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A Little Know Secret to Saving Big Money on Your Next Copier Purchase or Lease

business man holding money

With today’s business climate being so uncertain many business owners and executives have become highly price sensitive when it comes to making purchases for their company.

I’ve been in sales and marketing for over 20 years in the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington DC Meto area during that time I’ve observed the level of price awareness rise each year.

I think I can safely assume that the same is true all over the United States and even overseas.

I can remember a time in the early 2000’s when a purchase of a few thousand dollars could be made relatively quickly, in 1 meeting, by a single decision maker who sometimes didn’t even get more than one quote from prospective vendors.

Now, that same purchase of a few thousand dollars requires multiple decision makers, several meetings and multiple price quotes from different competing vendors.

Obviously, things have changed.

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Business owners and executives are looking at business expenditures, especially larger ones, much more closely due to the economic pressure we all feel.

One of the larger single expenditures for most companies is the purchase or leasing of copying and printing equipment.

Although many companies have initiatives to reduce paper, businesses in America still spend considerable amounts of money for the ability to copy and print documents.

If there was a way to reduce that cost you’d probably want to know about it right? Well there is!

If your organization never or rarely prints or copies 11″ x 17″ (ledger)  paper I have good news for you.

In the copier/multi-function printer world there is a way of classifying these machines.

The distinction is made by how large of  a sheet of paper the machine can print or copy on.

There are 2 classes and they go by the names A3 and A4. I won’t get into why they are named this way in this post but just know that there are 2 major classes.

To keep it simple an A3 machine can print and copy on to 11″ x 17″ (ledger) paper. In some cases they can even print up to 12″ x 48″ banners.

An A4 copier/multi-function printer is limited to printing letter (8 1/2″ x 11″) sized paper and legal (8 1/2 ” x 14″ ) sized documents.

As you may have guessed an A4 machine costs less because it doesn’t contain the components that are needed to print larger pieces of paper.

Years ago an A4 machines were typically only printers, usually desktop style, and A3 machines were copiers.

Over the last 5 or so years there has been a trend among copier and printer manufacturers where they have begun adding copying, scanning and faxing capabilities to their A4 model printers.

The result is a multi-function printer that does everything print,, copy, scan & fax) an A3 device does but for significantly less cost.

So if you are in the market for a new multi-function printer and don’t need to prints 11″ x 17″ documents ask your copier vendor and a few others to quote you on an A4 device as well so you can compare the two.

If your organization does occasionally need to print ledger sized documents keep in mind that you can always outsource that printing to a local printer who will happily take care of it for you.

So now I’m going to board up the doors and windows of my house because I’m sure I just ticked off a lot of copier sales guys by telling you this information.

Basically they’re going to make less money because of me.

Hopefully upon further reflection they’ll realize that although they are going to make less money they have most likely created a long term customer who is grateful  (and therefore more loyal) that the rep told them the truth even though it cost him or her commission dollars.

One last point.

Some people in my industry may make the point that an A4 machine cannot handle large copy and print volumes like an A3 can.

I don’t believe there is much validity to this point unless you are truly copying and printing large volumes of paper per month.

Even in that case, these machines are very reliable.

My best advice is to check the manufactures specifications for the device your considering use that as your guide.

I hope this helps.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to email me or simply give me a call.

If you’re in the market for a new copier, printer, document management software or IT services and you’re located in Baltimore, Maryland, Washington DC or Northern Virginia please allow me to provide you with a quote.

If you’re not in one of those areas and need quote please contact me anyway. I have a network of qualified, screened copier dealership in all 50 states, Australia, Canada and South Africa.

Thanks and have a fun day!!

443-570-0414 (cell)  edworthington@outlook.com

 

Have a fun day!!


Ed

 

 

 

 

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5 Questions to Ask When Leasing a Copier

January 7, 2016 Leave a comment

When it comes time to lease a new copier for your business things can get a little complicated.

You need tread very carefully when doing your research and getting your proposals together.

Depending on the size of copier you need this could be a significant acquisition for your business.

If you’ve leased a copier before you know that there can be a lot of questions to ask to make sure you don’t get burned.

Believe me when I say that organizations of ALL sizes get burned on a regular basis when leasing a new copier.

I know because they call and email me all the time after reading my cautionary blog posts. Like the one you’re reading right now.

I’ve been contacted by organizations locally here in the in Baltimore, MD & Washington DC area as well as all over the world. Literally.

I’ve helped people in the US, Australia, the UK, South Africa, Kenya and several other countries in Africa.

What I’ve found very interesting is that no matter where they’re from the issues these organizations have with copier companies seem to be the same.

In other words, the tricks and gimmicks used by unethical copier companies seem to be about the same no matter where they’re located.

In order to get treated fairly there are many questions you could ask prospective vendors about their copier lease but I’ll give you 5 really important ones here.

1) What kind of copier lease are you quoting me? Fair Market Value or Dollar Buy Out?

90% of the time when leasing a copier you’ll be offered either a Fair Market Value Lease or a Dollar Buy Out Lease.

The first type of lease is the Fair Market Value Lease. This is the most common of all copier leases. About 99% of the copier leases I write are fair market value leases. The way that this lease works is that at the end of the lease term the leasing company will tell you what the fair market value of that machine is and then you can buy it from them for that amount of money.

Kind of like a Kelly Blue Book valuation for copiers.

If you don’t want to buy the copier for the fair market value than you will be required to send the copier back to the leasing company at your expense. Typically if you lease a new copier from the same copier company they will come pick the machine up from your office and pay the shipping charges to send it back to the leasing company.

Copier companies do this as a thank you for leasing another copier through them. This is a helpful service that copier companies offer because if you had to send the copier back yourself in my experience you’d be looking at any where from $200.00 for a small copier up to $500.00 plus for a larger machine.

We provide this service here at my company and I like the fact that my customers can focus on the core tasks in their business and let me take care of the copiers. We remove the old copier and install and network the new one within an hour or so. My customers literally have to do nothing and I feel that’s how it should be.

The second most common type of lease is the $1 Buyout Lease. Although it’s the second most common it’s only about 1% or less of the leases I see in my day to day work.

The $1 buyout lease means that at at the end of the lease term you can “buyout” the copier from the leasing company for one dollar. Now you may be wondering why you would choose any other type of lease over this one. The answer is that this lease will cost you more than the others in interest and fees during the life of the lease but in the end you will pay less than a fair market value lease.

So should you choose a fair market value or a $1 buyout lease?

It may be helpful to think of the decision in the context of how you buy vehicles.

If you’re the type of person who finances a vehicle, keeps the vehicle over the term of the loan, pays it off and keeps the car as long as they can until it falls apart then you may want to consider a dollar buy out lease.

If you’re the kind of person keeps a vehicle for 2 or 3 years, trades it in because you like to have the newest, most efficient technology and don’t want the hassles that come with an aging vehicle than you may want to consider a fair market value lease.

Again, the Fair Market Value Lease is definitely the most common chosen option for businesses. As I stated earlier about 99% of copier leases these days are Fair Market Value.

2) What happens to the hard drive after the lease ends?

This is a very, very important question.

Virtually every copier that you can buy today will have a hard drive installed.

At the end of the lease when the copier leaves your office you have to make sure that it doesn’t end up in someone else’s hands with your company data on it.

There are a few ways of accomplishing this. You can have the hard drive removed and given to you, removed and destroyed or wiped clean of all data.

This is usually a service that your copier vendor provides but if they don’t you need to find a company that does.

This is not something you want to take lightly. If you do, bad things can happen.

Affinity Health Plan of New York was fined $1.2 Million because they sent copiers back to the leasing company without removing or wiping the hard drives.

2 years ago I wrote a short post on this blog about the incident and others like it.

The short post also included a very interesting CBS undercover video.

Click this link to watch the CBS undercover video.

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Remember, in the end the Feds will come after you, not the copier company, if your customer’s data gets out.

Take the necessary steps!

3) Is property tax included in the copier lease payment or am I going to get a separate bill from the county?

This issue is one that has ticked off many business owners and executives.

When you lease a new copier your local county government will asses a property tax.

If the property tax is not paid by the copier leasing company than the organization that leased the copier (that’s you) is responsible.

So that none of my customers get a surprise bill for property tax , ALL of the copier leases that I write in my day to day work include the property tax.

Be sure to ask the copier sales representative if property tax is included in the lease. If they say yes, ask to see it in writing.

It may be uncomfortable to push the issue with the salesperson but remember, you have the right to see everything in writing.

If that’s a problem for them,  I’d consider looking at other copier companies. More ethical ones.

4) Is the Copier Maintenance/ Service Agreement Rolled into the Lease?

When you lease a new copier you’ll want to put a service or maintenance agreement on the copier.

Typically copier maintenance plans are either billed as part the lease in which case you’ll only get one bill, or billed separately from your local copier company in which case you’ll get 2 bills.

One from the copier company for the service agreement and one from the leasing company for the lease.

5)If the answer to number 4 is yes than you should have a few follow up questions.

A) Can I adjust the minimum number of pages in the service agreement up or down? 

All copier service agreements contain a minimum number of printed pages (copies or prints) as part of the agreement. Usually that number is based on your recent usage history. You have to be careful here because if you pick a number too high you could end up paying for a lot of copies/prints that you didn’t use and if you go too low you may end up with a large overage bill at the end of the quarter or year.

Copier Service Agreement Overage Example: You sign a service agreement with a monthly minimum of 5,000 black pages.

If you only use 4,000 pages that month you will still pay for the 5,000 because that was the minimum that you agreed to and signed off on.

If you were to use 5,500 black pages one month there are a few things that can happen. I’m not sure about other parts of the country but most copier companies in Baltimore, Maryland, which is where I’m located, will accrue those overage pages and bill you for them on a separate bill quarterly. The other option I’ve heard of is to bill the overages annually.

In this example we’ll use quarterly overage billing.

So if you printed/copied 5,500 black pages per month for the first quarter of the year than you would have accrued 1,500 overage pages for that quarter. 500 extra pages (over your 5,000 minimum) times 3 months = 1,500 overage pages. Sometimes copier companies will charge you an increased price per page for overage pages. This is something I’ve never understood because in what business do you penalize customers for buying MORE of our product than initially anticipated? But nonetheless some copier companies do it, so be sure to ask.

In the above example you would get a separate bill at the end of the quarter for 1,500 overage pages.

Here at my company we allow the customer to move their monthly minimums up or down whenever they want during the lease with no questions asked. Obviously this is the best case scenario and you should try and find a company that will allow you that freedom. If they say that they will do that you need to get it in writing.

B) Am I paying interest and/or any type of fees on the copier service/maintenance plan because it’s part of the lease?

Obviously when you lease a copier you will pay interest on the base amount of the copier. This is how the leasing company gets compensated for loaning you the money. If the copier maintenance agreement is included with the equipment in the lease than you may be paying interest and fees on the service agreement as well as the equipment. You want to avoid this if you can.

One way is to have the bill for the service agreement sent to you by your copier company. In other words, you pay the local copier company for the service agreement and the leasing company for the lease. You will get 2 bills but I think that’s better than paying interest on the maintenance agreement when you don’t have to. The interest on the plan can really add up over time.

The second and best way to handle this is when the copier company has a special arrangement with the leasing company to do what is called a pass-through. The way a pass-through works is that the leasing company will collect the money for the service agreement as part of the lease payment and pass it through to the copier company.

As part of this agreement the leasing company agrees to not to charge interest or fees of any kind to you the customer or the copier company your working with. They do this as a convenience for the copier company who is usually sending them a lot of new customers like you. In the case of a pass-through you the customer only gets one bill from the leasing company for once amount per month.

Here are our company we have a pass-through agreement with our leasing company. It’s a great feature.

6) Bonus Question Do I pay the shipping charges to get supplies (toner & other consumables) sent to me?

Even though many copier companies say that their copier service agreements include “everything but paper and staples” what they may not tell you is that you will be responsible for the shipping charges when supplies such as toner are sent to your office. This could be something you want to ask about and negotiate if possible.

Otherwise you may get a surprise invoice for shipping when you need a new toner cartridge.

I hope this list of questions was helpful to you.

As always if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me using the easy form below or call me directly at 443-570-0414.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell anyone you know looking for a copier to check out this site in order to save money and avoid rip-offs.

If you’re in the Baltimore/DC Metropolitan area and are considering purchasing a new copier, printer, scanner. shredder, postage or mailing equipment please let me know. I’ll provide you with a fair, no BS proposal from our line of quality products from Xerox, Konica-Minolta, Lexmark and HP.

We also offer a full suite of document management and mobile capture software.

You can reach me at 443-570-0414 or edworthington@outlook.com.

 

 

Should You Include Copier Maintenance Plan Costs into Your Copier Lease? Updated

copier : young worker using a copy machine

Back in March of 2014 I wrote a post titled, Should You Include Copier Maintenance Plan Costs in Your Copier Lease?.

At the time I was very against including copier maintenance plan costs (also referred to as a copier service plan) into the lease of the copier.

I noted that in many cases the reason the copier buyer does this is for the convenience of having to write only one check while some copier companies may be motivated by the fact that they can get interest and fees on the maintenance plan costs whereas if the maintenance plan is billed separately they don’t.

Please note that I said “some” copier companies may be motivated by interest and fees on the service plan. I don’t want to paint the whole industry with a broad brush. That really wouldn’t be fair.

While I still feel that it’s generally a bad idea to add the service cost to the lease I have discovered a new way to go about this.

A way that you can combine the lease and the service agreement together without paying ANY interest or fees of any kind on the service. The best of both worlds.

It’s called a pass-through. The reason it’s called a pass-through is that the leasing company will accept their monthly payment from the business who leased the copier and then  pass the copier service/copier maintenance agreement portion of the payment back to the local copier company who sold the machine and performs the service/maintenance on the machine.

This is done without you the customer paying any fees whatsoever to the leasing company for passing the payment to the local copier company.

This can be a little confusing so I’ll sum up the whole process for you.

When you lease your new copier you purchase a service agreement on the copier.

A copier service agreement covers toner, repairs (including parts and labor) and preventative maintenance. All you have to do is buy paper. Everything else is covered.

When is comes to billing some copier companies will add the service/maintenance costs to the lease. The problem with this is that you are paying interest and fees on the service plan.

It doesn’t have to happen this way because the copier company who sold you the copier and will service the copier can bill you separately for the copier service agreement.

In other words you pay the leasing company their payment for the copier and write a separate check to the local copier company for the service plan on the copier because they will be performing the service on your copier.

Many copier buyers love the convenience of making only one payment but don’t want to pay interest and fees on the service plan if they don’t have to.

This is where the pass-through comes in.

The leasing company sends the customer one monthly bill which includes the copier and the service agreement and then passes the service plan portion of the payment back to the local copier company.

The copier buyer is happy because they only had to cut one check.

It’s a great service that provides the best of both worlds for the copier buyer.

I now offer this single payment service to my customers here at my copier company in Baltimore so if you are in Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia or Delaware and would like a competitive quote from a copier salesperson who will tell you the truth (even when it hurts), please fill out the quick easy form below and I would be glad to help.

If you are anywhere else in the United States and would like my recommendation for honest copier companies in your local area fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you with the names of some trusted companies.

As always feel free to ask me any copier buying question and I’ll do my best to give you a solid answer.

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun.

Ed Worthington

 

 

 

 

 

Should You Include Maintenance Plan Costs In Your Copier Lease?

Business saving money Stock Image

 

Recently I met with a prospective copier lease customer located here in Baltimore, Maryland.

The company is what I would consider a mid-sized manufacturing business with 200 employees.

They have 3 copiers and 3 large commercial color printers at their facility.

During our initial meeting I asked the CFO of the company how his billing was set up with his current copier vendor and he informed me that everything was included in his lease.

By everything he meant that the copiers, the printers and the maintenance agreement for all of them were all rolled into one lease.

Just to be clear, when I say maintenance agreement/plan I’m speaking of an agreement that covers toner, all service and repairs as well as preventative maintenance. Basically everything except paper and staples for the copiers and printers.

When I asked the CFO if he’d ever considered having the maintenance agreement billed separately from the lease he looked puzzled.

I explained to him that he was paying interest/leasing fees on the maintenance agreement and that he really didn’t have to do that.

I further explained that all copier companies will bill you separately for your maintenance agreement and that keeps you from paying leasing fees on your copier maintenance plan.

I told him that many copier companies don’t actually hold your lease in-house but instead send it to an outside company. In these cases the leasing company sends you the lease invoice each month for the lease and the copier company will send you the bill for the maintenance plan because they are the ones providing the maintenance.

Then what the CFO said next had me puzzled. He said he likes to keep the copiers, printers and maintenance together in the same lease so he doesn’t have to write 2 checks every month. Huh?

This business does a fairly significant amount of printing and copying so they are paying A LOT of money unnecessarily.

Unlike this CFO many businesses who have the cost of maintenance rolled into their copier lease don’t understand that they’re paying leasing fees on the copier maintenance agreement.

I’ve even had prospective customers tell me that the sales rep of their current vendor told them that there are no fees whatsoever associated with putting maintenance into the lease.

That sounds like a bunch of poo poo to me. There could be many reasons a copier salesperson is encouraging you to do this but my bet is that it benefits the salesperson to do so.

One possibility is that the copier company actually holds the lease in-house and by rolling maintenance plan costs into the lease they make increased profits on that maintenance. Therefore the copier company may be giving the sales rep an increased commission for putting the maintenance costs into the lease.

If the leasing company (whether in-house or not)  is allowing you to have maintenance costs rolled into your copier lease they are charging you for the privilege one way or another.

They are leasing companies, not charities. They didn’t get to be the incredibly profitable entities they are by lending money to businesses for free.

It seemed to me that this CFO was costing his company a boatload of money for the convenience of writing one check per month instead of two. Heck, most copier companies will bill you quarterly or even annually for maintenance so you really don’t even have to write a maintenance check every month.

My advice is to have your maintenance agreement billed separately to avoid unnecessary costs to your business.

If your business is located in Maryland, Washington DC, or Northern Virginia and you would like a competitive quote from a copier salesperson who will tell you the truth (even when it hurts), please fill out the quick easy form below and I would be glad to help.

If you are anywhere else in the United States and would like my recommendation for copier companies in your local area fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you asap.

As always you can also ask me any copier buying question you like and I’ll do my best to give you a solid answer.

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun.

Ed Worthington.     edworthington@outlook.com.                           443-570-0414

 

 

 

 

How to Cancel a Copier Lease- Sample Letter of Intent to Cancel Copier Lease

February 15, 2014 4 comments

Frustrated Man Worries About Economy Unpaid Bills

If you are leasing a copier for your business, professional practice or non-profit than your lease will no doubt have a specific term attached to it. A term simply means the length of the lease. Most copier lease terms are either 36, 48 or 60 months.

Most people believe that if they don’t want to keep the copier that the leasing company will contact them at the end of the lease and they can just send it back.

That’s where the mistake is made.

The leasing company usually will not contact you at the end of the lease and if you don’t send them a “letter of intent” to discontinue (cancel, terminate) the lease they will keep billing you the same monthly payment you’ve been from the beginning.

I’ve personally seen a real life case where a medical practice located in Westminster, Maryland (a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland) paid on their copier for an extra 4 years after the original lease ended.

With the amount of money they paid over the 7 years the could have literally bought 3 copiers. All because they failed to understand when their lease actually ended and what their responsibility was if they wanted to end the copier lease.

Whether you want to send the copier back at the end of the lease or you want to purchase the copier from the leasing company you must send them a letter of intent to terminate or purchase during the time widow specified in the lease you signed. That time window varies by leasing company but typically is something like, “no later than 60 days before the lease ends but no sooner than 120 days before the lease ends”.

You may be wondering why you have to send a letter of intent to terminate a copier lease if it ends on a specific date anyway. That’s because in the eyes of the leasing company the lease isn’t over until they receive your letter of intent within the specified time window.

It gets worse. With some leasing companies if they don’t receive your letter of intent in time they may not only keep billing you the same monthly payment but they may renew your lease for a full year.

So if you were to discover that your lease ended 3 months ago and you contact the leasing company thinking you can just end it now you’ll be in for a rude awakening. If you want to terminate the lease after this full year automatic renewal has happened than the leasing company will say, “no problem, you just have to buyout out the remaining months plus a few early termination fees to boot”.

To make this magical journey even more fun guess what happens if you were to forget to send in the letter of intent during the specified time window at the end of your one year automatic renewal? You guessed it, you get to spend another exciting  full year paying the wonderful leasing company.

The moral of this story is two-fold: 1) know when your copier lease ends and 2) send in your letter of intent during the time window specified by the leasing company or else you’ll regret it.

If your wondering what a letter of intent should say then click on the link below for a template. Just fill in your info and send it off. I would recommend certified mail. 🙂

Letter Of Intent To Terminate Lease

If your organization is located in the Baltimore, Maryland, Washington DC or Northern Virginia metro areas please contact me to receive a competitive quote about 6 months before your current lease ends. It never hurts to get a competitive quote. It tends to keep your current vendor honest.

My company carries Toshiba Copiers, HP & Lexmark Printers, Fujitsu Scanners and Dahle Professional Shredders.

In addition to the hardware listed above we provide software and services such as Managed Print Services, IT/Network Services and a full line of document management software.

If you have a general copier buying question or would like a free copy of my book, The Ultimate Copier Buying Guide, just fill out the form below. Thanks for stopping by. Come back often and most of all…… HAVE FUN!

Categories: Copier Leasing

How Much Does It Cost To Lease A Copier?

“How much does it cost to lease a copier?” It’s one of those questions I get all the time and it seems like a simple question but it’s not.

The reason it’s not that simple is because just like when you buy a new car there are many different makes and models and additional options and accessories to choose from.

Things that effect the copier price are:

  • the speed of the copier
  • whether it’s a color copier or a black only copier
  • additional copier accessories like a stapling, sorting finisher, a booklet making finisher, faxing capabilities, additional paper drawers

Once you decide the copier speed, whether it’s a color or black copier and the accessories you’ll need to decide the length of the copier lease in terms of months/years.

99% of my customers have either a 36 month (3 year) or 60 month (5 year) lease however I do have a few with 48 month leases.

Obviously the term you choose is up to you. A 60 month lease will give you a lower monthly copier lease payment but you will pay more interest and fees on the copier than if you chose a shorter lease term.

Once you have chosen the copier speed, color, accessories and lease term your all set to make an educated, well informed decision about which copier you want.

So by now your probably saying, “that’s great Ed but when are you going to tell me how much it costs to lease a copier?’.

Well, here you go.

Most copier leases range anywhere from $50.00 per month all the way up to $500.00 or  per month for 1 standard office copier. This excludes light production and production machines that are over 85 pages per minute.

A good rule of thumb for me is that the lease should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $22.00-$30.00 per month, per one thousand dollars of the total cost of the copier.

For example if your new copier is $10,000.00 it should cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $200.00-$300.00 per month.

The reason I have given a range here is that the monthly copier lease investment depends on the length of the lease.

So the payment on a 36 month lease will be higher than the payment on a 60 month lease.

A 60 month lease is less because you are stretching the cost of the copier out over more months than a 36 month lease.

Keep in mind that the lease payment is based on the total dollar value of the copier you’ve selected.

Also keep in mind that the numbers I just gave you are for the copier only.

These number do not include the copier maintenance contract / copier service contract.

I hope this is helpful.

As always thanks for stopping by today and feel free to send me your questions or comments. You can use the form below or send me an email to ed@edworthington.com.

If you’d like to receive of free copy of my Copier Buying Guide titled, The Ultimate Copier Buying Guide, How to Get the Best Deal on a New Copier.

This Copier Buying Guide will give you The  Inside Information You Need to Make Sure You’re Not Getting Ripped Off and You’re Getting the Right Copier for Your Business. Just ask for the Ultimate Copier Buying Guide in the form below or in your email.

Equipment Leasing 101

Whenever I come across resources that I think can help you make the best decisions for your business when it comes to leasing a copier, buying a copier or renting a copier I try to pass them along.

So in the spirit of education here is a document called Equipment Leasing 101 produced by a company called Direct Capital.

Keep in mind that Direct Capital is in the business of leasing equipment so you’ll want to be discerning with this information; however, there is certainly good information in the document.

I hope this helps.

As always, feel free to contact me via the form below or by email with any questions.

Thanks for stopping by.

Ed Worthington – ed@edworthington.com

equipment-leasing-101