What Is The Leasing Business Model? The Leasing Business Model In A Nutshell

Under the leasing business model, a company purchases a product and then leases it to a customer for a periodic fee. The seller passes the property of the item to the lessor, which is a financier, that enables a buyer (the lessee) to use the item for a given period of time. In the end, the buyer can exercise the option to buy the item at the current market rate. This agreement makes it possible for the seller to dispose of the item, for the financier to make a profit on it, and for the buyer to use it while avoiding total costs of ownership.

Understanding the leasing business model

Companies that utilize the leasing business model sell continuous access to a product or service over an agreed period.

The model normally involves three parties:

  1. The seller – the owner of the product or service that sells ownership of the item to a lessor in exchange for payment. Note that the seller may or may not retake possession of the item once the contractual agreement has ended.
  2. The buyer (lessee) – the entity that negotiates access to the product or service in exchange for a periodic payment to the lessor. Once the lease is up, the buyer sometimes has the option of purchasing the item at the current market rate.
  3. The financier (lessor) – a third-party that enters into an agreement with the lessee and provides it with the item for temporary possession. In essence, the lessor serves as an intermediary or facilitator.

Where does the leasing business model occur?

The leasing business model is most often seen in transactions involving the exchange of expensive physical goods, including:

  • Commercial and industrial fleet vehicles – including passenger vans, buses, box trucks, tractors, trailers, and delivery vans.
  • Manufacturing and industrial plant equipment – in industries notorious for expensive item costs, leasing arrangements may be in place for stamping and forming machinery, welders, conveyor systems, and factory infrastructure or floor space.
  • Restaurant and hospitality equipment – these include exhaust hoods, tables, seating, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and stoves. 
  • Medical and laboratory equipment – such as lasers, X-ray machines, CT scanners, and even surgical tables.
  • Municipal equipment – many local councils and authorities also lease equipment to reduce costs. Items include police cars, garbage trucks, and street sweepers.

Advantages of the leasing business model

Let’s now take a look at some of the advantages of the leasing business model for both the seller, lessee, and lessor.


  • Early revenue – leasing can help the seller meet a need for early revenue, even if some revenue must be shared with the lessee.
  • Relationship building – since many leasing agreements extend over long periods, the seller has time to build a sustainable and loyal relationship with a buyer.


  • Affordability – the most obvious benefit for a buyer is affordability. Many buyers are not willing to expose themselves to the risk of owning an asset outright while others simply cannot meet the high upfront cost. The leasing business model enables the buyer to pay in smaller monthly installments which can be budgeted for in advance.
  • Continuous upgrades – businesses that rely on the latest model equipment can easily upgrade when the current lease expires. This means they are never stuck with an obsolete model.


  • Increased sales – lease financing through a third party can help product manufacturers increase their sales. In these circumstances, the lessor is in a stronger position to negotiate a commission from the manufacturer.
  • Tax benefits – as the owner of the asset, the lessor can claim various tax benefits including depreciation and investment allowance to reduce their liabilities.

Key takeaways:

  • Under the leasing business model, a company purchases a product and then leases it to a customer for a periodic fee.
  • Leasing transactions normally involve three parties: the seller, the buyer (lessee), and the financier (lessor). The lessor purchases the product from the buyer and then sells access to the product to the lessee over a set period.
  • For the seller, the leasing business model gives them access to early revenue and the chance to build a loyal customer base. For the lessee, leasing allows them to avoid the risk and cost of purchasing an item outright. For the lessor, they may be able to negotiate a higher rate of commission with the product manufacturer and reduce their tax liabilities.

Tesla Case Study: leasing model to scale sales

Tesla has its own leasing arm, which is a critical distribution ingredient, to enable the company to scale its sales.

As an electric automaker and builder of sports cars and now trucks, Tesla’s competitors comprise companies like Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, Rivian Lucid Motors, Toyota, and more. At the same time, Tesla is an electric energy production and storage company (SolarCity); it competes with Sunrun, SunPower, and Vivint Solar. And as an autonomous driving company, it competes with companies like Zoox, Waymo, and Baidu with the self-driving software.

Indeed, Tesla’s leasing arm generated $1.6 billion in revenues in 2021, but most importantly this enables Tesla to make its products accessible to more people.

Indeed, there are a few key elements to understand why leasing matters in this case:

  • Make the product accessible: a first element is about distribution. By enabling customers to lease Tesla vehicles, the company can make the car affordable also to people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
  • Leasing coupled with Insurance: Tesla is able to adjust the price of the lease also based on the driving behavior of drivers, thus making it possible for them to get the vehicle at a lower expense, by improving their driving.
  • Build a new financing arm: when you have a valuable product, it becomes easier to build a service business around that product. The financing arm, which in 2021 generated $1.6 billion in revenues, has the potential to grow many times over, coupled with the scale up of the company’s operations. And this is also a business segment with potentially high margins, that can be also used to further scale the company.

Connected Business Model Types And Frameworks

What’s A Business Model

An effective business model has to focus on two dimensions: the people dimension and the financial dimension. The people dimension will allow you to build a product or service that is 10X better than existing ones and a solid brand. The financial dimension will help you develop proper distribution channels by identifying the people that are willing to pay for your product or service and make it financially sustainable in the long run.

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

Level of Digitalization

Digital and tech business models can be classified according to four levels of transformation into digitally-enabled, digitally-enhanced, tech or platform business models, and business platforms/ecosystems.

Digital Business Model

A digital business model might be defined as a model that leverages digital technologies to improve several aspects of an organization. From how the company acquires customers, to what product/service it provides. A digital business model is such when digital technology helps enhance its value proposition.

Tech Business Model

A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, mission, vision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.

Platform Business Model

A platform business model generates value by enabling interactions between people, groups, and users by leveraging network effects. Platform business models usually comprise two sides: supply and demand. Kicking off the interactions between those two sides is one of the crucial elements for a platform business model success.

AI Business Model


Blockchain Business Model

A Blockchain Business Model is made of four main components: Value Model (Core Philosophy, Core Value and Value Propositions for the key stakeholders), Blockchain Model (Protocol Rules, Network Shape and Applications Layer/Ecosystem), Distribution Model (the key channels amplifying the protocol and its communities), and the Economic Model (the dynamics through which protocol players make money). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build and analyze a solid Blockchain Business Model.

Asymmetric Business Models

In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus have a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility.

Attention Merchant Business Model

In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus having a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility. This is how attention merchants make monetize their business models.

Open-Core Business Model

While the term has been coined by Andrew Lampitt, open-core is an evolution of open-source. Where a core part of the software/platform is offered for free, while on top of it are built premium features or add-ons, which get monetized by the corporation who developed the software/platform. An example of the GitLab open core model, where the hosted service is free and open, while the software is closed.

Cloud Business Models

Cloud business models are all built on top of cloud computing, a concept that took over around 2006 when former Google’s CEO Eric Schmit mentioned it. Most cloud-based business models can be classified as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), or SaaS (Software as a Service). While those models are primarily monetized via subscriptions, they are monetized via pay-as-you-go revenue models and hybrid models (subscriptions + pay-as-you-go).

Open Source Business Model

Open source is licensed and usually developed and maintained by a community of independent developers. While the freemium is developed in-house. Thus the freemium give the company that developed it, full control over its distribution. In an open-source model, the for-profit company has to distribute its premium version per its open-source licensing model.

Freemium Business Model

The freemium – unless the whole organization is aligned around it – is a growth strategy rather than a business model. A free service is provided to a majority of users, while a small percentage of those users convert into paying customers through the sales funnel. Free users will help spread the brand through word of mouth.

Freeterprise Business Model

A freeterprise is a combination of free and enterprise where free professional accounts are driven into the funnel through the free product. As the opportunity is identified the company assigns the free account to a salesperson within the organization (inside sales or fields sales) to convert that into a B2B/enterprise account.

Marketplace Business Models

A marketplace is a platform where buyers and sellers interact and transact. The platform acts as a marketplace that will generate revenues in fees from one or all the parties involved in the transaction. Usually, marketplaces can be classified in several ways, like those selling services vs. products or those connecting buyers and sellers at B2B, B2C, or C2C level. And those marketplaces connecting two core players, or more.

B2B vs B2C Business Model

B2B, which stands for business-to-business, is a process for selling products or services to other businesses. On the other hand, a B2C sells directly to its consumers.

B2B2C Business Model

A B2B2C is a particular kind of business model where a company, rather than accessing the consumer market directly, it does that via another business. Yet the final consumers will recognize the brand or the service provided by the B2B2C. The company offering the service might gain direct access to consumers over time.

D2C Business Model

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) is a business model where companies sell their products directly to the consumer without the assistance of a third-party wholesaler or retailer. In this way, the company can cut through intermediaries and increase its margins. However, to be successful the direct-to-consumers company needs to build its own distribution, which in the short term can be more expensive. Yet in the long-term creates a competitive advantage.

C2C Business Model

The C2C business model describes a market environment where one customer purchases from another on a third-party platform that may also handle the transaction. Under the C2C model, both the seller and the buyer are considered consumers. Customer to customer (C2C) is, therefore, a business model where consumers buy and sell directly between themselves. Consumer-to-consumer has become a prevalent business model especially as the web helped disintermediate various industries.

Retail Business Model

A retail business model follows a direct-to-consumer approach, also called B2C, where the company sells directly to final customers a processed/finished product. This implies a business model that is mostly local-based, it carries higher margins, but also higher costs and distribution risks.

Wholesale Business Model

The wholesale model is a selling model where wholesalers sell their products in bulk to a retailer at a discounted price. The retailer then on-sells the products to consumers at a higher price. In the wholesale model, a wholesaler sells products in bulk to retail outlets for onward sale. Occasionally, the wholesaler sells direct to the consumer, with supermarket giant Costco the most obvious example.

Crowdsourcing Business Model

The term “crowdsourcing” was first coined by Wired Magazine editor Jeff Howe in a 2006 article titled Rise of Crowdsourcing. Though the practice has existed in some form or another for centuries, it rose to prominence when eCommerce, social media, and smartphone culture began to emerge. Crowdsourcing is the act of obtaining knowledge, goods, services, or opinions from a group of people. These people submit information via social media, smartphone apps, or dedicated crowdsourcing platforms.

Franchising Business Model

In a franchained business model (a short-term chain, long-term franchise) model, the company deliberately launched its operations by keeping tight ownership on the main assets, while those are established, thus choosing a chain model. Once operations are running and established, the company divests its ownership and opts instead for a franchising model.

Brokerage Business Model

Businesses employing the brokerage business model make money via brokerage services. This means they are involved with the facilitation, negotiation, or arbitration of a transaction between a buyer and a seller. The brokerage business model involves a business connecting buyers with sellers to collect a commission on the resultant transaction. Therefore, acting as a middleman within a transaction.

Dropshipping Business Model

Dropshipping is a retail business model where the dropshipper externalizes the manufacturing and logistics and focuses only on distribution and customer acquisition. Therefore, the dropshipper collects final customers’ sales orders, sending them over to third-party suppliers, who ship directly to those customers. In this way, through dropshipping, it is possible to run a business without operational costs and logistics management.

Main Free Guides:

About The Author

Scroll to Top