Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

0920 Leasing Business Equipment

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 920 – Leasing Business Equipment.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 920. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is ESLPod.com. Go there, become a member of ESL Podcast, and download a Learning Guide for this episode.

This episode is a dialogue about renting or paying to use, temporarily, equipment for your business. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Olena: We need to keep pace with changing technology, but how are we going to raise capital to upgrade our equipment?

Joel: I’m not sure. Maybe we can find a supplier who will extend credit to us. We can pay in installments.

Olena: That’ll be hard to do. No one wants to extend credit these days.

Joel: I know what my brother did when his company needed new equipment.

Olena: What?

Joel: He leased it instead of buying it.

Olena: Leasing equipment? I’ve never considered it. I don’t want to end up paying more for the equipment over time than it’s worth, and still not own the equipment at the end of the contract.

Joel: The flip side is that you won’t be saddled with outdated equipment that’s hard to off-load. My brother says that there are other advantages to leasing. You can have the maintenance included in your contract, so you won’t have to worry about high repair bills.

Olena: I don’t know . . .

Joel: And my brother also told me that he was able to negotiate a purchase option. You can do the same if you really want to own the equipment.

Olena: Your brother really seems to know what he’s talking about. Why isn’t he working for me?

Joel: You have someone even better. You have an employee who listens and steals the competitors’ good ideas.

[end of dialogue]

Olena begins by saying to Joel, “We need to keep pace with changing technology.” “To keep pace (pace) with” something means to do as well as this other thing is doing, or to move as quickly as, or we might use another phrasal verb: “to keep up with” something else. In this case, Olena is talking about keeping pace with changing technology. The idea here is that as technology changes, so we too must change. We have to adapt to this new technology.

Olena says, “How are we going to raise capital to upgrade our equipment?” “To raise capital” (capital) means to get money to do something for a business. When you want to start a large new project, you might need to raise capital. You might need to go to a bank or to investors and have them give you money so that you can do this new project. You can also raise capital for other things that are not part of a business, but the idea is that it’s for a large project.

Olena wants to raise capital to “upgrade” their equipment. “To upgrade” (upgrade) means to get a newer version of something. We can talk about upgrading our software on our computers. We get the latest version, the newest version. And there’s always a newer version, right? “Equipment” refers to machines that we use for a particular purpose. It’s a very general term. It could refer to a computer. It might also refer, in sports for example, to a ball or a hockey stick. That’s sporting equipment. Here, we’re talking about business equipment – things you would use in your business. It might be a computer. It might be a fax machine. It might be some machine that makes something.

Joel says, “I’m not sure” – I’m not sure how we’re going to raise capital. “Maybe we can find a supplier who will extend credit to us.” A “supplier” (supplier) is a company that sells to other companies – sells, typically, equipment to other companies. “To extend (extend) credit” means to allow someone to get something they’re buying from you before they give you any money. If you’re buying a car from me, I might say, “Okay, here’s the car, and pay me back in the next two months.” I’m extending credit to you. I’m saying, “You can use this and pay me later.” That’s what Joel wants to do to get this new business equipment.

He says, “We can pay in installments.” “To pay in installments” is to pay a little bit over a long period of time. So, if you owe someone $10,000, you may pay them a thousand dollars a month for ten months. That would be paying in installments. Of course, that would be without interest. You might have to pay more with interest.

Olena says, “That will be hard to do” – that will be difficult. “No one wants to extend credit these days.” “These days” means nowadays or currently, in this time period that we’re in now. Joel says, “I know what my brother did when his company needed new equipment.” Olena says, “What?” – what did your brother do? Joel says, “He leased it instead of buying it.” “To lease” (lease) means to use something for a short period of time and pay someone to use it for that period of time. When that period of time is over – it might be a month, it might be a year, it might be five years – then you have to give whatever you are leasing back. You have to give whatever you are using back to the person who you got it from and who you were paying. “Lease” is very similar to another word: “rent.” We can talk about “leasing” or “renting.” We often use the two words interchangeably, one for the other. When we’re talking about equipment, however, especially in a business situation, we would probably use the word “lease.” “Rent” might be used for, for example, “renting a car” or “renting a house,” although you can also “lease” a house. It just depends on the situation. In this case though, “lease” is probably more common for business purposes.

Olena says, “Leasing equipment? I’ve never considered it” – I never thought about it. “I don’t want to end up paying more for the equipment over time than it’s worth.” “To end up” is a two-word phrasal verb that’s very common in English. It means to have to do something at the end of a certain period of time, or to be in a certain kind of situation at some point in the future. For example, “I don’t want to end up having to pay a lot of money for a house. So, I’m going to buy it right now before the prices go up.” In the dialogue, Olena does not want to end up paying more for the equipment that she’s leasing than she would if she bought the equipment. “To end up” here, then, means to be in a situation where in this case she had to pay more money for the equipment than it’s worth, than you could buy it for.

She said she doesn’t want to do that “and still not own the equipment at the end of the contract.” A “contract” is just a legal, usually written, agreement between two people or two companies. Remember, when you lease something, you have to give it back to the person from whom you were leasing it, and Olena is worried that they’ll be paying more for the piece of equipment that they’re leasing than it’s worth. They could just buy it rather than lease it.

But Joel says, “The flip side is that you won’t be saddled with outdated equipment that’s hard to off-load.” “The flip side” is the other side of something, the other aspect of something. Literally, we talk about the flip side of a coin – a small piece of metal money. “To flip a coin” means to put it on your fingers and use your thumb, typically, to make it go around in circles. “The flip side of something” is the other side of something. Joel is saying that the other side of this situation – the situation of leasing – is that you won’t be saddled with outdated equipment. “To be saddled (saddled) with something” means to have to do something that is difficult. We might also use the expression “to be burdened with something.”

Joel is saying that you won’t have this problem, and the problem you won’t have is having outdated equipment. Something that is “outdated” is something that is very old, something that is no longer used. If you have an old RadioShack TRS80 computer, that is very outdated. That was my first computer back many, many years ago. Joel says, “You won’t be saddled with outdated equipment that’s hard to off-load.” “To off-load” means to get rid of something that you no longer want.

Joel says, “My brother says that there are other advantages” – other positive things – “to leasing. You can have the maintenance included in your contract, so you won’t have to worry about high repair bills.” “Maintenance” refers to taking care of a piece of equipment so that it continues to work properly.

Olena says, “I don’t know.” Joel says, “And my brother also told me that he was able to negotiate a purchase option.” A “purchase option” is when you lease something, but if you decide to buy it, the owner will use some of the money you pay to lease it as part of the purchase price – as part of what he’ll accept as payment for the item. So, if you “lease to own,” which is the common expression in this situation, you are paying money now to use it, and then if you decide to buy it, to purchase it, you have that option. You have that choice in the future. Joel is telling Olena that she will have that choice if she wants to, in the future. He says, “You can do the same” – the same thing – “if you really want to own the equipment.”

Olena says, “Your brother really seems to know what he’s talking about. Why isn’t he working for me?” Joel says, “You have someone even better. You have an employee who listens and steals the competitors’ good ideas.” Olena is sort of joking here. She’s saying, “Well, why hasn’t your brother worked for me, if he’s so smart.”

And Joel says, “Well, you have something better here. You have someone” – meaning Joel – “who listens and ‘steals’” – or takes – “the competitiors’ good ideas.” Your “competitor” (competitor) is a business that sells the same kind of thing that you sell. A “competitor” can also be someone with whom you are playing a game and you’re trying to defeat. You’re trying to win over the other person. You’re trying to win the game instead of them. That’s also your competitor. What Joel is really saying, then, is that Olena doesn’t have to have Joel’s brother working for her because Joel is going to take all of his brother’s good ideas and give them to Olena anyway.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Olena: We need to keep pace with changing technology, but how are we going to raise capital to upgrade our equipment?

Joel: I’m not sure. Maybe we can find a supplier who will extend credit to us. We can pay in installments.

Olena: That’ll be hard to do. No one wants to extend credit these days.

Joel: I know what my brother did when his company needed new equipment.

Olena: What?

Joel: He leased it instead of buying it.

Olena: Leasing equipment? I’ve never considered it. I don’t want to end up paying more for the equipment over time than it’s worth, and still not own the equipment at the end of the contract.

Joel: The flip side is that you won’t be saddled with outdated equipment that’s hard to off-load. My brother says that there are other advantages to leasing. You can have the maintenance included in your contract, so you won’t have to worry about high repair bills.

Olena: I don’t know . . .

Joel: And my brother also told me that he was able to negotiate a purchase option. You can do the same if you really want to own the equipment.

Olena: Your brother really seems to know what he’s talking about. Why isn’t he working for me?

Joel: You have someone even better. You have an employee who listens and steals the competitors’ good ideas.

[end of dialogue]

There’s nothing outdated about our dialogues here on ESL Podcast. That’s because they’re written by the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2013 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary

to keep pace with – to keep up with; to do as well as others or to adapt to changing circumstances

* It’s really hard to keep up with all the new apps for mobile phones.

to raise capital – to obtain a lot of money for a specific purpose that will grow one’s business

* The school is trying to raise capital to build four new classrooms and expand the library.

to upgrade – to obtain a newer version of something or to improve the existing one to make it more attractive or perform better

* It’s time to upgrade your cell phone to a smart phone that has Internet access.

equipment – machines that are used for a particular purpose and last for a long period of time, usually for at least one year

* Jacques is a professional baker and his kitchen is filled with all kinds of equipment for making fancy pastries and cakes.

supplier – a company that sells and delivers a product that another company needs

* Our supplier has decided to discontinue the product, so now we need to find a new supplier.

to extend credit – to allow someone to have something now and pay for it later or slowly over time

* Furniture stores sometimes extend credit to consumers, allowing them to pay only a small amount for their furniture and then make monthly payments over the following three years.

installment – one of many small payments made to a single bank or institution, usually to pay back a loan

* How many installments are left before we’ve paid off the car loan?

to lease – to have access to a car, piece of equipment, or a home for a period of time while one is making monthly payments, but then return it to the owner at the end of the agreement period

* Why would you want to lease a car instead of buying one?

to end up – to have to do something at the end of a time period; to be in a particular situation at some future point in time

* Tracy is desperate to get married and have children, because she doesn’t want to end up alone in her old age.

contract – a written legal agreement between two or more people or businesses

* Please have our attorney review the contract before you sign it.

flip side – the other side of the coin; the other aspect of something; another consideration; another perspective on something

* Bringing an assistant on staff will be expensive, but on the flip side, you’ll have more free time to work on the things you enjoy.

saddled with – burdened with; having to do something that is difficult or unpleasant

* It must be awful to be saddled with thousands of dollars in credit card debt and car loans.

outdated – old; not new or modern

* The home has a nice layout, but the carpet and decorations are really outdated.

to offload – to get rid of something that is unwanted, especially by selling it

* How long do you think it will take to offload that old boat?

maintenance – repairs and other work needed to keep a building or a piece of equipment in good condition so that it performs well and does not fall apart

* When we bought a new car, the dealership offered us free maintenance for the first year.

purchase option – an opportunity to buy something instead of giving it back at the end of a lease or a similar contract

* The tenants are asking whether the homeowner would be willing to offer them a purchase option so that they can buy the home and avoid moving their family.

competitor – a business that offers the same or a similar product or service and is trying to get the same sales and customers that one’s own business is trying to get

* As soon as we lowered our sales price, all our competitors did the same thing.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Olena mean when she talks about raising capital?
a) The company needs to research new technologies and find the best solution.
b) The company needs to ask politicians to pass beneficial laws.
c) The company needs to find money to make important investments.

2. What would the company do while paying in installments?
a) Pay with checks.
b) Pay in cash.
c) Pay a little bit each month.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to keep pace with

The phrase “to keep pace with,” in this podcast, means to keep up with, to do as well as others, or to adapt to changing circumstances: “How do doctors keep pace with the latest research?” The phrase “at (one’s) own pace” means at the speed one is comfortable with, without paying attention to how quickly other people are doing something: “This isn’t a race, so just finish the work at your own pace.” The phrase “at a breakneck pace” means very quickly: “Randall is working at a breakneck pace because he wants to leave early today to see his daughter’s soccer game.” Finally, the phrase “at a snail’s pace” means very slowly: “Stop moving at a snail’s pace or you’ll be late for school!”

contract

In this podcast, the word “contract” means a written legal agreement between two or more people or businesses: “According to the contract, we have to give at least 30 days’ notice if we want to end the lease.” As a verb, “to contract (someone) to do (something)” means to pay someone for a particular service: “Which company are you going to contract to do the remodel?” The verb “to contract” can also mean to get an illness or disease: “How likely are you to contract yellow fever while you’re traveling?” Finally, the verb “to contract” means to become smaller: “Does water contract or expand when it freezes?” Or, “Economists are trying to understand why the housing market is contracting so rapidly.”

Culture Note
Getting Business Equipment for Less

Many small businesses “struggle with” (have problems with) “cash flow” (the availability of money to cover expenses), so it can be difficult for them to make large investments in expensive business equipment. However, there are many ways they can “obtain” (get) the business equipment they need without “going broke” (becoming bankrupt; spending all their money).

Businesses can purchase “older models” (earlier versions) of the business equipment they need. “Top-of-the-line” (the best available) business equipment is very expensive, but often the older equipment it is replacing is much more “affordable” (not too expensive; able to be paid for) and offers similar “functionality” (performance; the things a piece of equipment can do). These older models might be “second-hand” (used), or possibly just extra “inventory” (items that have not yet been sold).

Small businesses can also consider buying equipment form the government. Government agencies sometimes “seize” (take by force) equipment from “criminals” (people who have broken the law) and sell them through “auctions” (a type of sale where items are sold to the people who are willing to pay the most for them).

Finally, the Small Business Administration recommends that small businesses “barter,” exchanging the goods or services they offer for the goods and services they want, without actually exchanging cash.

Of course, these “tips” (ideas; suggestions) are not “limited” (restricted) to small businesses. Individuals and families can use these same ideas to obtain the things they want and need “for less” (without paying the full price of something).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c