Breathing space

Thanks to COVID lockdowns, medical and dental equipment shortages and long delivery times are still causing headaches. Fortunately, BOQ Specialist can help relieve some of the financial pressure involved.

The after-effects of the pandemic are still being felt in the medical and dental equipment supply world, even though people have emerged from lockdowns and, to a large degree, resumed ‘business-as-usual’. Interruptions to international supply chains, ongoing lockdowns in major manufacturing centres, and staff and materials shortages have impacted many industries, creating supply bottlenecks. While these problems will eventually resolve, the memory of the uncertainty of the last two years has lingered, slowing the entire process of equipment purchases and prolonging that slowdown.

“There have been occasions in the past when equipment purchasing has slowed down, but it’s been longer this time,” says BOQ Specialist’s Melinda Goddard. “General ultrasound, cardiology machines, radiology equipment, as well as a lot of dental equipment have experienced delays, because the majority of these items come from China and overseas. COVID has had a massive impact on that.”

Melinda points out that most clients must pay a deposit up front when they order their new equipment. That may be as high as 20 per cent, which may be affordable on an $80,000 dental unit, but a greater drain on cash flow if you’re purchasing a $300,000 ultrasound unit or cardiology equipment.

“In the past, if someone was purchasing equipment, we may have said, ‘if your cash flow allows it, pay your deposit and we’ll reimburse you on delivery.’ Most clients were fine with that.

“Post-COVID, nobody has the cash reserves that they thought they might have, because they were keeping money in the bank in case they needed to lock down again. Even if we’re past the lockdowns, people still want to keep those cash reserves just in case. It’s important to preserve cash flow without having the burden of paying for equipment that you are not yet getting in your practice, or in your business to generate income from.”

Take the pressure off

In the past, such a transaction was called an escrow facility. Now it’s more commonly referred to as a drawdown facility, Melinda says, and is a short-term line of credit which is ideal for transactions like capital equipment.

That’s why BOQ Specialist offers a drawdown facility which transfers the hassle of managing payments completely from the practitioner to the bank. “It essentially involves signing two sets of documents,” Melinda explains.

“There's a drawdown set of documents, which is a temporary agreement, whereby we pay for the invoices as they come in. Then, once we've paid for all of the goods or all of the goods are received, and all of the tax invoices are in place, that's when we convert the drawdown agreement into a chattel mortgage or a lease. It's just a second step. This one extra step means that clients don’t have to make repayments on their purchases until the goods are received and are in use, which provides them with a little breathing space given the current supply chain issues.”

As delivery times remain stretched or uncertain, this financial product makes a lot of sense for medical and dental professionals wanting to keep an eye on their cash flow. While many finance providers will offer such a facility, Melinda points out that the difference with BOQ Specialist is that they require minimal or no security to start a drawdown facility. This gives the practitioner the peace of mind that they don’t need to start making repayments on the equipment until it’s installed in their practice and earning income for them.

In the meantime, she says, the medical and dental professions appear to have adapted to the ‘new-normal’ of delays, waiting for equipment to arrive. “It’s like getting a new car now,” she says. “In the past it took six months for one to arrive, now it may take up to 12 months. I think clients have adapted to the idea that, if they want to purchase new equipment, they need to plan ahead and get in early.”


To make the most of the temporary tax incentives take a look at our equipment finance options, or contact one of our financial specialists today on 1300 160 160.

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  • Important Information

      The issuer and credit provider of these products and services is BOQ Specialist – a division of Bank of Queensland Limited ABN 32 009 656 740 AFSL and Australian credit licence no. 244616 (“BOQ Specialist”). Terms, conditions, fees, charges, eligibility and lending criteria apply. Any information is of a general nature only. We have not taken into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs when preparing it. Before acting on this information, you should consider if it is appropriate for your situation. BOQ Specialist is not offering financial, tax or legal advice. You should obtain independent financial, tax and legal advice as appropriate.