0 A finance first for irrigation

Finance on turfcare machinery has been something golf clubs have been taking advantage of for years and of course the concept of finance is widely available on most everyday things. In short, the concept is not new. However, it is a concept that has passed by the irrigation of golf clubs and sports venues. Until now that is, thanks to Reesink Turfcare.

As the first distributor in the UK to offer customers fixed term finance on its irrigation products, here we talk to Robert Jackson, irrigation field sales manager for Reesink, who says it was about time the same rules applied to one of the biggest assets a club can own:

"It has never failed to surprise us that finance hasn't applied to this level of investment on this vital equipment. Choosing and using finance is not a simple subject, but those already using finance and leasing turfcare machinery will be familiar with the ease with which it works, the flexibility it affords and the options it provides."

"The level and sophistication of financial planning at many clubs today means that accurate budgeting and financial information are now features of machinery operating and replacement programmes. Regular replacement on machinery offers clubs a number of advantages such as increased reliability reducing the incidence of breakdown, subsequent downtime and maintenance costs. New machines incorporate the latest design features and technology and produce a better job."

"Of course, these benefits don't apply to an irrigation system which once installed will last for many years. A decent irrigation system can have a life expectancy of 30-40 plus years, and while it's likely there will be some hardware updates required from time to time, it's less than likely you'll need a replacement in full until it's well over a quarter of a century old!"

"Buying irrigation on finance takes away two of the biggest headaches we find exist for those embarking on an irrigation installation: it means the full installation customers need is much sooner and there is a smaller upfront capital outlay. Anyone who has gone through the process will know that choosing and installing an irrigation system can be a lengthy one, phasing installations over years. Removing the headache that comes with financing the project means that you're making the decision-making process a lot simpler and quicker and there is no need to phase in. In most cases committees have approved similar for machinery."

"Understanding the basics of how irrigation finance works is important since it plays an important part in planning and budgeting to ensure that the club has the equipment it needs to deliver the quality of course that the board, members and others demand."

Left: Richard Thompson, account manager at Hitachi with Robert Jackson, irrigation field sales manager for Reesink

Payment plans through Reesink can be monthly, quarterly, or annually and clubs can finance through hire purchase (HP) or lease. Paul McLauchlan, strategic manufacturer manager at Hitachi, Reesink's finance company, explains more about the options available and benefits:

"There are two ways for a business to purchase an irrigation system with Reesink on finance - it's either leased or hired (hire purchase or HP). The difference between the two is who owns it after the transaction. A benefit to each is that fact that both are fixed costs and will not change during the life of the agreement, which makes accurate budgeting far easier."

"Generally, loans, HP and other fixed-cost financing are over medium-term periods, between two and five years. One of Reesink's unique selling points is that it offers an extended term of up to ten years, which is longer than the usual asset lending period."

"We have a 50:50 split when it comes to customers choosing to pay back monthly or annually. Both options have their benefits: some prefer to factor it in to monthly outgoings, others prefer to pay when the annual membership subscriptions come in. The repayment calendar is of course down to customer preference, but whether you choose monthly, quarterly, or annually what's true to all is that no minimum deposit is required, and that's another of Reesink's USPs. You simply pay the first instalment when you sign."

Richard Thompson, account manager at Hitachi, continues: "Based upon business needs there are different ways for a business to acquire an irrigation system with Reesink on finance. Businesses might opt for a loan or overdraft to pay for equipment, without realising that Asset Finance is a hassle-free option available. Unlike an outright purchase, asset finance lets you pay for your irrigation system in monthly, quarterly or semiannual payments."

"Hitachi Capital Business Finance works directly with you to create a tailored, and affordable, asset finance solution for your business providing you with the security of knowing that the repayments will give your business the ability to budget and plan ahead without disrupting cash flow."

"Features of the Reesink and Hitachi Capital Business Finance include funding up to 100% of the project costs, transparency and support from a friendly team who take time to understand your business needs as well as a dedicated business manager with industry sector experience."


CASE STUDY

Coventry Hearsall Golf Club is one of the first clubs to benefit from Reesink Turfcare's fixed term finance for irrigation.

Brett Mander, Coventry Hearsall's course chairman, explains how the club arrived at the decision to go with Toro: "Reesink won us over with its presentation, which gave us confidence that its package and aftercare support would best suit the needs of the club. Reesink offered the most flexible solution over a period of time that matches our investment and growth strategy at Coventry Hearsall."

Course manager Jonathan Oldknow says he is 'delighted' with the new Toro Lynx system including sprinklers for the tees, greens and approaches, which replaced a 40-year-old irrigation system struggling with constant leaks and breakages. In fact, Jonathan attributes the club's ever-increasing reputation to the success of the 'Total Solutions' package it now boasts with its Toro irrigation system and fleet of machinery. Gone are the days of fixing leaks, and with peace of mind that the club has water on demand: "The main beauty of the system is the accuracy it affords us," says Jonathan. "We take moisture metre readings to identify where water is needed and adjust individual sprinkler heads accordingly, targeting areas with reassuring success."

Course Manager, Jonathan Oldknow

"We are one step ahead with our new Toro system rather than on the back-foot with our previous one. As opposed to fighting fires just to keep the grass alive we are now able to focus on keeping the plant in optimum health, and will be able to do so for as long as I'm a greenkeeper, and then some."

Jonathan says: "A new irrigation system is no light investment, but in this competitive industry we recognised the need for modern technology to stay at the top of our game. Miles ahead of anything we've ever had before, choosing the Toro Lynx system was a big statement from us saying 'this is where we want to be heading.'"


For further information on irrigation financing, call Robert Jackson on 01480 226948.

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