out, feed them and the cat, grab my list of the things I need to do, and make some coffee. It’s not until about an hour later that I realize I never took my cup of coffee from the kitchen because I’m already on my computer. Before I know it, I am knee deep in emails, calendar reminders for things I didn’t finish from the day or week before, and voicemails from clients.

Every day is the same. The to-do list gets longer and longer, the coffee gets colder and I find myself wondering how I’ll ever check any of my responsibilities off the list.

How do I help grow my business? How do I make time for the things I don’t have time for?

For many leasing industry professionals, this all probably sounds familiar.

It isn’t about time management, it isn’t about hiring more people and it isn’t about getting better software. It’s about doing what you do best, and having someone else around who can do what they do best. Efficiency and accuracy are key to making every second count. That’s why outsourcing is the perfect solution for a leasing company’s routine task management.

The More Efficient Equipment Leasing Company

Outsourcing, sometimes called “business outsource processing,” can solve a lot of administrative and procedural problems for any size leasing company.

For example, a start-up leasing operation for a bank or a manufacturing company doesn’t have the resources or knowledge base that a seasoned leasing company does. How can they know who to hire? What software should they buy? And, most importantly, how can they make it all work seamlessly together? The bank knows how to be a bank, the manufacturer knows how to build things, but no one at either company knows how to lease. That’s a problem for all involved.

Every leasing company, even those with a proven track record, great employees and a nice balance sheet, should always be in growth mode. Outsourcing lets them do just that without a huge investment in back office operations. Even the largest companies in our industry outsource a lot of what they do, from payroll to cash management to tax processing. That allows them to spend more time on customer satisfaction and improving the customer experience.

It allows them to do what they do best.

There are two constants in business: those never-ending to-do lists and the fact that human beings are behind it all. We all have the same number of hours in the same number of days each year. Outsourcing routine tasks helps make the day-to-day operations of any business run smoother. Further, outsourcing the things you are not an expert at will ultimately allow you to become even better at what you are good at: equipment leasing.

Niche Services for a Niche Market

So how can business outsourcing processing help the leasing industry? Easy. If you take a look at your current operation you’ll likely find that there are dozens of monthly reoccurring tasks that take up a significant amount of staff time that can be outsourced to a company that does nothing but that skillset every day. That will give your staff more time to manage client relations with a more hands on approach, because they’re no longer preoccupied with mundane tasks, and they can develop new relationships to grow the company.

This isn’t unique to leasing companies, but the structure of this industry does make the day-to-day more challenging.

Typically businesses are only in one industry like a restaurant or a dry cleaner, in one or a handful of locations, which makes things like accounting and taxes easier to handle.

However, most leasing companies are in every industry. What that means is not only do you need to know how to do your business but also each and every industry you get involved with now becomes your business base of knowledge as well. In addition to knowing every little thing about your client’s industries in order to successfully manage those relationships, you also have to know everything about doing business in each and every state where your clients reside.

Often the easiest things for leasing companies to outsource are the back-office operations like cash application management, collections, accounting, sales and use tax filings, and personal property tax processing. The great thing about outsourcing these non-primary business activities to a third party are enhanced efficiency of these services by the provider due to their expertise, freeing up your employees to invest more time in your core business operations and develop new strategies to gain a competitive advantage while enhancing the organization through growth. Companies typically have less capital expenditure with outsourcing and can use those resources for research and development or expansion on current primary business initiatives.

What’s more, when a leasing company grows so do the back-office operations, which may start to consume resources at the expense of the core activities. Outsourcing allows a business to focus on what’s important without sacrificing quality or service. During periods of growth, a leasing company may consume a large amount of financial and human resources at the expense of the core business functions, which is what actually made the company a success to begin with and should be preserved at all costs.

A Simple Solution for a Complex Industry

Leasing companies have to deal with a significant amount of sales/use tax rules, collections and filings compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar business. Most of these functions, while not complicated on the surface, can completely overwhelm your back-office team and prevent them from performing consistently and within budget. If costs in a particular department are increasing considerably, the department may have outgrown the current management skills of your company. Outsourcing could provide a better management team than you would otherwise have had access to.

Outsourcing also helps with cyclical or seasonal back-office operations allowing you to only hire a provider for what you need when you need it rather than full-time staff having nothing to do during extended periods of time. It also reduces uncertainty and inconsistency to operations by limiting the issues of employee hiring and turnover; which also provides for a more stable and professional level of operation to clients.

After being in the leasing industry for 25 years I know two things: I believe in Murphy’s Law and know that there isn’t enough coffee in the world to help month end to actually end. Outsourcing may not be able to help with the coffee part but it’s your ready, willing and highly able resource to be your staffed expert to do each thing you need done, when it needs to get done, in the most efficient, accurate and timely manner. Helping you become even better than you are today.

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