Insight from a ‘Serial Entrepreneur’
With multiple businesses to run, financing equipment through North Star Leasing provides a constant
Fred Surgeon is what can be described as a serial entrepreneur. The North Carolinian currently owns 10 businesses (seriously, check out his website), and his ventures range from a working farm, laundromats, restaurants, facilities cleaning, and health care, plus more. His businesses operate across multiple states, and he employs more than 650 people.
Here’s another interesting thing about Fred: over the years, he’s used North Star Leasing to finance tens of thousands of dollars in equipment for his ventures. Which is one reason we’re featuring Fred Surgeon today as a “North Star All Star.” The other reason: Fred’s story of funding multiple deals for multiple enterprises is full of lessons for business owners big and small.
Fred has worked closely with North Star Leasing’s Mike Wasko on all of his deals over the years, with the most recent being a lease for several pieces of equipment for his farm that’s open for public visits.
“Fred’s one of those guys that when he gets in touch with you, you just know there’s something tremendous going on,” said Wasko. “His businesses are diverse and he’s always looking to grow.”
You might say to yourself, “Wow, somebody like Fred must have access to plenty of capital to invest in his businesses.” And you’d be right, but one thing he knows is that there are considerable advantages in making somebody else’s money work for you. While some of his transactions with North Star Leasing have been straightforward equipment leases, others include a sale-leaseback (see our previous blog on Sale-Leasebacks) that allowed him to use his equipment as collateral for an infusion of cash to be used elsewhere.
“When I need to purchase something for one of my businesses, I use North Star Leasing about 85 percent of the time,” Surgeon said. “They have the ability to understand my revenue streams and they provide creative, flexible payment options.”
The relationship between Fred and North Star Leasing began when he leased a sawmill for his farm but has clearly grown beyond that in unique and interesting ways.
“I needed to buy about $80,000 worth of animated, lighted dinosaurs for an attraction,” Surgeon said. “Not only was I able to finance that purchase through North Star Leasing, since this is a summertime attraction, but they were also able to work out the payment schedule so I would start making payments in the fall after the revenue started coming in.”
Interestingly, Fred also sits on an advisory board for a community bank but chooses North Star Leasing because the application process is quicker and less cumbersome.
“When you have as much stuff going on as I do, it’s important to partner with people who understand the need to work quickly and efficiently,” Surgeon said. “Slowing down to complete more paperwork for the sake of more paperwork doesn’t really serve anybody.”