What is BGE and how did it start?
Bill Gray founded BGE in 1988. It originally operated as Bill Gray Enterprises. After 10 years’ experience as District Manager for musical instrument companies and several years of managing a location for The Music Shoppe, Inc. in Champaign, Illinois, Bill saw a need for an instrument leasing plan for schools, universities and music boosters. So in 1996, BGE started financing these transactions as BGE Financial with a credit facility provided by BankChampaign.
How can BGE help band directors?
Help directors obtain the instruments they need. Whether a director needs a new timpani or to replace a brass section, this program will effectively "multiply" your purchasing power and keep you within your annual budget.
Help your program replace older instruments. Directors should be able to replace an instrument under the Lease/Purchase Plan for the same amount of money they were spending to keep an old instrument alive.
Help your program beat inflation. By obtaining instruments today through a lease, directors are able to avoid annual price increases. We have found that prices tend to go up about 3-5% per year, so if a purchase is put off for 3 years, a music program should expect to pay at least 10% more for the same item.
What criteria must be met in order for a band director to lease through BGE?
All public schools, parochial schools, universities, and music booster organizations qualify for this program. We can work with any music dealer nationwide. All public schools are preapproved. In most cases, private schools and booster programs only need to provide a financial statement. Since 1988, BGE has approved all school applications. Therefore, our criteria makes it an easy process for directors.
What types of equipment can band directors lease?
Any brand of instrument may be combined with equipment such as cases, risers, etc.
Who covers maintenance and insurance on leased instruments?
Each instrument delivered to the school will have a standard limited warranty as provided by the manufacturer. The dealer will be responsible for servicing the product as if it were a purchased instrument. Maintenance, including that required during the life of the lease due to normal wear and tear, is the responsibility of the school.
The school as lessee is required to have insurance for any theft, mysterious disappearance, or damage to any or all items/equipment covered by the lease. Any such loss does not relieve the school of any of the terms or conditions of the contract. Most public school have insurance, which they can add BGE as an additional insured. Optional insurance is available through BGE with a $0 deductible and 100% coverage.
Do you have any cool leasing success stories that you'd like to share?
Scott Love of The Music Center Inc. and Susie Wiberg of Iredell Statesville Schools have both been using BGE for roughly a decade. Scott has done a great job working with schools in the North Carolina area. Initially Susie was not overly comfortable with the lease process, but after contacting BGE and learning more, the rest was history.
With the help of Scott, Susie and BGE, the Iredell Statesville Schools are in the process of establishing 5 more leases making a total of 29 leases over a 9 year period. Scott feels that the Lease/Purchase Plan has worked well for the school because it “gives them the product they need right now” and “they do not have to use all of their budget immediately."
This is certainly true; often schools will put a portion of their annual budget on a lease and leave a portion available for future needs. Susie feels that the Lease/Purchase Plan has worked well, because it has allowed them to “get instruments into the hands of our kids that we could not afford otherwise." The long-term relationship between Scott, Susie and BGE is truly a success because the teamwork ultimately improved the quality of Iredell-Statesville School band department.