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Crest Capital Review

Best Alternative Lender for Equipment Loans

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

A vital part of small business growth is purchasing and using vehicles and equipment. Luckily, there are alternative lenders out there devoted to financing equipment. Some lenders provide financing for equipment you've found through a vendor, while others can pair you with a vendor as well.

After much research and analysis, we recommend Crest Capital as our 2018 pick for the best alternative lender for equipment loans. To understand how we selected our best picks and to see a comprehensive list of alternative lenders, visit our best picks page.

Crest Capital has a quick application process, fast approvals, a variety of financing terms and excellent customer service. It can even pair you with an equipment or vehicle vendor. Here is a breakdown of why it's our best pick.

Editor's Note: Trying to find a business loan that's right for you? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by our partner alternative lenders, who will help you find the right loan for you.

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Crest Capital has been providing equipment and vehicle financing since the late '80s. If you're seeking financing for $250,000 or less, you fill out and submit a simple application. This is ideal for business owners looking for quick funding. You have the option of filling out an application online or completing a paper version. The paper version can be faxed or scanned and emailed in. The application includes basic questions about you, your business and the equipment you want to finance. These are some of the specific questions included in the application:

  1. Company name, website and address
  2. Each company owner's name and Social Security number
  3. The percentage of the company that belongs to each owner
  4. The company's bank name and account number
  5. Estimated cost of the equipment
  6. The length of the loan or lease you want
  7. Condition of the equipment
  8. Name and address of the equipment vendor

There are several minimum eligibility requirements you need to meet to be considered for an equipment loan with Crest Capital. You must have a minimum credit score of 700 and have been in business for at least two years.

The lender also requires that you don't have any current delinquent payments or a history of nonpayment to creditors. The lender reviews all this information and usually makes a final determination within four hours. This is significantly faster than many other equipment financing lenders we examined. This approval process is seamless for businesses looking for funding under $250,000.

Financing for more than $250,000 requires a more extensive application process. Besides your credit score and payment history, Crest Capital requires the following:

  1. A written overview of your organization (two pages max, plus brochures and/or resumes)
  2. A written description of the purpose of the equipment and financial justification of acquiring the equipment
  3. Last two year-end financial statements and current interim financial statements
  4. Tax returns for the two most recent years (unless financial statements are audited or reviewed)
  5. Last two years of tax returns on all entities and principals owning at least 20 percent of the company
  6. Current financial statement on all entities or principals owning at least 20 percent of the business
  7. List of current loans and leases (include lender name, account number and phone number)

Once you submit all this information, Crest Capital usually makes an approval decision within one business day. This is considerably faster than many of the other lenders we looked into, which take up to two weeks to approve borrowers.

Part of Crest Capital's appeal for us was its wide array of financing terms. The company offers financing of up to $1,000,000, with term lengths of 24 to 84 months. The wide range of options lets you choose the financing structure that best fits your needs. We also like that Crest Capital lets you choose your own loan term length that fits into your budget.

With Crest Capital, you can choose between various loan structures, some of which allow you to keep the vehicle or equipment at the end of the term. These are some of the options available:

  1. Equipment finance agreement: This is a fixed-rate loan offering a monthly payment that does not fluctuate with treasury rates. At the end of the term, you own the equipment.
     
  2. $1 purchase agreement: With this lease, you have a fixed monthly payment, and you own the equipment at the end of the lease for a nominal amount, such as $1.
     
  3. 10 percent purchase option: This is a lease with a fixed monthly payment as well as a fixed purchase option. At the end of the lease, you can purchase the equipment at 10 percent of its original cost, renew the lease or return the equipment to Crest Capital.
     
  4. Fair market value: This offers the lowest fixed monthly payments. In addition, the payments are usually 100 percent tax deductible. At the end of the lease, you can purchase the equipment at fair market value, renew the lease or return it to Crest Capital.
     
  5. Guaranteed purchase agreement: This provides a guaranteed purchase price for the equipment at the end of the term. You can choose a purchase price that is fixed at a certain dollar amount or pick from a range between a fixed minimum and maximum amount.
     
  6. First-amendment lease: This gives you a purchase option at one or more defined points during the lease, with the requirement that you renew or continue the lease if the purchase option is not exercised.
     
  7. Operating lease: This meets the criteria established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and is available for equipment with a strong after-market value. If you want to learn more about equipment leasing, we encourage you to check out our equipment leasing buyer's guide.

All the financing structures can be combined with a variety of other payment options. These include step-up plans (lower payments early in the finance term and higher payments later), deferred plans (defer payment for up to six months) and seasonal plans (no monthly payments during seasonal businesses' slow periods). The seasonal plans are especially attractive for small business owners who own businesses where they only use their equipment at certain times of the year. This kind of flexibility was nonexistent from other lenders and is another reason why Crest is a great equipment financier for small businesses.

Crest Capital also offers Section 179 qualified financing, which allows tax deductions on the cost of equipment. Under Section 179, small businesses can deduct up to $500,000, with a threshold of $2,000,000 for total equipment purchased for the year.

Since there many types of financing structures, it's impossible to say what your interest rate would be. Those rates are determined not only by the structure you choose but also by the term length, credit score, your time in business and the type of equipment being financed.

Besides the interest rate, the only fee Crest Capital charges is a $250 documentation fee. After agreeing to a deal, Crest Capital immediately collects the documentation fee and first month's payment. The lender then purchases the equipment the next day from the vendor of your choice. Repayment is made monthly via an automatic withdraw from your bank account.

We were extremely impressed with Crest Capital's customer service. To test its customer support, we called the lender multiple times, posing as a business owner interested in equipment financing.

Each time we reached Crest Capital, a professional, pleasant and helpful representative immediately answered our call. Just having someone take our call was a step up from some of the other lenders we contacted, which sent us straight to voicemail.

Instead of trying to get information about our business and the equipment we wanted, Crest Capital representatives allowed us to ask all our questions first. Some of the other lenders we spoke to brushed aside our questions and immediately started gathering the information they wanted, like how much the equipment we wanted to finance was and the financial status of our business.

During all our calls, the representatives we spoke to provided clear and detailed answers to each of our questions. Some other lenders we spoke with gave unclear answers that left us confused about exactly how their financing worked. Crest Capital representatives are available via phone, email and online forms. The company's website features details on each of the lender's financing programs, a helpful FAQs section and a Section 179 calculator to give you an idea of how much money you could save by using those tax-deduction options.

Crest Capital is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. It also scored a 5 out of 5 stars on more than 60 customer reviews. As of June 2018, there had not been one consumer complaint filed against it with the BBB in the past three years. Many of the other lenders we examined had at least some complaints filed against them. Crest was one of the only lenders we found that had positive reviews and not one complaint.

The biggest drawbacks with Crest Capital are its requirements for the minimum credit score and time in business. The requirement for at least a 700 Equifax score could eliminate some businesses from even being considered for financing. In addition, the company doesn't work with startup businesses.

Ready to choose an alternative lender? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor's Note: Trying to find a business loan that's right for you? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by our partner alternative lenders, who will help you find the right loan for you.

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Matt D'Angelo

Matt D'Angelo is a B2B Tech Staff Writer based in New York City. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in Journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. Matt joined the Purch team in 2017 and covers technology for Business.com and Business News Daily. Follow him on Twitter or email him.