Should I Use A Business Loan Brokers or a Direct Lender?

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Should I Use A Business Loan Brokers or a Direct Lender?

Starting or running a business can be tough. Every step of the process can be a challenge, but perhaps none more so than getting the money you need to move up your business. The saying, “It takes money to make money” is true with all businesses. Even the simplest of businesses need things, so what do you do if you do not have the money to do what you need? Fortunately, there are lenders who are willing to loan you the money for your business. Unfortunately, finding the lender to do so can take some work.

Business Loan Brokers or a Direct Lender?

If you are trying to figure out how to finance a business, your head may be spinning with the available options, but we are going to try to help slow the spin. The first step you should take is choosing to work with a direct lender or going through business loan brokers. By the end of this guide, you should be able to make that decision much easier.

What Are Direct Lenders?

For the most part, direct lenders tend to be banks or credit unions. However, some direct lenders are not affiliated with banks at all. Direct lenders are lenders that loan you money directly from their own resources.

Let’s simplify. Let’s say that you need to borrow $1,000. You know Uncle Bob has it, so you go directly to ask him for the money. If you meet his requirements and agree to his terms, he loans you the money directly from his own pocket or bank account. This is a direct line between you and your lender.

Sometimes direct lenders have a small group of associates that they pool the money from or they even have avenues of crowdsourcing that they use, but they are not separate lenders. They are simply resources that your lender can tap into. The direct lender just uses them to gather the funds they offer to loan you.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of going through a direct lender:

Advantages

  • There are no additional fees besides those that the lender charges. Unlike business loan brokers who charge an additional fee for their services, with a direct lender, you will only pay costs directly associated with your loan. Direct lenders can provide more favorable terms, lower interest rates, and even higher loan amounts to certain businesses.
  • If you have an existing relationship with a direct lender, you just might have a leg up, so to speak. This is not always the case, of course. Some banks care not if four generations of your family have been banking with them. If you do not meet the requirements, you do not get approved. Others, though, take your existing relationship into account. Credit unions and lenders that do not belong to a big chain are more likely to work with you.

Disadvantages

  • Direct lenders are usually not helpful for newer businesses, have a lack of credit history, or have no detailed plans to show. They are more apt to work with established businesses or those that can show profitability.
  • They tend to require more paperwork and records. Between this and the need for a detailed business plan, preparing to apply for a loan with a direct lender can take a great deal of time- and give you quite a headache.
  • You have to do your own research for each direct lender you decide to apply through. It can take a while to figure out what a lender requires and then get it together.
  • Direct lenders usually do not have as many products as business loan brokers have access to. Direct lenders typically have one or a few loan types while brokers have connections with several products each.

What Are Business Loan Brokers?

Business loan brokers are more like a middleman. They do not loan money directly but rather cultivate relationships with and build a network of lenders. Going back to our previous example of Uncle Bob, let’s make this easier to understand.

We will say you still need to borrow that $1,000. The difference this time is that Uncle Bob does not have the money himself. However, you know that he is friends with a handful of guys that do. In this case, Uncle Bob would consider your situation- how much you need to borrow, how quickly you could repay, and so on- and determine which of his buddies will loan you the money. His buddy then becomes your lender while Uncle Bob is merely the avenue between you and the lender.

There is a good chance that Uncle Bob is going to want a little something for helping you out. He might just ask you to help clean out his garage. A business loan broker, on the other hand, will add a fee according to what you borrow.

While fees make some people run in the other direction, take some time to think about it first. Remember, the broker is handling pretty much the entire process for you, so of course, it is fair that they ask for a fee. The question is whether or not paying someone is worth it to you. If saving the time and preventing the headache is your priority, the fee should be worth it. Just be sure you ask how much that fee will be prior to signing any paperwork.

Advantages

  • You do not have to research and find a lender for your business– the broker does it for you. Sometimes the hardest part of getting a loan is finding a lender because they tend to have their own requirements and application process. Business loan brokers know the lenders that are in their networks, so they know which lenders to apply for. They can also look at your financial situation from the get-go and determine who will and will not consider your application, saving you a load of time.
  • Business loan brokers can prevent you from being scammed. Business loan brokers know the ins and outs of business loans, so they can spot a scam. Unless you are experienced in business loans, you may not.
  • Business loan brokers do the work and the applying for you. You skip the headache and worry about other important matters while you let the broker handle his or her specialty.

Disadvantages

  • Business loan brokers charge fees for their work. This is in addition to any fees and interest you already owe on the loan. The fee may be anywhere from one percent to 20 percent of the loan amount. On the positive side, they want to be sure they get their fees. This motivates them to find a loan with a lower interest rate so you can afford to pay all you owe.
  • It could take longer than a direct lender, or it could be a lot faster. It really is hard to say and depends on the particular lenders involved. As mentioned earlier, your best bet is to ask all lenders or brokers you are considering how long the process typically takes.

Deciding Between Business Loan Brokers and Direct Lenders

If you are still trying to decide between business loan brokers and direct lenders, here are some questions to ask and some indicators to ask:

  • Is your business new or still very young? Business loan brokers are usually a better option.
  • Is your business more established with a decent financial industry? Do you at least have a business plan with financial projections? A direct lender may have better options.
  • Do you need the money quickly or can you take a little more time with the application process? This can lean in both directions. Some say business loan brokers are faster since they have several lenders that they can work with. Others say that business loan brokers take longer since they have to choose between those lenders. The best way to know is to ask the business loan brokers you are considering and check any reviews you can find about that company.
  • Is this your first business loan? Business loan brokers are worth a try.
  • Do you have a relationship with a specific lender, such as your bank or credit union? You should consider trying them first. If they do not work out, you can always try other sources later.
  • Do you understand loans and all of the jargon that goes with them? Business loan brokers can help you through the process while educating you.

Choosing Between Available Business Loan Brokers

If you feel that working with a business loan broker is the right option for you, here are some things to consider when choosing between them:

Number of Lenders

Ask how many lenders the broker works with. The higher that number, the better chance you have of being approved. If they only want to apply with one lender, you might want to back away. Only applying at one kind of cancels out the benefits of hiring a broker. The point of the broker is to look for the best loan product with the best rates and terms. How can they know which lender will offer you the best if they do not send your information to them?

If the broker insists on applying to just one lender, there is a good chance that the lender or loan they are pushing will provide them with the best benefits. And, we can be honest here, this is about you- not them. If they are not looking out for your best interest, you do not need to do business with them.

Privacy

You need to find out just what happens to your contact information. If there are no privacy agreements, run the other way. You do not want your information sold to others. It is no fun having random calls from salespeople during dinner.

That is all not including the fact that selling your information to third parties makes you vulnerable to identity theft and hacking. If the broker does not protect your information, find one that does.

Fees

How much do they charge in fees? Are they transparent with those fees? If they are not upfront with you about the fees and the loan details, look for someone else. Most of the time, the fee will be a percentage of the loan amount. Therefore, they may not be able to give you an exact amount before hearing from lenders. However, they should be able to tell you upfront exactly what percentage they charge.

And sometimes the percentage changes depending on the amount of the loan. For instance, they might charge 10 percent for loans of $1,000 to $5,000 and 15 percent for loans between $5,001 and $10,000. That is no cause for concern. As long as they can tell you these percentages and the fee scale upfront, you are probably okay. It is when they try to evade your question that you should watch out.

Guarantees

If a broker guarantees that he or she can get you approved for a loan, it is a red flag. Think about it: How can they guarantee something they are really not in charge of? They are not the lender- they just help you find a lender. There is a chance that none of the lenders in their network will approve you for one reason or another. Legitimate brokers will not guarantee anything more than they will do their best for you because that is really all they can guarantee.

Credit Checks

Almost- if not all- lenders require credit checks to approve you for a loan. If the lender does not, that is usually because they are secured with something like the title to your car or a check. If a broker says that they do not run your credit, it might be a scam.

I have known brokers that do not run credit checks at the beginning of the process. When clients first go in to speak to the broker, if the borrower can give the broker their credit score, the broker will get a pre-approval according to that instead of putting a hit on your credit too early in the process. Later, when it is time to actually apply, they run an actual credit check. They might not do it up front, but they do run a credit check at some point through the process. If they say they will not run your credit at all, it is probably too good to be true. Watch out.

Reviews

Check any reviews you can find for the broker. The best references are those from prior customers. If you cannot find any references, you should probably stay away. You have to protect yourself.

Consider SBA Loans

SBA loan requirementsOne very reputable way to find a business loan happens to be the SBA business loan broker. These are loans that are guaranteed through the Small Business Administration, and they can often help many small businesses that cannot get funding through alternate means.

Bad credit does not automatically disqualify you. The Small Business Administration is specifically intended for helping small businesses, and the organization is aware that not everyone has the qualifications to meet the stringent requirements of most lenders.

Again, specific loans may have additional requirements, but these are most of what the SBA requires for you to qualify for its help.

These loans can range anywhere from a few hundred to millions. The SBA can also often find you loans with low-interest rates and some with education to help you through growing your business. Be sure to check out the Small Business Administration for more information.

Conclusion

When you are trying to figure out how to finance a business, you can easily find yourself drowning in a sea of information. That is why it is good to start with deciding which avenue to go through- direct lenders or business loan brokers. Making this decision first can help minimize the amount of research you need to sift through and make a plan of action. There are also and online lenders for your business loan, where you can apply for a loan from your office or home. But about them, another time.

If you have a partner in your business, be sure to discuss this decision with them. And, as always, consider seeking professional advice if you feel it necessary. Your business’s future is too important to leave to chance.

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The 9 Best Business Lines of Credit to Consider

Having a line of credit available for your business is important for numerous reasons. As a business owner, you need to understand the business lines of credit. You also need to find the best available credit line for your growing company. Establishing business credit is important for acquiring capital when you need it.

For success as a business owner, your business needs to grow over time. Growth requires capital. Business loan companies work with business owners to help them take advantage of growth opportunities requiring capital. When you first start your company, you won’t have a business credit history. The sooner you start establishing your business credit, the better off you’ll be.

A line of credit for your business helps you do numerous things that increase revenues and grow your company. For example, a credit line for your company could allow you to purchase equipment. In many industries, expensive equipment is needed for everyday operations. A business credit line can also allow a company to hire new employees or invest in advertising.

While business credit lines are important, you need to put research into them. You need to understand how to evaluate available credit lines. You also need to know about the best available business credit lines.

Lines of Credit to Consider For Your Business

We have compiled a list of different options for those looking for a business line of credit loan. You can consider all the lines of credit mentioned below when looking for the best option for your company.

Of course, you first want to figure out what you need. Before you search available lines of credit, know what your company is looking for. This means figuring out what your credit rating is like. It also means calculating how much you want to borrow. Crunch the numbers and plan carefully. Have an idea of what interest rates your company should qualify for before you get started.

Here are the nine best business lines of credit to consider.

US Bank’s Cash Flow Manager Line of Credit

If your company is relatively established, you might want to look into the US Bank’s Cash Flow Manager Line of Credit. This line of credit has relatively strict approval requirements. However, it also offers great terms to those who are approved.

In order to be approved for this line of credit, your company needs to be at least two years old. Those who are approved can borrow as much as $250,000. Companies can have a minimum credit line of $2,000. They can take out the loan for a maximum period of 80 months. The lowest available interest rate is 3.49 percent. In addition to the interest rate, this credit line also typically involves an origination fee of $75.

This credit line is best suited to small or medium businesses. You have a lot of options to choose from with US Bank’s Cash Flow Manager Line of Credit. There are numerous fixed-rate options to consider for those who qualify.


Fundbox

Fundbox is a business line of credit that offers a great deal of convenience. Business owners can enjoy numerous advantages with this credit line. One of the primary advantages is that the application process is automated. Also, the Fundbox line of credit is fairly easy to qualify for. The requirements for approval with Fundbox are quite easy to achieve. Also, it’s worth noting that funding comes very quickly with this credit line.

However, there are a few disadvantages to be aware of. For one thing, the interest rate for this business line of credit tends to be relatively high. Those who work with Fundbox are not able to borrow as much as they might be able to with other business lines of credit providers. The maximum loan amounts are not generally very high.

You don’t have to be in business very long to qualify with Fundbox. In fact, your company may qualify despite only being three months old. The maximum credit limit with Fundbox is $100,000.


Bank of America Business Credit Lines

Bank of America logoAnother possible line of credit option is a Bank of America Business Credit Line. One of the biggest advantages of these credit lines is that the interest rates tend to be low. Also, you can use a credit line from Bank of America over the long term for your business. With Bank of America, you can use multiple business financing products from the same lender. In addition to lines of credit, Bank of America also provides SBA loans, business term loans, and other commercial loans.

One possible disadvantage is that these credit lines are not always easy to qualify for. You will need to have fairly decent credit. Your business will also need to be well established. You also have to meet some revenue requirements. If you want to take out an unsecured loan, your company’s revenue must be at least $250,000 annually. You’ll also need to have been in business for at least two years.


OnDeck

OnDeck logoIf you are a small business owner, you should consider business lines of credit from OnDeck. There are numerous advantages to OnDeck credit lines. For one thing, you can get the funds you need quickly if you are approved. In fact, you can get funds on the same day that you are approved in some cases. Credit score requirements are not particularly stringent. You need a credit score of only 600 to qualify using your personal credit. Another advantage is that there is not a great deal of paperwork involved. The process of applying and taking out the loan is streamlined and simplified.

Some disadvantages to OnDeck credit lines include the fixed-fee structure. This means that you won’t save any money if you pay off the loan early. Another thing to keep in mind is that you have to make payments back on the line of credit on a daily or weekly basis. Also, you need to provide a personal guarantee in order to use a line of credit from OnDeck.


Wells Fargo BusinessLine

Wells Fargo logoRegardless of the size of your company, Wells Faro BusinessLine could suit you as a line of credit. This credit line is appropriate for startup companies. It can also be appropriate for large, established companies. Many business owners choose Wells Fargo BusinessLine because the interest rates tend to be low. Also, this credit line does not include a great deal of additional fees.

You will need to meet some fairly demanding requirements to be approved for BusinessLine from Wells Fargo.


Fundera

Fundera logoFundera is a business line of credit provider with a great reputation. This is a newer lender. The company was founded in 2013. When you do business with Fundera, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into. Fundera is devoted to providing transport financial products to business owners. However, you may have to deal with high- interest rates and relatively expensive fees with Fundera.

Fundera isn’t only a great source of credit lines for business owners. The company also offers financial products like cash advances, short-term loans, and SBA loans. You can also take out a loan with Fundera to finance a commercial equipment purchase.

Working with Fundera is ideal if you’re feeling overwhelmed in your search for a business line of credit. With exceptional customer service, Fundera will provide you with the advice and answers you need to optimize business finances.


Kabbage

Kabbage online lender logoOne huge advantage of business lines of credit from Kabbage is that they tend to be easy to qualify for. You only need a minimum credit score of 560 to qualify for a line of credit for your business with Kabbage. Another advantage is that the application and qualification process is so quick. In fact, you can qualify in only 10 minutes. You can also borrow as much as $250,000. Once you are approved, you get the funds quickly. You also have easy access to your credit line funds any time and anywhere that you want it.

A Kabbage line of credit is generally designed for shorter terms ranging from six to 18 months. One possible drawback that business owners have to be aware of is that the interest rate can be high. The APR for these loans will typically range between 24 and 99 percent. However, this could be a good option if you absolutely must borrow capital and your company doesn’t yet have strong credit established.


PNC Bank Secured Business Line of Credit

PNC logoYou have a lot of options with business lines of credit from PNC Bank. You can take out either a secured or unsecured credit line with PNC Bank. Secured credit lines are a great idea if you are looking to establish your company’s business credit. These credit lines are especially recommended over the short term to cover revenue gaps. Credit lines are secured by any business assets other than real estate assets.

Because these credit lines are secured, they typically feature lower interest rates. There is a lot of convenience in a PNC line of credit. It’s easy to access the funds. They can be accessed via checks and online. They can also be linked to a company’s business checking account. This makes it quick and convenient to make payments.

The lines of credit offered by PNC Bank range from $100,001 to $3 million. This line of credit will entail a yearly fee of 0.25 percent of the credit line amount.


BlueVine

Bluevine online lender logoBlueVine is another good line of credit provider for companies without strong, established credit. Perhaps the biggest advantage of a line of credit with BlueVine is that the requirements for approval are low. However, this is not the only advantage. BlueVine also has the advantage of offering fairly low-interest rates for those who qualify. The lowest possible interest rate available is only 4.8 percent. Also, BlueVine gets funds out to companies fast. Those who are approved can get their funds on the same day.

Unfortunately, BlueVine lines of credit are not available everywhere. BlueVine cannot offer funds to companies located in certain states. Also, those who cannot qualify for lower rates may have to pay high fees with BlueVine. Business owners typically need to bring in at least $10,000 monthly in revenue for a BlueVine credit line. Usually, business owners need to have credit scores of at least 600 to borrow with BlueVine.

Considerations in Evaluating Business Credit LinesThings to consider

There are key considerations to take into account when evaluating various lines of credit. You need to know how to evaluate options to find the credit line that will optimize your company finances.

The first step to evaluating credit lines is to identify the most important considerations. Make a list of what you need in your company’s line of credit. The following are the many factors to think about.

Requirements for Approval

One of the biggest limiting factors regarding business lines of credit is approval requirements. You can only take out lines of credit that you can be approved for. If your company is new, its credit may not yet be established. This could make it difficult to meet the approval requirements for a business line of credit.

You need to pursue credit lines that you can qualify for. If your business credit is not yet established, your personal credit could help you to qualify. That’s why it’s good to build your personal credit in addition to your business credit as a business owner.

Borrowing Limits

You need to calculate how much capital you need. Lenders always put some limits on the business lines of credit they make available. You won’t be able to borrow as much as you want. You’ll be able to borrow as much as you qualify for.

When you’re getting ready to find a line of credit, you need to know how much you need. Figure out how much capital is necessary for your envisioned project. Then, check out the various borrowing limits for different lenders. Pinpoint the lenders who are offering credit amounts that are adequate for your needs.

Repayment Options

You need to be aware of how repayment is made on the lines of credit you’re considering. When you borrow money, it has to be paid back. You need to factor repayment into your company’s budget. Be aware of how quickly borrowed money needs to be paid back according to the line of credit terms. This will help you with your budgeting.

Repayment convenience is also important. It’s essential that you make all your payments on time to avoid damage to your business credit. That’s why it’s ideal to have automatic payment capabilities available. This way, payments automatically come out of your company account so that they’re on time.

Costs

The costs of your company’s credit need to be carefully considered. Borrowing money from a lender is never free. You’ll need to pay interest on the money you borrow. This is not necessarily the only expense when you borrow. You may also have to pay a variety of additional fees.

A lot of lenders require fees for taking out a line of credit. They also may charge an annual fee for every year this line of credit is open. You’ll also probably have to pay fees if any of your payments are made late. You can, also, explore the benefits of personal loans for your business and how much they can cost you.

Your goal regarding costs is to find the line of credit that is least expensive for your company.

Customer Service

Cost is not the only important factor in evaluating business lines of credit. Customer service also needs to be considered. You may need to contact your lender with questions. You want to work with a lender that will be easy to communicate with. It’s important that you can get someone on the phone to answer your questions as necessary.

Even if everything sounds great on paper regarding a lender, you need to research customer service. You could end up with a lot of frustrations and regrets if you borrow from a lender with poor customer service.

Final Thoughts

As a business owner, you need to explore the above-mentioned business lines of credit. Learn as much as you can about each credit line option. Also, make a list of what credit line characteristics are most important for your company. This will help you to get the capital you need. It will also help you to establish a company credit history.

Once you have established a strong credit history, your company will be able to get needed capital. This simplifies many of the challenges of excelling as a company. Acquiring capital is among the biggest challenges that business owners face.

Established business credit assists your company in more ways than simply acquiring capital. Strong company credit can be helpful when you’re partnering with other companies or devising contract agreements with business partners or clients. A strong credit history shows that your company is dependable and established.

Get started establishing your company’s credit by opening up one of the above-mentioned business credit lines.

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The 7 Best Places to Shop for a Business Loan

Magnifying glass with searching for money bag put on the wood

People decide to start new business ventures for a wide variety of reasons. If you’re one of the millions of businesses that operate in the U.S., whatever your reason may be for starting a business, you may find it necessary to apply for a business loan. But before you begin to shop for a business loan, there are several things that you need to be aware of beforehand, such as the type of loan you need, how much you need to borrow, how long it may take you to repay the loan and a host of other things. In fact, the more you know about the kind of business loan you need the better.

You will need to be armed with enough information to provide to the lender. That way they will be able to make a more informed lending decision about your loan or some other financial business option request.

Best Lenders for Your Business Loan

If you’re interested in applying for a business loan now or in the immediate future, below is some information that will help you as you begin to shop for a business loan. It will also help you identify the best seven places to shop for a business loan.

Below is a list of seven places to shop for a business loan.

BlueVine

Bluevine online lender logoBlueVine is a lender that is the best for borrowers that have a FICO Credit Score of as little as 530. They offer a variety of different business loans that include invoice financing, business lines of credit, and term loans. BlueVine assists businesses that have been in operation for a minimum of six months and have a minimum annual revenue of $100,000. Their loan amount ranges between $5,000-$5 million. The term of the loan is between six months to a year for business lines of credit and between 26 to 52 weeks for term loans.

Concerning the credit scores, a credit score of 530 is the minimum requirement for invoice factoring. A credit score of 600 is the minimum requirement for either a line of credit or a term loan.

BlueVine does not have loan origination fees and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

StreetShares

Streetshares logoStreetShares is the best lender for borrowers who have been in business for at least six months. They provide term loans, invoice financing and lines of credit to business owners. Their loans start as low as $200,000. They require that a business has been operational for a minimum of one year but has provided loans to those who have been in business for a minimum of six months. There is no minimum annual revenue requirement or FICO credit score.

Their loan amounts generally range from the lowest of $2,000 up to approximately $250,000. They also provide loans for $200 for new customers. The term of the loan is between three to 36 months. Their origination fee is either 3.95% or 4.95%. StreetShares has an A + rating with the Better Business Bureau.

TD Bank

TD bank logoTD Bank is the best lender for providing online loans as well as lines of credit for less than $100,000.  They have roughly 13 branches throughout the US and offer SBA back loans. They also offer business lines of credit to small business owners as well as equipment loans, commercial mortgage loans, and expansion and renovation loans with TD Bank.

Their SBA loans that are offered include the following:

  • Express loans
  • 7(a)
  • 504

Funding Circle

Funding logo online lender logoFunding Circle is considered one of the best lenders for loans that have a maximum term of five years. They offer fixed rate term loans for companies that have been in business for two years. They do not have an annual minimum revenue requirement but the minimum requirement for the FICO score is 620.

As far as their loan amounts, they provide loans between the range of $25,000 – $500,000 and the terms are between six months up to five years.

They charge a one-time loan origination fee on each loan that they fund. Their loan origination fee is between 3.49% to 6.99% based on your creditworthiness. The fees and terms of the loan are both determined during their underwriting process.

Funding Circle has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Rapid Finance

Rapid finance logoRapid Finance is known as being the best lender for providing loans in the range of $500 up to $100 Million. The term of their loans is between three to 60 months. They have a wide variety of different loans that include invoice factoring, bridge loans, merchant cash advances, business lines of credit, as well as asset-based loans. To qualify for their loans, they require businesses to be established and operational for a minimum of three to 6 months.

Their annual revenue requirement, minimum FICO score, and their loan origination fee has not been disclosed. However, Rapid Finance does have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

OnDeck

Ondeck online lender logoOnDeck is considered the best lender that does not require collateral. They have been in business since 2007 and have served $100,000. They provide business lines of credit with fixed interest rate and term loans for up to $500,000. The minimum loan amount is $5,000 and they require that you’ve been in business for at least one year to qualify for their loan.

OnDeck requires that business owners have a FICO credit score of at least 600. They have not disclosed the term of the loans or their loan origination fees. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Accion

Accion lender logoAccion is a great lender for start-up companies. The loan between 15,000 up to $1 million however, they lend more of the lower end. It’s typical to see loans for a minimum of $300 up to $250,000 however. Their interest rates are 7% and there’s no mention of a minimum annual income threshold on how long the company needs to be in business prior to being considered for funding.

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What You Need to Know Before You Shop for a Business Loan

Before you shop for a business loan, you need to know what the loan is for because the lender is certainly going to ask. In fact, when completing your loan application, it is likely that you will need to plug this information into the application along with the loan amount. Below are some reasons why most business owners need additional financing and the type of loan lenders provide.

  • Seed Financing
  • Equipment Financing
  • Inventory or Purchase Order Financing
  • Financing for General Working Capital
  • Business Lines of Credit
  • Funding Needed To Establish Credit
  • Commercial Real Estate Loans

Types of Business Loans

As you begin to shop for a business loan, there are different types of business loans that you may not be aware of. However, it’s certainly important to learn more about them so you’ll know exactly what to look out for as you shop for a business loan.

Traditional-Term Business Loans

Traditional-term business loans consist of loans whereby a lender provides a borrower with a certain amount of money.  The terms are set for repayment over a designated period of time along with applicable interest and fees.

The term of the loan is typically between the range of one to 25 years. It is offered as a short-term business loan, an intermediate-term business loan or a long-term business loan.

The interest rates could be either a fixed or a variable rate. The approval process for traditional-term business loans is typically pretty rigorous. The approval often requires collateral to qualify.

Traditional-term business loans normally have flexible terms and include a monthly repayment schedule. These loans have been known to fund long-term projects and are also offered to established small business owners who have a proven track record and good credit. These loans typically include funding for major capital improvements, construction projects working capital or business acquisition.

The term of these loans, as well as the interest rates, are based on your creditworthiness.

The duration of typical business loan terms usually falls into three different categories: short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term loans. Each of which is spelled out in more detail below.

Short-Term Business Loans

There are several types of short term business loans. But they are typically designed to help business owners get over a hurdle or a financial roadblock. It’s typically for those who are having cash flow issues and need to make large purchases – typically for inventory. They are often solution-oriented and target small business owners who do not have a credit history.

When you shop for a business loan, you’ll notice that the short-term business loans typically have higher interest rates and higher loan origination fees. And because they often assist business owners get over a financial roadblock, they are sometimes large loans. These loans must normally be paid off within a year but sometimes the payment terms extend to 18 months.

Intermediate-Term Business Loans

An intermediate-term business loan typically has a repayment schedule of between one to three years. These loans are considered the most common for business owners to expand to a new location, refinance debt, purchase new equipment or hire additional staff members. Intermediate-term business loans normally require collateral payment

Long-Term Business Loans

Long-term business loans have a much longer repayment period, which is usually between three to 25 years. However, a repayment period that is between five to 10 years is typical. The interest is normally lower than short term loans considering the repayment period is scheduled over a longer period of time.

Long-term business loans are a great source of financing for projects that take a long time to complete. Often times the project is tied to the loan and could be used for collateral in some cases.

These long – term loans have restrictions and cannot be used for dividend payout distributions, to pay salaries or to pay off other debts.

Business Loans With Balloon Payments

Some business loans have a larger payment amount required toward the end of the loan repayment schedule. These are more common with commercial loans. As the life of the loan progresses, only part of the principal is repaid while the remaining portion covers the interest, then towards the end of the loan the remaining balance, referred to as the balloon payment becomes due all at once.

These loans are usually restricted for businesses that plan to have a large influx of cash near the end of the repayment period to cover the balloon payment.

SBA Loans

An SBA loan also referred to as a United States Small Business Association loan is a government agency that works with lenders to ensure that small businesses receive the finances they need to operate. Although the SBA does not provide funding itself, it does work with lenders to be matched with qualified entrepreneurs. The SBA has also been known to guarantee a wide variety of loans that reduces the risk for funders.

There is an application process for SBA loans that is extremely rigorous. However, these loans are also offered with extremely competitive interest rates and fees. They also may have a lower down payment and most do not require collateral.

The SBA is designed to offer additional support and resources to U.S. small business owners. Business owners can expect SBA a loan ranging from extremely small to exceptionally large. The SBA has been known to provide working capital so that business owners can get through seasonal hardships or other cash flow issues. The SBA is also commonly used to purchase fixed assets or real estate.

Additionally, the SBA has flexible standards with respect to working with business owners with less than perfect credit.

Where to Shop for a Business Loan

Now that you’ve been armed with critical information, you probably feel a lot more confident about the knowledge that you’ve just acquired. So now that you’ve gotten this new-found knowledge, you can put it to use as you shop for a business loan.

How to Qualify for a Business Loan

Although each lending institution has its own set of funding requirements. When applying for traditional term business loans, lenders usually consider what they referred to as the five C’s. They consist of the following:

  • Character
  • Credit Capacity
  • Collateral
  • Capital
  • Confidence or Comfort

Each of these areas is explained in more detail below.

Character

A character has to do with how the borrower has handled previous financial obligations in the past on both a professional and personal level.

Credit Capacity

Credit capacity has to do with the lender performing more financial analysis to better determine whether the borrower has the wherewithal and the financial capacity to repay the loan.

Collateral

Collateral is when the lender requires the borrower to have something of value that will serve as a back up should the borrower defaults on the loan.

Capital

Lenders are interested in finding out whether or not the borrower also owns additional assets that they can consider should the loan need to be repaid relatively quickly if necessary.

Confidence or Comfort

Comfort or confidence is associated with a lender having a certain level of confidence in the borrower’s business plan, whereby a much more in-depth analysis is performed as it relates to the income and expenses of the company requesting a loan. It basically is a form of due diligence where the lender confirms the sources of income and business expenses.

How to Apply for a Business Loan

Before applying for a business loan, you should take the time to do your homework based on the information provided above. Make sure you gather all the necessary information in advance and have any supporting information relatively close. Perform your own analysis to see if there is anything that you can do to make your company appear more favorable in the eyes of the lender. In other words, make sure your financials reflect your historical financial information that has been gathered along with any supporting documentation.

Also, point out any potential threats in advance so that you can let the lender know what solutions you have in place to resolve them should they arrive. You can also point out any financial trends that occur in your industry any additional collateral that you may have along with anything else that will make the lender see you as a company worth lending to.

Conclusion

To conclude, as a business owner, it’s important to build relationships with lenders prior to requesting a loan.  In fact, you may start off by borrowing money that you don’t really need. Money that you know you can pay back with your normal working capital. As time progresses, you can borrow more and repay them with ease. Then, should an emergency take place, you would have allowed the lender to observe your repayment patterns and your character in general. Also, you will continue to build trust and show lenders that you have a sound character, good business ethics, and have taken the time to establish your creditworthiness.

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Merchant Cash Advance When Money Today Matters Most

Owning your own business can be a tricky thing. It takes a special kind of business owner to be able to make sound financial and administrative decisions. Even if you have made the best decisions for your business, you may find yourself in need of funds quickly. There could be a wide range of reasons why you may need funds. Your reasons for needing money could dictate how quickly you need to obtain the money. It is helpful if you know all of the options that are available to you before you actually need the money. This article outlines everything you need to know about merchant cash advance (MCA). In this way, you can inform yourself before you have to make a decision.

What Is A Merchant Cash Advance?

While a merchant cash advance can give you money quickly, it is not truly a loan. It is a cash advance based upon the credit card sales of your business. As a small business, you could apply for a merchant cash advance and have money in your account fast. There are specific providers of merchant cash advances. They evaluate risk and credit in a different way than a typical banker. In this case, the provider is not called a lender and they look at your daily receipts from your credit card sales to figure out how much you are able to pay back. You are essentially selling a percentage of your credit card sales in the future to get money today.

You make an agreement with the provider that addresses the payback amount, the amount that is advanced, and all the terms of the agreements. Once you sign the agreement, they put the money into your bank account. After that, each day a certain percentage of your daily credit card sales is withheld to pay back the agreement. This percentage is called a holdback and happens every day until the amount is repaid. The higher the amount of money that you earn in credit card sales means the higher the amount of money you can borrow and the faster you can repay the money.

The Benefits To This Type Of Cash Advance

There are a wide variety of benefits to a merchant cash advance when you are looking for how to finance a business. Some of the benefits that you will get from taking advantage of a merchant cash advance include your ability to have fast access to the money you need when you need it. The approval process for this type of lending is easy and quick. You do not have to have any type of collateral to obtain approval for a merchant cash advance.

One of the great aspects of this type of lending is that your credit does not make a huge impact and even the worst credit is accepted. You can use this option for a large range of business needs. You can choose to make your repayment schedule on a daily or weekly basis. This can allow you to repay the money much faster. You have direct access to the merchant account which gives you an extra layer of advanced security. You do not have to make an actual payment to repay this cash advance because it is automatically taken from your credit card receipts. Most providers offer online access. You can apply for this type of lending quickly over the internet.

The Negatives To This Type Of Cash Advance

When you are considering a merchant cash advance, there are also some negative aspects that you should consider. It is important that you have a complete understanding of all the good and bad aspects of a merchant cash advance before you make the decision to move forward with this type of transaction. This type of cash advance usually charges higher fees than what you would typically find with traditional loans. You do not have as much flexibility when looking for a merchant service provider. There are limited options available and as a result, you may not be able to change providers.

You are repaying the cash advance with a daily deduction to your credit card receipts. This means that you are reducing the amount of cash that is coming into the business because it is going towards paying back your cash advance.

How Can I Qualify For A Merchant Cash Advance?

This is a fairly easy job, which you don’t hear often in the financial world. However, there are some minimum requirements for your business to be able to qualify for a merchant cash advance. Fortunately for you, the minimum requirements are fairly easy for most businesses to achieve. While this type of lending is great for a business that has a limited history of existence, your business does have to be operating for at least two years. Some businesses have low credit scores because it is hard for them to keep their finances in order while running a business. A low credit score typically will not prevent you from qualifying for this type of cash advance, however, you do need a credit score of at least 550.

Keep in mind, you are repaying the cash advance with your daily credit card receipts. So this means, you are paying back the money you borrowed with a portion of the money you make each day. Therefore, the more money you make, the more you are able to repay and the more willing the merchant may be to let you borrow money. As a result, you should expect that you must generate an annual revenue of at least $180,000. This type of lending is intended to be a short term financing tool to assist you with purchasing inventory, paying debt, or some other unexpected payment that you need to make.

What Documents Do I Need?

While applying for a merchant cash advance is a simple process, there are some documents that you need to provide to the merchant along with your application. Remember, you pay back a merchant cash advance with your credit card transactions on a daily basis. Since that is the case, the merchant wants to look at your credit card statements to see how much you earn through credit card transactions. They want to make sure you have enough volume to repay the cash advance. Many merchants also want to see bank statements and will put your credit report to see your credit score.

Typically, you can apply for this type of cash advance online and the application is often approved the same day that you apply for the cash advance. You should keep in mind that you pay the price for fast money. Also, you need to provide proof of identity when you apply for a merchant cash advance. You must present a valid picture ID, such as a driver’s license. A merchant may also ask you to provide your business taxes as well as a voided business check.

Some vendors may ask you to provide additional documentation, such as proof of citizenship and any leases that you have on the building in which your business operates. The merchant may ask for other information, too. You want to provide whatever documentation they request as quickly as you can. Failure to provide this information could result in the merchant denying your request. You do not want to be denied simply because you did not respond timely.

How Difficult Is It To Repay?

It is not that difficult to repay a merchant cash advance because they automatically deduct the money from your credit card sales. However, there are some repayment details which you should be aware of. They typically use a factor rate and not an interest rate, like more standard loans. The factor rate runs anywhere from 1.14 to 1.48. You then multiply the amount you borrow by this number and that gives you the full amount that you owe. It may seem like a low number when interest rates typically start around 8 percent, but not so fast. When you translate this number to a percent, it ends up being around 15 percent but can go much higher. However, the typical borrower ends up paying 20 to 40 percent more than the amount borrowed.

The merchant understands that when you are wanting a cash advance, you are probably more of a risk. Naturally, they want to make sure they protect themselves from that risk. It usually takes about 8 to 9 months to fully pay off your merchant cash advance. However, you may be able to get a term as short as 4 months and as long as 18 months depending on how much you earn. You should also keep in mind that this limits the amount of cash that you have coming into the business while you are repaying this cash advance.

The amount you pay back daily is called the holdback amount. This is a daily percentage of the credit card sales receipts. This is not the same percentage as your repayment amount, or factor rate. The holdback amount is based on the amount of money you are advanced, the amount of your credit card sales, and the amount of time you take to repay the advance.

I will give you an example to highlight what I said above.

You have an advance of $5,000 and you are paying back $6,500. That means your factor rate is 30 percent. However, your holdback rate is 15 percent until you have paid back the $6,500. The amount of time it takes you to repay the $6,500 depends of your credit card sales. If you have consistent sales of $10,000 per month, that means you are paying $1,500 per month and it would take you a little more than 4 months to repay the money.

Are There Other Types Of Business Loans?

As a business, you have some options other than a merchant cash advance available to you. Before making a final decision, you should shop around to business loan companies to find out what you may obtain. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are a great option for many small businesses and offer a wide range of benefits. The SBA does not give out the loans, however, they work with lenders that will provide the loans to small businesses. They are a federal agency that sets the rules and parameters for the loans by combining with lenders, institutions, and community organizations. They make it easier for many small businesses to obtain loans.

These loans are for long term planning, which is different from merchant cash advances. You may need collateral for this type of loan. However, these loans have fixed and variable rate options. The SBA backs the loan up to 90 percent so the lender feels secure in allowing you to borrow the money. If you default on the loan, the SBA covers up to 90 percent of it. The repayment terms can be for an extended period of time, up to as long as 25 years.

You should be aware that the application can take a considerable amount of time and you may need to provide a large amount of documentation, such as background checks, financial reports, and tax documents.

Can I Get A Personal Loan Instead?

When you are considering a merchant cash advance, it may seem odd to also consider a personal loan, but it is an option that is available to you. While a personal loan is not technically for business purposes, you can use it for anything for which you want to use it. You are taking personal responsibility for it. So if you are willing to do so and spend it for a business need, you can do that. This could be a good option if your business is fairly new and does not have a good amount of credit built up on its own.

A personal loan is when a lender allows you to borrow a certain amount of money with your promise to repay by making regular monthly payments until the loan is fully repaid. The lender adds interest to the amount you borrow as a fee for allowing you to borrow money. Your credit score is a large factor in determining your interest rate. The lower your credit score means your interest rate will be higher. When you apply for a personal loan, your income matters. So if you are not taking a salary from the business and you are not showing any type of income, you may have a difficult time getting a personal loan. It’s important to find a credible lender. Or to let the lender find you. Loanry can make that possible.

Is A Line Of Credit Loan A Better Idea?

One other option you may want to consider when you are thinking about a merchant cash advance is a line of credit. In this case, a lender extends you a certain amount as a line of credit over a certain period of time and you can use those funds however you wish. Once you reach the end of the time frame, you are no longer able to use the line of credit. You can use as much or as little as you wish of the amount the lender gives you.

You pay interest on the amount you use, not the full amount of the line of credit, unless, of course, you use the full amount. The lender and you agree to the repayment amount before the line of credit is extended to you. When you pay off the amount you have used, you can usually use that amount again until the term is up. Most of the time, you can renew the line of credit for another term.

The interest rate for a line of credit is usually in the mid-range as they tend to be much less risky for lenders. This may be a good way to establish credit for your business, especially if you have a new business or are trying to repair your credit.

Business Line of Credit That Helps Toe the Expense Line

Conclusion

A merchant cash advance may be a new term for you. But now that you know a little more about it, you may be considering it. If you are seriously considering this as an option, be sure that you understand how it is going to impact your day to day cash flow coming in from your credit card sales. You may consider it as an option because it does not take from any money you have saved. However, as we already stated multiple times, it does impact that money coming into your business from your credit card sales. If you have that money projected and in your budget, you must consider how that impacts you moving forward.

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Accounts Receivable Financing to Bridge The Short Distance

If you have your own business and it is doing well, congratulations is in order. Many of us dream of being our own bosses, but few of us are able to achieve that goal. Also, a small business can be a tricky thing to keep running. There are many unique needs associated with small businesses. Many small businesses have a difficult time generating enough income to remain operational for longer than five years. As a result, you may need to find ways to keep your business solvent during tougher times. It happens to all businesses. You should have a plan in mind, just in case you find yourself in a position where you need cash quickly. There are many options available to you, one of them is accounts receivable financing.

What Is Accounts Receivable Financing?

Accounts receivable financing is a unique type of financing that doesn’t fall under traditional lending. It’s something you should understand when you are considering obtaining money for your business. This is potentially a way to gain access to money quickly. You may have heard of this type of financing referred to as invoice financing. They are the same thing, just called by different names. You may not have heard of accounts receivable or invoice financing, so I am going to explain the basics of it to you.

It is a special type of financing where a lender purchases any invoices that are outstanding. The lender, who is usually called a factor, gives you a percentage of the money that is due to you. They usually pay you anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of the amount of money you are expecting. I will explain it with a real-world example.

Let’s say you manufacture clothes and you sent clothes to a buyer and you are expecting a payment of $10,000 from them. You are expecting that payment in a short period of time. A lender will give you 80 percent of that money, which equals $8,000 today. However, you pay them the full amount of $10,000 that is owed to you. You are supposed to give the money to the lender when you receive it from the buyer. The lender does expect the payment from you within a certain period of time.

You can sell multiple accounts receivable items at one time to a lender. When you enter into one of these types of agreements, you should make sure that you review the fees and percentages to which you are agreeing. Even though you may feel like you need money fast, you should make sure you are comfortable with the agreement.

Different Ways To Approach Accounts Receivable

When it comes to business finance, accounts receivable financing can be one of the more complicated processes. I presented it to you in the most basic way above but you should be aware, it can become complicated. You should also know that just because you have money coming into you at some future date does not mean a lender is going to be willing to lend you money. The lender is still interested in your credit score when they lend money to you.

There are many different iterations of accounts receivable financing of which you should be aware. This is a sale of your assets. Anything that you have in accounts receivable is an asset and goes into your balance sheet as a liquid asset. When you sell these for cash, you are selling an asset. That is the most common type of accounts receivable financing. The good thing is that typically, once you sell the asset, the lender is responsible for collecting the debt. There is an exception to this, which I will discuss a little later in this article.

When you decide to finance this as a loan, your accounts receivable then becomes collateral. Your company maintains ownership of the accounts receivable because you did not actually sell them. You are responsible to collect on the debt.

Pros and Cons To Accounts Receivable Financing

As with anything, accounts receivable financing has positives and negatives. You must weigh all the options available to you when making a decision about how to fund your business. It is in your best interest to have all of the information. The only way that you are able to make the most informed decision is to have all of the information.

Benefits To Accounts Receivable Financing

I am going to start with the benefits when you decide to use accounts receivable financing as a lending source for your business. One of the great features of this type of lending is that you do not need any form of collateral. It is considered an unsecured finance option. But you do not have to provide an asset to guarantee you will pay the money back to the lender. In many cases, a business loan does require collateral, or a long-standing business history, which many small businesses do not have before they need quick access to cash.

Another positive to accounts receivable financing is that you retain ownership of your business. You are selling an asset, but you are not selling any part of your business. You do not lose the ability to make decisions and you are not giving up future sales. The only thing you are giving up is the full amount of the money that is already due to you based on services rendered.

Disbenefits To Accounts Receivable Financing

I always like to look at the positives and negatives to every decision I have to make. I feel like it gives me a full awareness of what I am about to do. The same is true when it comes to making financial decisions for your business. There are also some negatives to accounts receivable financing.  You should consider it before you make your final decision about it.

This type of financing does result in higher costs for you. It gives you access to the cash you need quickly, but it does come at a cost. You must be sure you are prepared to pay the price. When you figure out the percentages, you typically will pay more money when you use accounts receivable financing over some other type of business loan. While you are necessarily paying out money, you are not bringing in as much money as you expected, so you do not have as much cash on hand. The lender is expected repayment within a certain period of time. If the money is not received within that timeframe, it may result in you having to pay more money in the long run.

You have to negotiate the terms of the contract that work for you. One of the pieces of the sale that you can negotiate is the length of time which you have to repay. It can be a short process or a long one. You have to negotiate a deal that works best for your business.

What Is A Full Recourse Clause?

When you opt for accounts receivable financing, there are two types of factoring that occur. Full recourse factoring tends to be the most common type of account receivable financing. This basically means that the lender may require a clause in the contract that states if the invoices are not paid by the customer within a set period of time, that your business has to buy back the invoices. That means your business has to pay on the invoices. Ultimately, that means you pay out more money in the long term.

Let me explain this in a different way. I will use a real example to highlight how this works:

In the example I used above, the invoice is for $10,000. So, you have created and sold $10,000 worth of product. The lender gave you $8,000, so you have already lost $2,000 in some way. The customer does not pay on the invoice and now you have to buy it back from the lender. However, you have to pay back $10,000 because that is what you have agreed that the lender receives. After that, it is your responsibility to go after the customer to get the payment that is owed to you.

Before you agree to this type of agreement, you should make sure you fully understand the amount of money for which you could be responsible. You should also make sure that if it turns out that you have to buy back the invoices, you will be in a position where you are able to do so.

What Is Non Recourse Factoring?

Another type of accounts receivable financing comes with non-recourse factoring. This means the lender, or factor, assumes all of the risks for your customers not paying on the invoices. Just because your agreement has non-recourse factoring, it does not mean that you are completely protected from a situation where the invoice is not paid. You should make sure that you completely understand any agreement that you enter with a factor. If you are not sure, then you should ask the question so that you know your responsibilities.

Some lenders only offer a non-recourse clause in the case of you filing for bankruptcy. However, you should know that just because your business ends up filing bankruptcy (if it does), you may not be protected from a customer that does not pay on the invoice. The lender may limit that type of protection only to those businesses that have good or better credit. If you have bad credit, you may not be given that protection. The bottom line is you must be aware of the details of your agreement. This can be a confusing undertaking, so if you are not sure, you must ask questions to be sure that you understand.

Does It Make Sense For My Business?

An important question for you to answer when you are trying to determine how to finance a business is does accounts receivable financing makes sense for me and my business? You really have to take a look at the pros and cons to determine that. You also need to understand how much money you may have to pay in the long term and if it makes the most sense for your business. Even if you do not expect that the customer will not pay the invoice, you must consider and account for that. If you have to buy back the invoices, will you be able to absorb those costs? If the answer is no, you may want to question whether or not this is the best option for your business.

When you find yourself in a position where you need money fast, it is easy to focus on the immediate need and lose focus on what this type of financing means for you in the long term. Take a moment and a deep breath while you take a step back and look at the big picture. You may decide that this is the best option for your business. You may determine that the risk involved is worth it for you to get the money right now. Also, you may have more money in a month or two that if everything falls apart with the invoices, you will be able to buy them back.

Do I Have Other Options?

There are other types of business loans available to you as a business owner other than accounts receivable financing. It is smart for you to understand all of the options available to you when you make a choice between your financing options. One of the most available options for you is a loan that is backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). They are a federal agency and they do not provide the business loan to you. They are backing the loan in the event that you default on it, they will pay as much as 90 percent of it. This makes your loan less risky. The SBA does work with traditional lenders in an effort to regulate the rules around the loans that they are backing. The SBA remains in control.

You should understand this type of loan is intended for long term planning and not meant to be a quick way to get cash. It is a lengthy process that requires a large amount of documentation. You may need to agree to background checks and provide financial reports and tax documents. In some cases, you may need to provide collateral. These types of loans can have fixed or variable interest rates. And the repayment period can be as long as 25 years.

Top Reasons An SBA Loan is a Great Way to Fund a Company

Does It Matter What Type Of Business I Have?

There are different types of businesses that you may be an owner of which might make a difference as to which loans you may be able to obtain. It has recently been determined that almost a third of all small businesses have not had a requirement to borrow money. So, that means that about two-thirds of all small businesses have needed to borrow money. That is a scary proposition for anyone that owns a business.

Many businesses use a business credit card to help them acquire items that they may not have cash on hand to purchase. About 30 percent of those businesses borrowed money from a bank or credit union. 12 percent of those businesses received some type of credit from vendors. The reality is that no, it does not matter what type of business you have, there will come a point at which you will need to borrow money or have credit extended to you. You must be aware that a situation may happen and be prepared for it.

Conclusion

While at the core, this article is about accounts receivable financing, it is also about being prepared. One of the ways you can protect yourself as a business owner is to be prepared for what situation may occur and come your way. While it is impossible to predict how well your company will do in these difficult times, you can arm yourself with information about how to handle specific situations. I am not suggesting that you borrow money you do not need, or automatically assume you are going to fail. The economy is a difficult thing to predict. And if your business is based on selling a product or service, you may find yourself in lean times where customers are not purchasing your item. You should know what options are available to you if you should find yourself in that position.

You should also know that Loanry is here to help you at any time with all money matters, including finding lenders. We connect you with credible companies withing seconds.

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Personal Versus Business Loans: The Differences Revealed

There is a lot to know when you are considering a loan. It is important to fully understand your needs when it comes to a loan, so you can be sure to get the right loan for your needs. There are personal loans and business loans and many variations of each one. Business loans and personal loans have many similarities, so you should educate yourself on the details. Continue reading to find out the difference of personal versus business loans.

What Is A Personal Loan?

There is a lot to understand about personal loans when you are trying to make the decision of personal versus business loans. You should fully understand all the details about personal loans. I like to start with the simplest definition of personal loans. It is when a lender allows you to borrow a specific amount of money. You then agree to pay back the money with regular monthly payments.

The lender can be a bank, a credit union, online loan companies, even family or friends. The lender charges you a fee to allow you to borrow money from them. That fee we call interest. The lender decides your interest rate and determines it by your credit score. You have higher interest rates when you have a low credit score.

There are various personal loans by many different lenders. You do not have to select the first loan you see. But you need to make sure that whatever loan you choose, it is a good fit for you. You should do personal loan shopping before you make the final decision when it comes to your personal loan choices. It is also important that you can afford the loan payments. If you cannot afford the payment, is can negatively impact your credit score.

Personal Loan Basics Spelled Out: Loan Shopping 101

What Is a Business Loan?

When it comes to personal versus business loans, there are no limits to how you can use a personal loan. There are limits, however, on how you can use a business loan. A small business loan is when you request to borrow money from a lender as a business owner. The lender can be the same types of lenders as a personal loan, a traditional bank, a credit union, or an online lender. If your business has multiple owners, then all of the owners are requesting to borrow money for your business.

You are agreeing to repay the loan by making regular payments of a set amount. Just like a personal loan, lender charges interest as a fee for allowing you to borrow money. These terms vary from lender to lender and based on your credit and qualifications. When you sign the loan agreement, you are agreeing to the terms of the loan.

The lender sets the terms, which includes the interest rate and the length of the loan repayment period. The lender determines how often you repay the loan, such once a month, or every two weeks. These terms drive how much you pay with each payment. As long as you have a fixed interest rate, the amount you repay remains the same and does not fluctuate.

Personal versus Business Loans: What You Need to Know

Are There Specific Uses For A Business Loan?

Yes, one of the largest differences between personal versus business loans is that business loans must be used for business purposes. Some business loans have specific intentions and must be used for that. For example, if you get an equipment loan, you must buy equipment with it. If you get a real estate loan, you must use it to purchase real estate. There are business lines of credit that can be used for smaller business items. Then, there are SBA loans that are intended for larger business needs. No matter which type of business loan you get, it must be used for the business.

You should have put thought into the purpose and not just apply for a business loan on a whim. Few lenders want to invest in a business that does not seem to have a lucrative idea, so make sure your plans are thought out. The lender wants you to show them that you are and can continue to make a profit. You must understand how to finance a business with any type of loan you acquire.

Can You Use A Personal Loan For Business Purposes?

One of the major differences of personal versus business loans is that you can use a personal loan for absolutely anything you want. With a few exceptions, there are no limits to what you can do with a personal loan, especially if it is an unsecured loan. Secured loans are slightly different. When you apply for an unsecured loan with a lender, you ask for a certain amount. The lender typically asks what your plan is for the money, but they never really verify it. Once you are approved, the lender deposits the money into your bank account. From there, you can do with it whatever you want.

If you choose to use a personal loan for business needs, that is up to you. One thing to consider is, if you are taking out a personal loan for your business, you are responsible. If you, Jane, are taking out the loan that makes you responsible for paying back the loan, no matter what happens to the business. Even if the business fails, you still have to make those loan payments every month.

If you do not, it negatively impacts your credit. So if you do not pay back the loan, the creditors will come after you to pay them. If you, Jane, are part of S Corporation or an LLC, you may not be financially responsible for the loan, if the business does not do well and closes. Even if you have not paid the loan, it may not impact your credit. You also may not be subjected to collection calls in the middle of dinner.

Positives to Using A Personal Loan Instead of A Business Loan

There are many reasons why you might consider personal versus business loans.

Applying for a personal loan is much easier than applying for a business loan. The application process is faster and you get a response, and the money, much sooner. You can apply for a personal loan online. When applying for a personal loan the bank wants to know your personal credit history and credit worthiness. When applying for a business loan, the bank wants to know everything about the business, including tax returns, profit sheets, and the business plan.

You may be able to get a better interest rate when you apply for a personal loan. You probably have a better and longer credit history than your business, which helps when securing loans. Many lenders are less willing to invest in a business, especially a new one that does not have a proven record of success. Lenders want to make money, too. If your business does not look like you (and ultimately they) can profit from it then they may not allow you to borrow the money. If you go to an online lender, you can have your money within 24 hours.

Some business loans can take several months before you find out whether the lender approved you. Personal loans usually take a couple of days. Some personal loans give you a response the same day and if you got it, the money is in your bank account the next day.

Negatives Of A Personal Loan Over A Business Loan

There are some downsides to personal versus business loans. The biggest negative is one that I have mentioned before. That is, if you take out a personal loan for your business, you are responsible for repayment. It does not matter if your business fails or succeeds, you are personally responsible for the loan. It does not matter how the business was set up. When you take a personal loan, you are accepting personal responsibility.

When you take out a personal loan, it impacts your credit and debt to income ratio. You are taking on the personal loan as your own personal debt. So it adds to the amount of debt you are currently using. It means that it increases your debt to income ratio. If your only income is the business and it is not incredibly profitable right now, it may seem that your debt to income ratio is really high. This could prevent you from getting other items, like a house or a car.

Personal loans tend to be for smaller amounts, so it may not be a large enough loan for you to do what you need. Not only are personal loans typically for several thousands of dollars, you are limited in how much you can borrow based on your salary. As mentioned above, if your only salary is the business and it is not profitable, that may hurt you when you are trying to get a personal loan.

Can You Use Both Types of Loans To Start Up A Business?

When you want to create a start-up business and you are thinking about personal versus business loans, you should always consider the amount of money you need. You certainly can use either a personal or business loan to fund a start-up, but you have to determine which one is the right one for your needs. If you have a start-up business, most likely you do not have anything and you need to purchase it all.

You need to think about your inventory. What are you selling? How are you going to get those items? Do you need to hire people and how are you going to pay them? You might need equipment or a space to rent. All of these items cost money and you may need to take out a loan to have the cash flow to begin acquiring these items. You may decide that you are going to start your business in your home and you are the only employee. I encourage you to do everything you can to begin making a profit before you obtain a loan from a lender. See how far you can get on your own before you begin to borrow money.

Personal Loans versus Traditional Business Loans

One of the largest differences between personal versus business loans is that business loans tend to be for larger amounts of money over longer periods of time. An SBA loan is one of those business loans that tend to be for higher amounts of money. They are similar to a mortgage in that they are a large commitment. SBA loans are backed by the Small Business Administration. This is a government agency that guarantees 85 percent of the loan. The federal government does not provide the loan, that comes from an approved vendor. These vendors are typically banks. The government is just backing the loan so that if for some reason you do not pay it, they will cover about 85 percent of it.

These loans can only be used for business purposes, such as purchasing equipment, refinancing debt, buying real estate or other businesses, or to be working capital. These loans can be for as much as $5 million dollars and you can take up to 25 years to repay the loan with regular monthly payments. They do have fixed and variable rate options which can help with the interest rates. These loans may have a lengthy loan application process that requires background checks. You may have to provide collateral for this type of loan.

There are some other types of traditional business loans, such as an equipment loan which is used specifically for the purpose of acquiring new equipment for the business. The equipment you are buying becomes collateral for the loan. If you do not repay the loan, the lender will take that equipment. However, this may help you get a better interest rate. Commercial real estate loans are similar to equipment loans except these are specifically for purchasing new real estate for the business. These types of loans often have reasonable interest rates.

Does My Credit Matter?

When considering personal versus business loans, one thing that matters either way if your credit. Your credit is always important, but in the case of personal loans versus business loans, it could be your personal credit, or the business credit, or both that matters. It all depends on the type of loan you are requesting and how your business is set up.

For a personal loan, only your credit matters. For a business like an S corp, only the credit of the business matters. If you are simply self-employed or have an LLC, your credit, along with the business credit may matter. What is important to know is that you want to keep your credit in the best possible shape that you can. Your credit not only impacts your ability to get a loan, but it also has much deeper implications.

When considering personal versus business loans, you must remember that a personal loan directly impacts your own credit and if the business does not do well, you are still responsible for repayment. If you do not repay, it directly impacts your credit and your ability to do other things, like get a house. This is important to keep in mind when you are thinking about personal versus business loans.

Conclusion

In all the information I provide about personal versus business loans in this article, I only touch slightly on deciding which one is best for you at this time. Most importantly, you need to make sure that you can afford to repay the loan. Businesses are hard because unless you are some mega-company that makes millions of dollars per year, you just do not know how well the business will do. You may have years where you make large profits and then lean years where you make little to no profit. It can be hard to predict. You need to create a business plan that allows you to make smart decisions when you make a large profit but can also carry you through the lean years. It does take money to make money. However, you need to be sure you can repay your debts.

Loanry

Construction Business Loans to Help Build Your Company

Many of us envision our business going from our imagination to an actual brick and mortar building. We may be very aware of what we want the finished product to look like. Coming up with the funds to build our dream construction can be daunting, however. We may wonder where we will get the funding to bring the physical manifestation of our business into a reality. This is where construction loans come into play. These loans give us funding to physically realize the construction of our business. So, if you are interested in business finance, read on.

What are Construction Business Loans and Why Do I Need One?

A construction business loan is a loan to fund the construction or renovation of a physical property meant to house your business. You can take out this loan to develop the land as well as other forms of construction on business property. You can compare a business construction loan to a mortgage in some ways. However, it for paying for the construction or renovation of a commercial property instead of a personal or residential property. A residential mortgage is there to pay for a pre-existing home or the construction of a home.

If you’re a business owner who wants to renovate your business space or build a new location for your business from the ground up, you may need a construction business loan. Most business owners can afford to fund the renovation of their business space or the construction of it out of pocket. A business construction loan takes away the need to have money for a renovation or construction upfront. From a practical standpoint, you’ll more than likely seek a business construction loan if you want to build a new space for your business or renovate your existing space.

Requirements For A Construction Loan

Lenders don’t take business construction loans lightly. They understand how risky this type of loan can be. As a result, they require a lot of information upfront. Business owners seeking this type of loan will be required to furnish intricate details regarding your construction plan. These details are called the “blue book”. This includes a timeline for the construction project,  floor plans, materials inventory, and suppliers and contractors. Besides, you’ll also need to supply information about the builder. This information will need to show lenders that you have found a reputable licensed builder.

As proof of a builder’s merit, you will need to supply the past and present projects of your chosen builder. Also, as stated above, you will need to provide a profit and loss report. Some lenders will ask for as much as a twenty-five percent downpayment. This works similar to a good faith payment and acts as insurance that you’ll be able to carry out the cost of construction, worst-case scenario. A property appraisal is also a key factor when it comes to lenders. They will determine the value of the property as a finished project. The property value is both location-based and market-based. Lenders focus on five key areas:

  1. Specific details about the construction
  2. A qualified builder
  3. Twenty to twenty-five percent Down Payment
  4. Your ability to repay a Loan
  5. Property value appraisal

How Do Business Construction Loans Work?

Lenders understand that the one size fits all approach can’t apply to business owners. Especially when it comes to business construction loans. Businesses are as unique as a fingerprint. Each has its unique wants, needs, and preferences. As a result, there are business construction loans to meet the wide and varied needs and preferences of different businesses. Business construction loans are unique in that they are funded differently from other loans. Conventional loans give the borrower access to the full loan amount immediately. You pay back the loan in pre-set installments over time.

Construction Loans are Funded in Increments

As you finish each phase of the construction, you can access the funds for the next phase. The borrower works with the lender to create a draw schedule based on the smaller projects that make up the construction of the commercial property. Typically, an inspection is required after each construction phase is completed. This ensures that the work has been done and has been completed correctly. This continues until all the funds have been released and the project is finished.

One key difference between construction loans and conventional loans is how the interest rate is factored into the loan. Borrowers will only pay interest on the loans that have been funded.  For example, if a business/borrower receives a construction loan for $250,000 but has only received $100,000, they will only pay interest on $100,000. As they receive more money from the loan, the interest will be based on how much they have received. Borrowers will never pay interest on funds they haven’t received yet. In a nutshell, a commercial construction loan is set up to have the borrower pay only the interest until the loan has been fully funded.

The Mechanics of Construction Business Loans

Construction loans follow a particular format. You can use the first part of the loan to cover the building, renovation, or reconstruction of a property. However, once the construction is complete, you use an end loan or permanent loan to pay off the short term initial loan. These loans are designed to complement the construction process and can run anywhere from six months to a few years. This type of loan is designed to be paid off once the construction has finished or it has been refinanced or sold.

Interest Rates and Fees

As with any kind of credit or loan, your interest will be based on your credit. Typically, business construction loans range from four to twelve percent. Of course, the smaller interest rates go to people with better credit. However, interest rates can be affected by more than just your credit score. The type of lender you choose will also play a role in the interest you pay. Typically banks have lower interest rates whereas hard money lenders typically have higher interest rates. So you should carefully shop business loans.

Business construction loans come with fees. However, the type of fees and the amount you will be required to pay will vary from lender to lender. The fee types and amounts vary by lender. However, some fees are common for most business construction loans:

  • Documentation Fees
  • Processing Fees
  • Project review Fees
  • Fund control Fees
  • Guarantee Fees

How Do Lenders Determine Eligibility?

Lenders understand the risk factors involved with business construction loans. As a result, they pay attention to a few key areas. They will look at your credit score. Lenders tend to favor business owners who have a credit score in the high six hundred and seven hundred. However, each lender will vary in their eligibility requirements as well as what they’re looking for. However, the evaluation doesn’t stop there. Lenders will look at business credit as well.

Lenders will also take into consideration your business’s debt to income ratio as well. Most lenders are looking for potential business owners who have a DTI of forty-three percent our less. Logically speaking, the lower your DTI, the better.

What’s Next?

After the construction of the commercial property is complete, the loan doesn’t become due in one lump sum. Instead, the borrower can now get a commercial mortgage. As with any form of real estate, the newly constructed or renovated commercial building serves as collateral. You can use the funds from the commercial mortgage to pay off the commercial loan. The payments should be more affordable for the commercial mortgage.

Type of Loans To Research

Since we are talking about business construction loans, naturally, we will take a look at certain types of SBA loans you should know about. Besides that, let’s also look at other types of lenders you can go to.

SBA CDC/504 Loan Program

Businesses who are interested in this type of loan must meet the following requirements. The company must be comprised of fifty-one percent American owners or aliens with a green card. The business must be for-profit and NOT publicly traded. The company must operate within the US or US territories. And the business must operate in at least fifty one percent of the space. Also, the net worth of the company can’t exceed $15 million. Plus, profits for two fiscal years before applying for the loan can’t exceed five million dollars. It should also be noted that businesses that participate in real estate ventures aren’t eligible for this loan. This loan is geared for businesses that are:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Partnerships
  • Limited liability companies
  • Corporations

 

SBA U.S. Small Business Administration
Program

504 Loans Provided through Certified Development Companies (CDCs) which are licensed by SBA

Maximum Loan Amount

504 CDC maximum amount ranges from $5 million to $5.5 million, depending on type of business or project

Percent of Guaranty

Project costs financed as follows:

  • CDC: up to 40%
  • Lender: 50% (Non-guaranteed)
  • Equity: 10% plus additional 5% if new business and/ or 5% if special use property

Use of Proceeds

Long-term, fixed-asset loans; Lender (non-guaranteed) financing secured by first lien on project assets. CDS loan provided from SBA 100% guaranteed debenture sold to investors at fixed rate secured by 2nd lien.

Maturity

CDC Loan: 10-or 20-year term fixed interest rate.
Lender Loan: Unguaranteed financing may have a shorter term. May be fixed or adjustable interest rate.

Maximum Interest Rates

Fixed rate on SBA Grow (504) Loan established when the debenture backing loan is sold. Declining prepayment penalty for 1/2 of term.

Guaranty Fees

SBA guaranty fee on debenture is 0.0%. A participation fee of 0.5% is on lender share, plus CDC may charge up to 1.5% on their share.
CDC charges a monthly servicing fee of 0.625%-2.0% on unpaid balance. Ongoing guaranty fee is 0.642% of principal outstanding. Ongoing fee % doesn't change during term.

Who Qualifies

Alternative Size Standard:
For profit businesses that do not exceed $15 million in tangible net worth, and do not have an average two full fiscal year net income over $5 million.

Owner Occupied 51% for existing or 60% for new construction.

Benefits to Borrowers

Low down payment - equity (10,15 or 20 percent) (The equity contribution may be borrowed as long as it is not from an SBA loan) ;
Fees can be financed;
SBA/CDC Portion:

  • Long-term fixed rate
  • Full amortization and
  • No balloons

SBA 7(a) Loan Program

This type of loan can be used to acquire working capital. These loans can be funded for as much as five million dollars. These loans generally require a few months to be approved, the interest is fixed, and no collateral is required. However, if you work with one of SBA’s preferred lenders your loan could be approved sooner. However, the time for approval can vary from lender to lender. The average amount of this type of loan was $425,500 in 2018.

SBA U.S. Small Business Administration
Program

7(a) Loans

Maximum Loan Amount

$5 million

Percent of Guaranty

85% guaranty for loans of $150,000 or less;
75% guaranty for loans greater than $150,000 (up to $3.75 million maximum guaranty)

Use of Proceeds

Term Loan. Expansion/renovation;
new construction, purchase land or buildings;
purchase equipment, fixtures, lease-hold improvements;
working capital;
refinance debt for compelling reasons;
seasonal line of credit, inventory or starting a business

Maturity

Depends on ability to repay. Generally, working capital & machinery & equipment (not to exceed life of equipment) is 5-10 years;
real estate is 25 years.

Maximum Interest Rates

Loans less than 7 years:

  • $0 - $25,000 Prime + 4.25%
  • $25,001 - $50,000 P + 3.25%
  • Over $50,000 Prime + 2.25%

Loans 7 years or longer:

  • 0 - $25,000 Prime + 4.75%
  • $25,001 - $50,000 P + 3.75%
  • Over $50,000 Prime + 2.75%
Guaranty Fees

(No SBA quaranty fees on loans of $125,000 or less approved in FY 2018.)
Fee charged on guarantied portion of loan only.
$125,001 - $150,000 = 2.0%
$150,001 - $700,000 = 3.0%
above $700,000 = 3.5% up to 1st million;
plus 3.75% on guaranty portion over $1 million,
12 months or less .25%
Ongoing fee of 0.55%.

Who Qualifies

Must be a for-profit business & meet SBA size standards; show good character, credit, management, and ability to repay. Must be an eligible type of business.

Prepayment penalty for loans with maturities of 15 years or more if prepaid during first 3 years. ( 5% year 1, 3% year 2 and 1% year 3)

Benefits to Borrowers
  • Long-term financing
  • Improved cash flow
  • Fixed maturity
  • No ballons
  • No prepayment penalty (under 15 years)

Other Details Regarding SBA Loans…

SBA loans require a large amount of information and supporting documents for approval. These loans have enviable benefits but the approval process can be quite extensive. SBA loans will likely require you to furnish:

  • A resume
  • Business plan
  • Business credit report
  • Income tax returns
  • Financial statements: Balance Sheets, Income Statements, Cash Flow, Bank Statements
  • Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
  • Collateral
  • Legal Documents: Business licenses and registrations required for you to conduct business. Articles of Incorporation, Copies of contracts you have with any third parties
  • Earnings Requirements
  • Working Capital

SBA lenders want to ensure that they are funding business owners who will have the ability to pay back the loan. However, if they approve you for an SBA loan there are many benefits. SBA loans aren’t underwritten by the US Government. Lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions underwrite them and the average loan amount is near $371,000.

Bank Loans

Bank loans may be an attractive option for businesses seeking a construction loan. Although the terms will vary from bank to bank, it is possible to make a down payment for as little as ten percent. You can get fixed or variable interest rates and the repayment terms and down payment can vary. Businesses often have up to twenty-five years to repay bank-funded loans.

Mezzanine Loans

Mezzanine loans are for situations when the loan to cost ratio is lower. As a result, the business owner has to come up with more money. The loan to cost ratio is an issue. This situation occurs when building costs exceed the funds available for the project. You can use a mezzanine loan to cover the part of the construction project for which you do not have enough funds. This type of loan is secured through stock which can be converted to an equity stake. Mezzanine loans make it possible for a business owner to fund up to ninety-five percent of a construction project.

What Type of Loan is Best for Your Business?

This question is highly specific and dependent on the goals as well as the current financial situation of your company. However, banks, credit unions, and private lenders are SBA approved intermediary lenders. These lenders offer 7(a) loans, which may be a good option for your company. SBA-approved non-profit CDC provides funds for CDC/504 loans.

Banks and credit unions are a good place to shop for business construction loans.  They offer SBA loans, traditional loans, and mezzanine loans. You can also seek funding through hard money lenders. However, the interest rates for these types of loans will probably be higher. These lenders are private and usually offer short term funding. These loans usually don’t require much money upfront and usually issue funds much quicker than more conventional lenders.

The Application Process

Once you’ve decided on the lender, you will need to prepare your documents for the loan application process. Plus, you will also need to provide specific information regarding your construction project. This information includes a building plan with specs and designs. You’ll also need to provide projected expected project cost sand estimates for contractors, materials, and any other miscellaneous expenses.  They will more than likely ask for personal AND business tax returns, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, bank statements, income statements, and debt schedules.

Your credit score will also be considered.  Keep in mind that negative like bankruptcies, foreclosures, defaults on loans, and other credit blemishes will be scrutinized. Some of these negative blemishes may automatically disqualify you. As a result, it’s a good idea to provide and explanation for the negative information. This can be a lengthy process for the lender and more documentation may be required. The final steps include the underwriting process and approval.

Can I Get a Construction Loan with No Money Down?

Most commercial construction loans will require at least a ten to thirty percent down payment. However, an SBA Microloan doesn’t, although you will have to come up with collateral. The SBA offers various no money down loans that require some form of comparable collateral. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to secure a no money down loan if the amount you want to fund fits within the SBA’s microloan funding amounts and criteria.

How Much Will Poor Credit Affect Business Construction Loan Approval?

The short answer to this question is “a lot.” Bad credit is a FICO credit score of 629 or less. Business owners with poor credit are a greater risk than their business counterparts with good or fair credit. This is because they are more likely to default on a loan. This is why business owners with poor credit may find it difficult to secure a traditional loan. However, some alternative lenders may give you a shot. Keep in mind that they will probably offer you high interest rates. Also, some of these alternative lenders may look at other things besides credit when determining your creditworthiness. Those areas could include including business revenue or length of time in business. There are five alternative lenders well known for funding business owners with less than spotless credit. They are:

  • BlueVine: FICO Credit Scores As Low As 530
  • Kabbage: Alternative Qualification Requirements
  • RapidAdvance: New Businesses
  • LoanBuilder: Large Loan Amounts
  • Fundbox: Short Loan Terms

These alternative lenders stood out because they were rated highly in three areas. They include customer service, qualification requirements and loan options. These areas may be beneficial in helping businesses with bad credit narrow their search and find a loan that will meet their unique circumstances Also, it should be noted that most lenders will look at your credit as well as your business credit. Furthermore, if you haven’t established business credit your credit will be the only gauge of your creditworthiness.

Closing Words

Building a commercial structure for your business is exciting. The new space your business will occupy will house the hopes and dreams of your company. As a result, it’s a good idea to know where you stand when it comes to securing funding for your company. Most Business construction loans require a down payment., as well as other constraints. Understand your why as well as the various other reasons why a construction loan is a necessity for you.

Have you outgrown your space? Has your business location suffered from some form of damage or loss? Is it time to perform renovations on your old commercial space? Regardless of the reasons, understand them and zero in on the best types of business construction loans for your company. A new commercial space is a common goal for many businesses.  However, to secure the right funding for your situation, it’s necessary to dig deep. And take an honest look at what type of funding would be best for you to pursue. Loanry can always help you connect with online lenders, if this is the road you decide to take.

Loanry

How to Get A Business Loan With Bad Credit?

Whether you open a business or want to expand an existing one, you at some time will likely need a business loan. Regardless of your situation, you may need a business loan with bad credit because not every business person has a credit score of 800.

Before you jump into applying for loans, let’s look at your other options. Despite where you’re reading this, as a business owner and finance writer, I will tell you that a loan should be your last resort, not your first choice. A lot of people jump at the chance to take out a loan because it seems easy. It seems like a choice that will provide them all the money, all at once.

They do not consider the interest added to the principal of the loan and how much it will add to the cost. Nor do they think about the fees. They do not consider what will happen if their business hits a rough spot and their revenue slows down. They just think, “Hey, here’s a quick way I can get the money I need.” So, before we jump into applying for bad credit business loans, let’s look at how to finance a business.

How to Finance a Business

You really have a wide range of choices in funding opportunities. You could suss out angel investors, venture capital, go public, fund your business with a cryptocurrency token, gather private investors, crowdfund or use a combination of these. Then, when you have exhausted all of those opportunities, you turn to taking out the smallest loan you need. That may mean applying for a micro loan or a standard small business loan. The best place to start for the latter in the US is the Small Business Administration. So, let’s explore each of these succinctly and you can read more about the choice that resounds most with you on your own.

Before you begin, examine your actual financial needs. You should be applying for the lowest amount of capital needed for two main reasons.

First, most organizations, especially lending institutions, loan or invest based upon your ability to pay it all back. Now, you might think, “Hey, an investor doesn’t get paid back. They don’t make a loan, so there is no interest.” Insert angry buzzer sound here. Your investors expect a hefty return on investment. They anticipate that when they invest in your firm or startup they will earn money from it. Either way you go, you should ask for the smallest amount. If it comes from an investor, you can buy them out more easily and go back to being the sole owner of the company.

Second, both lending institutions and investors recognize padding when they see it. Padding refers to when you add extra funding need needlessly. For example, when you create a line item budget and include a laptop computer with a terabyte drive, but the amount of cost you include is twice what the laptop costs. You padded the cost.

Loan officers and angel investors aren’t dumb bunnies, as my Daddy used to say. They recognize padding when they see it. They know what things cost because they look at budgets and budget requests just like yours every single day of their lives. It is the majority of how they spend their time. Your accuracy in your budget and budget discussion shows them your overall accuracy. It also reveals your honesty and transparency. Few people want to loan or invest with a dishonest liar who they have no idea how they are spending the money. Determine the smallest amount of funding you need and chase that amount with ferocity.

Despite all the preparation, prepare yourself to receive less funding than you requested. Less than half, 46 percent, of businesses receive their full funding request. If you already bootstrap your business, prepare to tighten up things further. Waste not, want not – another favorite of my father.

Angel Investors

Many startups hope and pray they’ll land an angel investor. It’s tough. Mainly, three reasons make it hard to land an angel.

  1. They like to remain anonymous.
  2. They typically do not know you.
  3. You need to already have a minimum viable product (MVP) prepared to present.

A very few wealthy individuals or families have formed investment offices to screen potential investment deals. You will need to angel investors that understand your industry and business model. You can check Angel List if you just began your firm, but if you already established, check with board members and business advisors first. Your best bet is an individual or family with whom you already have an established relationship.

Venture Capital

Established firms or startups can seek financing from venture capital (VC) firms. A VC bears close resemblance to an angel investor, except that the angel may be an individual more often than a VC would be. Typically, you will find a VC firm comprised of a group of investors with significant business experience. This firm may provide much more than funding, including:

  • strategic assistance,
  • potential client and partner introductions,
  • assistance drawing high-quality employees,
  • other business growth advisement.

Similar to the tough time landing angel investors, you’ll also find it challenging to obtain venture capital financing. You need an introduction to the VC. Most cold calls go unreturned and feeler emails get ignored. You need a colleague who knows the VC well to provide an actual face-to-face introduction.

At this introduction, you’ll have an opportunity to hit them with your elevator pitch. That refers to a 60-second or less description of your company or product. Until you can describe what you offer in one minute or less and make it sound great, cataclysmic, amazing, you aren’t ready. You also have to be able to prove what you said you deliver in that elevator pitch.

That pitch starts you on the process to getting a meeting. Simply setting up the first meeting can take weeks after your introduction. You get one shot. Go listen to Eminem “Lose Yourself” a few times before you launch into your presentation. Ah, your presentation… make it 15 minutes or less. Include tons of relevant, meaningful graphics. Bring an actual MVP with you with emphasis on the “V” for viable. You need to show the investors that you could take their money and genuinely enter production phase today.

If you do not yet have a MVP, you aren’t ready for this. Take your financials and your projections with you. Be prepared to get hit with every conceivable question. If you watch a few episodes of “Law & Order” in which the district attorney totally grills the perpetrator, you’ll have a relatively accurate idea of what this will be like. Don’t be shocked if they ask about your personal finances, too. At this level, as with angel investors, you are typically asking for a mountain of money. Between the time of your introduction and your meeting, you will be vetted. Expect full background checks.

Here’s why beyond the fact that you are asking for a ton of money. You are also adding a business partner(s). Most angels and VCs expect to either come on as a silent partner or to place a board member. They are buying into your business. Their upfront capital for your startup or expansion comes at a price. You will share ownership of your business with them. Their investment increases the your business’ creditworthiness. Landing a VC can be tough, but worthy.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

In today’s business climate, you have a choice between methods of initially going public with your business. If you choose the traditional route, your company will offer a public sale of stock via an initial public offering (IPO). From this you will amass a group of shareholders to whom you pay dividends when revenue is good. These shareholders obtain voting rights in major company decisions. You must undergo a formal process with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) which includes a not so small mountain of paperwork. The SEC also sets rules for how you can run your IPO and the regulatory environment remains complicated. IPOs only work for those with an already established business.

IPO vs ICO

Initial Token/Coin Offering (ITO/ICO)

Your other option in today’s business climate is an initial coin offering (ICO) or initial token offering (ITO). This option creates and sells a cryptocurrency coin/token on a blockchain. Unlike stock, the coin or token offered on a distributed public ledger, theoretically gains value and allows the purchaser to resell it on an open market.

Startups or existing businesses can use this as a method for fundraising. Depending on the type of token issued, you may have to adhere to SEC rules similar to those for an IPO. Tokens provide a great way to raise seed capital, especially for those not yet to point of proof of concept. You do need a well-researched whitepaper describing the proposed minimum viable product with a complete competition analysis. With an ICO/ITO you retain control and management since you give up no voting rights to shareholders.

Private Investors

A friendlier way to obtain funding is to take on private investors. This includes friends, family and customers that might have interest in your business. Again, you will add business partners and they can want varying degrees of control. As with VCs, the private investors add their creditworthiness to your business. You also benefit from their collateral and industry experience.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has become a go to for startups. Register with any of the major crowdfunding companies to gather funds from a multitude of micro investors. You can start a campaign on Indiegogo, Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Each website uses different rules. Some require you to raise the full amount to access funds while others allow access to partial funds.

Bad Credit Business Loans

After you have exhausted all of the above possibilities, turn to the option of a obtaining a business loan with bad credit. You may by this point need to take out a much smaller loan than previously. This is awesometastic.

This will save you money in the long run. The less money you require, the less money you have to pay back. That matters even more if you have bad credit. Here’s why.

When you have bad credit, you will not qualify for prime interest rates. Prime rates, the lowest interest rates available, go to those with exceedingly great credit scores. You would need a 680 to 720 to qualify for a prime rate loan. Those are the loans that provide interest rates of ten percent or less.

Bad credit to you might mean a credit score of 300 or so. To a bank or lending institution, it means anything under 680 or so. To a bank, you’re either a sure thing or nothing. Your credit score lets them know how likely you are to pay off your loan.

Remember that when you start a business, you will not have the business’ clout or finances to back your loan. You have your own personal finances. So, if you have bad credit or no credit, you need to obtain as much of your funding from a source besides loans as possible.

Spend a little time building your credit score up. You can start this process by visiting Creditry.com. The site will help you take charge of your credit and get things under control.

You need to get copies of each of your credit reports. You will have three – one from each of the credit reporting agencies. Study your reports to determine whether each is correct.

Complete a report form for any mistakes you find. Each credit reporting agency has its own. The agency will investigate your report and make an inquiry to the organization that issued the credit information.

If it really is a mistake, the agency removes the negative information from your report. If it is not, you will have an opportunity to discuss it with the creditor and make a payment plan. Either way, you will produce the result of improved credit.

You can begin this process when you first start your business financing activities. That way, while people are checking your credit score, potential investors will see it continue to move up. When your score improves while you are applying for funding, potential investors and financial lending institutions look upon this favorably. By the time you have exhausted all other possibilities for funding, you will have an improved score and be ready to apply for loans.

You now need to determine which loan type you want. You may still need a significant amount of start up or expansion capital. In that case, you need a standard small business loan. After all the other funding pieces, you may only need a small amount. That means you could use a micro loan.

Standard Small Business Loan

As I mentioned, you can still get a business loan with bad credit. It will not provide the prime interest rate you probably hoped for, but you can obtain a business loan. Remember that unlike all the other funding types discussed which bear closer resemblance to grants, you must pay back a business loan. You are just borrowing the money. The lender will charge fees plus interest. You literally promise, via a legal contract called a promissory note, to repay the money, typically in monthly installments for a specified length of time. Depending on the loan, you may or may not make a lump sum payment at the end of the repayment period.

You can opt for an unsecured or secured business loan or a line of credit. You will probably find it simplest to obtain a secured business loan since this uses collateral to guarantee you will pay back the loan amount. An unsecured loan is much tougher to get since you have provided no promised collateral that you will repay it. The third option is a line of credit. You typically get a line of credit based upon equity in your home or business.

Shop Business Loans

You probably do not think of shopping when you think of business loans. You can shop for them though. Visit Loanry.com to use the awesome loan mall there.

You will simply need to complete a really short form with basic identifying information which will enable Loanry to match you with potential lenders. Remember, Loanry is just there to make the process easier, but Loanry does not make loans. Lenders do. Additionally, if you use a loan mall, you avoid reducing your credit score since a soft check is conducted, and not a hard one.

Loanry then may connect you to potential lenders that typically loan to individuals with your credit score and situation. It does not mean that you will qualify or obtain a loan from them. It just reduces your research time by finding potential lenders for you. You still need to fill out the loan application from each lender that’s on the list.

Do not apply for all of them at once. Go through the list one at a time. Wait for a reply. If you get turned down, you move on to the next lender. If you get a yes from a lender, you are done.

Every loan application costs money. You must pay an application fee to be considered for a loan. These can run as high as $50.

In Conlusion

You can obtain the business loan you need. It may not be easy or quick, but you can get the money. Start with the methods that do not require you to pay back the loan. Move on to business loans for bad credit only when you must. You can get your business off the ground or expanded. It takes time, effort and hard work.

Loanry

A Guide to Understanding Different Types of Business Loans

Everyone has heard about personal loans, but not everyone knows the difference between business loans and personal loans. To make it even more complicated, there are many different types of business loans out there to choose from. If your business is a startup, needs new equipment, or is looking to expand, then you might benefit from getting a business loan. Before you make such a big commitment, though, you should learn about the different types of business loans out there. Business loan shopping doesn’t have to be difficult if you have a great understanding of what is offered.

What Are the Different Types of Business Loans?

As a small business owner, you will need to find funding from outside sources every now and then. It is important to understand the different types of business loans available to you. There are several kinds of business loans, and you may or may not qualify for all of them depending on factors such as how old your business is, what your credit is like, and what you want to use the money for. There is also a big difference between traditional business loans and some more nontraditional ones, and knowing how to seek out the kind of loan you want can save your business money and help build your credit.

One important thing to keep in mind is that most loans go to individuals, but business loans go to the business itself. A business is a separate entity, with its own credit history and creditworthiness. Any effect of not paying will only affect you in relation to how you are tied to the business. The liability you carry depends on what kind of business you have, such as whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.

Traditional Small Business Loans

SBA Loans

SBA Loans can be one of the best options because they can offer great benefits. This isn’t the kind of loan to take out for most last minute or emergency needs. U.S. Small Business Loans are for big decisions, like acquiring a company or refinancing a mortgage. Among the benefits:

  • You can choose between fixed rate and variable rate loans.
  • The financing from the SBA is good for up to 90%.
  • There are various loan terms, up to 25 years.

Part of the loan is guaranteed by the SBA, even in cases of default, making this one of the safer options. However, there are some drawbacks, such as:

  • The application can be time-consuming and will include everything from financial reports to background checks and possibly even owner information.
  • Because of the stringent requirements, not everyone will qualify.
  • You may be required to put down collateral to guarantee the loan.

There are different kinds of SBA loans, such as the SBA 7(a) which is specifically designed for very large decisions; the SBA 504 which focuses on real estate, including construction projects; and the SBA Express, a smaller class of loan with a $350,000 cap that is designed more for sudden needs like business equipment, working capital, and other needs. The SBA Express is also different in that once approved, the funds can be available in as soon as 48 hours. The SBA guarantees 50% of SBA Express loans.

Roadmap to SBA loan

Term Loans

Term loans are a more traditional kind of loan and are probably the most common kind of small business loan. Business term loans help with any kind of business needs that can’t be paid with cash, such as new equipment, working capital, or large expansions. Term loans are flexible and have flexible terms, and you can get one from a regular bank or a nontraditional lender.  More established companies like term loans because of the flexible terms, but companies with less history might have a harder time qualifying. The advantages to business term loans are:

  • Term loans have flexibility, such as the amount borrowed, the repayment terms, and the kind of lender used.
  • You can use a term loan for almost any kind of need or situation.
  • Using a term loan can help to improve your business credit ratings.

Drawbacks, on the other hand, can include:

  • Term loans may require at least some collateral to guarantee the loan.
  • There is a lot of documentation required in order to apply for a term loan, including business statements.

The interest rate is often easier to predict on a term loan because it will carry standard fixed rate interest or flat fees. The actual rate may vary widely and can be anywhere from 6 to 30 percent. If your company has been operating for at least 2 years and you can show a high enough level of solvency, a business term loan might be the best one for you.

Equipment Financing Loans

An equipment financing loan is a loan or lease used to purchase or borrow hard assets, like equipment, vehicles, machinery, or computers needed for your business. Unlike the loans already mentioned, an equipment financing loan is a secured loan, in the sense that the equipment itself can act as collateral for the loan.

Because it is a secured loan, your equipment financing loan may have better terms, such as a lower interest rate. Not every lender offers equipment financing loans, and your credit will need to be good to qualify. This may also be a good time to consider the advantages and disadvantages involved in buying versus leasing your company’s equipment.

Reasong to Finance Equipment to Your Business

Lease vs Buy Equipment

When it comes to equipment buying versus leasing, you have to take into account your own short term and long term needs and assets. While buying seems like a good idea because it means you can keep the equipment forever and give you more flexibility in dealing with it, leasing could end up saving you money.

When you lease equipment, you don’t have to come up with as much money to start. Unlike the major expenditure when you buy expensive equipment, leasing will probably not affect your cash flow much if at all. Also unlike when buying, lease payments can be written off on your taxes as business expenses. You may be able to get better terms when leasing, especially if your credit isn’t stellar. It is also easier to upgrade to better and more modern equipment as soon as your lease expires.

On the other hand, if you buy equipment, you will own it forever. With some kinds of equipment that lasts a long time, like office furniture, it makes more sense to buy it. If you decide you don’t need it anymore, it’s yours to sell. You may be able to get a tax break during the first year after a big purchase by using Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code to deduct up to $500,000 of equipment. There are also potential tax incentives for depreciation, so you may be able to deduct money off your taxes because your assets have gone down in value.

Commercial Real Estate Loans

Other traditional loan possibilities are commercial real estate loans. These are secured loans like the equipment loans, and the collateral is the real estate itself. If you have ever been involved in buying your own home, you understand what a long and complicated process it can be, with many players working together to provide the financing, appraise the property, and clear the title, among other tasks.

Because of the strict rules around selling property, the lenders can feel assured that the property really does belong to the person taking out the money. Like property loans, real estate loans are also secured loans. With that security and the fact that the loan is secured, you can get some great rates when it comes to buying real estate. You also get longer to pay off a real estate loan, usually 30 years, although you can usually get a better interest rate with a shorter repayment period.

Business Line of Credit

If you just want to have the funds available if you need them, you may want to look into applying for a business line of credit. You would basically apply for a certain limit but only take out as much as you needed at one time. Lines of credit are a lot like credit cards, in that you have a maximum limit but you can use them to purchase whatever you need at any time. You would need a strong credit rating to apply for this kind of loan, as it is an unsecured loan with a lot of flexibility. It offers some great benefits, including:

  • You can take out funds whenever you need them, up to your limit, without going through another application process.
  • You will only ever pay interest on funds you have actually withdrawn.
  • This kind of credit can help with all kinds of both short term and longer term business needs.

The disadvantages of using a business line of credit include:

  • If you do have poor credit and they offer you a line of credit, you will likely pay a higher interest rate.
  • A line of credit isn’t for big purchases that you would normally take out in one lump sum.
  • They may ask you to provide collateral to back up your loan, turning it into at least a partially secured loan.

Before you consider getting this kind of loan, think about what you need the money for. Some businesses use a line of credit to meet ongoing needs. To purchase supplies they need, or to make up for income they lose when business is slow, such as in the off season. Interest rates tend to be between as little as 8% and as much as 24%.

Nontraditional Small Business Loans

If you’re just starting out, you may not have much credit history yet, so you may not qualify for the traditional business loans. And if you do qualify, the rates might not be as good as you can get with a more nontraditional business loan.

If you are committed enough to your business, you may take it a step further and take out a personal loan to get what you need for your business. If you take out a personal loan to start a business, the rates and terms will depend on what kind of credit you have personally.

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The Pros of Using a Personal Loan for Business

The positive reasons that you should use a personal loan for business include:

  • It’s easier. When you apply for a personal loan, the lender will only consider your personal trustworthiness, so you only need to provide information about your own income and credit trustworthiness. When you apply for a business loan, you will need to provide all the information about the business, including business tax returns and other information that can be difficult to get together. You may even be able to apply for a personal loan online.
  • Your interest rate may be lower. Especially if your business is new, you probably have a much longer history of borrowing money and paying it back. That means you may personally be able to get better terms than your business can.
  • It’s usually faster. Because of the larger amount of information that needs to be processed for a business loan, it usually takes much longer to be processed. A Small Business Administration Loan can take months to approve because it is a government loan. You could get your funds with a personal loan in just a few days.

Pink color thumbs down.

The Cons of Using a Personal Loan for Business

The downsides of using a personal loan for your business include:

  • You’re on the hook. If your business isn’t able to pay back the money, you are the one responsible for paying back all the money. Even if the business closes because it doesn’t succeed, you will have to pay back the entire loan or your personal credit will suffer.
  • Your income to debt ratio suffers. Even if you plan on using all the money for the business, the amount of money will show up as personal debt when you use a personal loan. That means that you may be turned down if you try to take out another loan, like for a house or car, or you may not be offered good terms because of your high amount of debt.
  • It may not be big enough. Even if you have great credit, you probably won’t be able to borrow as much as a typical business loan. An unsecured personal loan might be for thousands of dollars, while business loans can be millions. Unfortunately, the amount you borrow will depend on your own personal salary and ability to pay the money back.

Reasons for Taking Out a Business Loan

Taking out a business loan is a big commitment. You need to carefully consider whether a loan is the best idea and what the effects will be if your company borrows money. The basic premise is the same as with any other type of loan, as far as that you will need to fill out an application and try to get money. But there is a lot to consider.

The first question you should be asking yourself is: why does the business need this loan? Here are some legitimate reasons for business loans:

  • Do you need more space? Are you doing so well your supply can’t keep up with demand? Do you need to hire more employees but don’t have space for them? Business growth is a great reason to take out a business loan.
  • Do you need new equipment? Is your old equipment outdated, or do you just need new equipment to keep up with your current demand? If you really need new equipment, it’s better to get it than to let your business suffer without it.
  • Does your business have seasonal needs? You might need to get supplies for an upcoming rush, or you might need to pay for expenses during a break. A business loan can help you get through those kinds of periods.
  • Does your business need to build its credit? Just like with your personal credit, your business also needs to build its credit. Your business builds credit the same way you do, by taking out a loan and making regular payments on time every time. If you work on building the credit for your business, your business will qualify for better loans with more favorable terms in the future.

When it comes to business finance, you want to make the best choices every time if possible. In order to grow your business, you have to make some tough decisions, but you can make better decisions if you have more knowledge. To make money, you often have to have money, and shopping for business loans is a way to find a good deal that will give you the cash you need to make an investment in your business.

Warning Signs

You don’t want to take out a business loan for the wrong reason. Using loans to meet everyday expenses or overextending your business will only hurt you financially in the long run. There are many pros and cons of small business loans, so it is important to make sure that you are making the right decision for your business. Here are some warning signs to look out for:

  • Are you regularly falling behind when it comes to meeting your responsibilities?
  • Is your business just not producing the kind of income you expected?
  • Have the original circumstances changed? You made your original business plans based on a particular set of circumstances. But the only thing you can really count on is change. Take a good look at the current situation and be honest with yourself.
  • Are you trying to bite off more than you can chew? Everyone has big plans, but you need to be realistic if you are going to be successful. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

Long Term and Short Term Business Loans

Another important distinction between types of business loans is between long term and short term business loans. Long term business loans are paid back over an extended amount of time, but there are more differences than that.

Short Term Business Loans

These types of business loans need to be paid back on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Normally the entire period for paying back a short term loan is only 3 to 18 months. When it comes to short term business loans, they are usually for emergencies, for immediate financing needs, or to take advantage of an opportunity. Short term loans may have a higher interest rate than longer term loans, and they need to be repaid quickly. The interest rate can vary from 9% to 80%, which is very expensive.

Some people make the mistake of turning to short term loans to fill regular needs, keeping them in an endless debt cycle. Unfortunately, if your business doesn’t have good credit, your business may only qualify for a short term loan.

Long Term Business Loans

You can use a long term business loan for almost any kind of purpose. You don’t have to use these types of business loans in a certain way. So you can use them for everything from purchasing new equipment to opening a new branch of your business. There is no limit to how much you can borrow with a long term business loan, as long as the lender is willing. Traditional lenders like banks don’t offer small long term loans, so if you are trying to borrow a smaller amount over an extended repayment period, it is better to use a service that can help you find a loan online.

It is important to do your research when looking for a lender for a long term business loan. Because different lenders offer different amounts, different interest rates, and different terms. Longer term business loans tend to have lower interest rates than short term business loans, with rates ranging from 4% to 30%. While the terms are better for longer term loans, these types of business loans are harder to get.

Humans head silhouette, light bulb idea.

Keep In Mind

The longer term is a longer commitment. And the lenders want to make sure they can trust you that you will pay off the loan over an extended period of time. Competition is also very high to receive a long term business loan, and there is a lot of paperwork involved. The bank may collect personal information from you before approving the loan, and some lenders will require collateral for at least part of the loan. On the other hand, online loans aren’t as cumbersome and don’t require as much paperwork.

Where Get a Business Loan?

But where to find a business loan shop? There are many places where you might look, but make sure you are dealing with reputable companies. Not every company is legitimate, and some offer deals that are legal but barely so.

Luckily, there are ways to recognize and avoid personal loan scams. Plus, there are a lot of legitimate business loan companies that want to lend companies money. Because they know it will help their business. There are so many ways to finance your business. Once you have looked at all of your options and have decided to get a business loan, then it is time to find the right lender. Credit unions, banks, online lenders, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are all great places to start. The process of applying for a small business loan is pretty simple from there.

The Process Explained

First, you need to select the right loan amount for your business loan. Then you should pull your credit history and score, to see what kind of options you have. For instance, a better credit score could mean a better interest rate. Once you know what your credit is like, you should create a business plan and gather all of your pertinent financial information. Evaluate a variety of lenders, so that you are sure that you have found the best option for you and your business. Then all you have to do it fill out the application and hope that the lender approves it!

Don’t worry if your loan application is rejected, it just means you need to try again. Once you find out the reason or reasons that they rejected your application, you can fix any of the issues that you have control over. Once you have fixed any issues that you possibly can, you should wait for a better time to reapply. Maybe waiting for different market trends is best for your business, or maybe you just need a year or so to improve your credit and build up your business profile. Sometimes you think you found a perfect fit, but it turns out differently.

Conclusion

Regardless of the reason your business needs financing, there is a way to get help with financing. There are many different types of business loans to choose from. And there should be one out there that is just right for you and your business. There are traditional and nontraditional types of business loans. As well as short term types of business loans and long term types of business loans. One of these will be the right one for you.

Loanry

Small Business Loan Statistical Overview: By the Numbers

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business is a business with fewer than 500 employees. Well, sort of. Most of the time. Maybe, under certain circumstances.

Small Business Loan Statistics & Definitions

I’ll bet you thought basic definitions would be the easy part, didn’t you?

As it turns out, what counts as a “Small Business” often depends on the type of business being discussed and not always what’s in your accounts receivable (AR) or payable (AP). Sometimes the number of employees involved goes well beyond 500; in other cases it’s as low as 250. In some industries the number of employees isn’t the issue so much as the dollar value of the business in terms of annual income OR annual employment costs (again – sort of, mostly, in general).

The SBA document breaking this all down is 49 pages long. I kid you not. Then again, considering that the SBA, however useful, is still a function of the U.S. Government, I suppose we should be thankful it’s not 4,900 pages.

An Example

If you do Construction Sand and Gravel Mining, Industrial Sand Mining, or Ceramic and Refractory Mining, and have fewer than 500 employees, you’re a small business. If you do Kaolin and Ball Clay Mining or Potash, Soda, and Borate Mining, you can have up to 750 employees and still be a small business. For Phosphate Rock Mining you’re allowed up to 1,000 people without losing your “small business” designation.

Crude Petroleum Extraction or Natural Gas Extraction can go up to 1,250 warm bodies and still be considered a “small business,” while in Bituminous Coal Underground Mining or Gold Ore mining you can retain your “small business” status with anything fewer than 1,500 employees.

You get the idea.

Dollar-based Industries

If your business is Men’s Clothing, you can make or hire up to $11 million annually and still be “small.” For Women’s Clothing, however, that range goes up to $27.5 million. Children and Infants’ Clothing, $32.5 million, which you should not confuse with a Family Clothing Store, which is still small up to $38.5 million. “Other Clothing Stores” cap out at $20.5 million, unless they’re a Shoe Store, which is still a small business until it consistently passes $27.5 million.

The point is, it’s different depending on what you do. This matters when we get to specific business loan statistics. The needs of large “small businesses” aren’t the same as those of smaller versions, just like the needs of one industry aren’t always the same as those of others. Business loan companies certainly don’t think so, and I want to be clear that we’re talking about a pretty wide range here.

Wait, but Small Means Small

Still, if you’re like me, none of these are what you first think of when you’re talking about “small business.” And you’re not wrong.

About 80% of small businesses have ZERO employees. Of those who do, most have only 5 – 6 in their early years. The overall average number of employees for ALL small businesses hovers at around 25.

Nothing against those Bituminous Underground Coal Miners, but most of the time when we’re talking about “small businesses,” we’re talking about SMALL businesses.

At the same time, when we’re talking about “small business loans” or “small business loan statistics,” we mean all of them. Welcome back, Potash, Soda, and Borate Miners! We weren’t trying to make you feel left out or anything.

Over the past decade, small businesses have been responsible for the vast majority of new jobs and increased employment. If you’re looking for meaningful job growth, small business is where it’s at.

Who’s Starting These Small Businesses?

Entrepreneurship is about three things: the “good idea,” the perseverance to make it work, and the willingness to take risks with absolutely no guarantee of reward. The first two aren’t easy by any stretch, but it’s that last one that bewilders those who aren’t entrepreneurs. They simply can’t imagine why you’d do what you do or give up what you give up, knowing full well that even if you do everything right, it might not work.

Of course for entrepreneurs the answer is simple: because it might.

Here are some highlights from the extensive statistics compiled by the U.S. Small Business Administration regarding who makes up the thirty million plus small business owners in the U.S. at the moment:

  • Just over a THIRD (36.3%) are women.
  • Almost a THIRD are (29.3%) minority-owned. About 12.2% are Hispanic-owned and another 9.5% are African American.
  • A little under a ONE in TEN (9.3%) are veterans.
  • Nearly 15% are started and owned by immigrants.
  • Only about 4% are under the age of 30. Another 14% are 30 – 39.
  • Things really start cooking at 40, it seems. Roughly 25%, or ONE QUARTER small business owners are between 40 – 49, and 35%, over a THIRD, are 50 – 59.
  • Not that their elders are slacking. The remaining 22%, still more than ONE in FIVE are over the age of 60.
  • Almost exactly a THIRD have a High School Diploma or GED as their highest academic achievements, at least in terms of traditional education.
  • Nearly HALF have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree, leaving about One in FIVE with a Masters or Doctorate.

What Types of Businesses Are They Starting With These Loans?

There are two ways to respond to such a question – one is to discuss the nature of the business itself, the other to address organizational choices. We’ll start with the latter.

Sole Proprietorship

This is by far the most common structure for a beginning business, and it’s one of the easiest to establish. Essentially, if you start doing any sort of work for which you receive payment or hope to receive payment, but you’re not technically an employee of someone else, then you’re a sole proprietor. Local entertainers, business consultants, or freelance writers are common examples of sole proprietorship. In fact, of businesses considered “non-employers” – that is, they don’t involve hiring anyone outside of the owner or owners – around 86% are sole proprietorships.

It might not always be obvious from the name. Sole Proprietors sometimes do business as themselves (“Bob Frankenfurter, Magician”) or file for a DBA – “doing business as” (“Magic-In-A-Jiffy Entertainment”). Either way, you are the business and the business is you. That makes the paperwork a little easier. Although you’ll file an additional page or two with your personal income taxes to include any business expenses or income.

Decisions are Yours

All business-related decision-making is entirely yours as well. Whether you work twenty hours a week or sixty, whether you re-invest every dollar or give yourself some flexibility through a business funding loan, it’s all entirely up to you. One hundred percent.

Finally, of course, any profits or benefits are 100% yours – as are losses and liabilities. You’re taking all the risk, so you get all the rewards as well as any failures. That includes any consequences from employee behavior as well. While most businesses with no employees are sole proprietorships, many sole proprietorships have several employees. If one of them screws up and damage is done, a lawsuit is filed, or money is lost, the owner is responsible just as if he or she did it themselves.

A recent survey of members of the National Small Business Association (NSBA) indicated that around 12% of members were a sole proprietorship.

Partnership

You think marriage requires communication and compatibility? Try going into business together.

As the name suggests, a partnership is the combined ownership of two or more people. It is otherwise similar to a sole proprietorship, other than in how liability is distributed.

In a Limited Partnership (LP), one partner carries unlimited liability for any negatives which may occur while the other partner’s (or partners’) liability is legally limited. As you might suspect, this changes the power structure as well. Partners with limited liability also have limited direct control, the details of which are spelled out in their collective partnership agreement.

The alternative is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), in which all partners have limited liability and – unless otherwise specified in their agreement – share equal control over the business. LLPs protect partners from debts or other liabilities of either the business itself OR the other partner(s). The advantages of such protection are obvious.

Only about 2% of NSBA members indicated their business was a either an Limited Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership. That doesn’t make it a bad idea – just less common than other forms.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The Limited Liability Company structure allows business owners to retain the liability protection of a corporation while being taxed as a sole proprietor or partnership. Even if the business goes south, faces legal assaults, or otherwise ends up on the dark side of business loan statistics, the powers-that-be cannot come take your car, your house, or your personal financial resources to satisfy the debts of your business or any claims against it. It’s a whole separate entity, at least legally.

LLCs dissolve easily upon the death or other removal of any of the owners or partners, or after a set amount of time – usually thirty years. They are very popular for mid-sized and growing businesses. However, for the nice compromise they offer between operating as a sole proprietorship vs. a large corporation.

Just over a third of NSBA members (35%) reported their business as an LLC.

Corporate Structure LLC

Corporations

Corporations (sometimes called “C-Corps”) are, legally speaking, entirely separate from their owners. They profit as legal entities, pay taxes as legal entities, may sue or be sued as legal entities, and since 2010, they have many of the same Bill of Rights protections as individuals do – at least according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The major advantage of a corporation is that separateness. While the business may suffer, the individual cannot be held personal responsible for the company’s losses, actions, or other liabilities. On the flip side, there’s all the paperwork associated with incorporation. Just hearing or reading the term “corporation” conjures images of large rooms full of desks with people filing folders and filling out forms and delivering reports or requests up and down the hierarchy. What we see all the time in corporate environments from movies or TV shows may be a bit clichéd, but it’s not entirely unfounded.

Corporations pay taxes on their profits (assuming they make them) and again when shareholders receive dividends. This is sometimes referred to as “double taxation.” Individual shareholders are required to report profit from stocks on their personal tax returns, which brings up another feature of corporations – they can sell stock to generate capital.

Slightly under one in five NSBA members (19%) indicated their business is a corporation. This is impressively high, given that NSBA members are, by definition, “small business” owners (although that definition can be deceptive – see above) and incorporation is generally associated with larger businesses.

S Corps

An S Corp is not an entirely distinct form of business organization so much as a tax structure. The name comes, in fact, from Chapter 1, Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code, which addresses corporate taxation.

Plus, it’s catchy. “S Corp” kinda rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

The central feature of an S Corp is that it allows your business to avoid that “double taxation” issue mentioned above for C Corps. The corporation does not pay corporate taxes; all profits (or losses) are passed along directly to shareholders, who include them on their personal tax returns. At the same time, ownership maintains limited liability as they would with an LLC or Corporation.

In exchange for these benefits, S Corps have limits in terms of the number of investors the law allow and the types stockholders they can have. S Corps may have no more than 100 shareholders and only one type of stock, and shareholders must be U.S. citizens or legal residents. (With corporations, investors can be virtually anyone, including other corporations or partnerships.)

S Corps are still a very popular with small businesses. One in three NSBA members (33%) reported their business includes the S Corp designation.

To summarize, if we assume the membership of the NSBA more or less reflects small business in the U.S. as a whole, roughly a third of small businesses are LLCs, another third are S Corps, and the rest are divided among corporations (19%), partnerships (2%), and sole proprietorships (12%). There are actually numerous other variations, but they’re the sort of thing you take up with your lawyer to address your very specific circumstances.

Where Is The Money Coming From?

The most recent NSBA survey found that about a third of small businesses who responded reported no need to borrow money or expend extra capital during the previous year (2017). Another third reported using revenue from the business to expand or do whatever else they needed to do, and similar numbers indicated the use of a business credit card in the mix. (Respondents could indicate more than one source of financing during the year.)

Roughly a third indicated a bank or credit union loan of some sort. 13% borrowed from friends or family, 12% received some sort of extended credit from vendors, and 3% managed to secure “Angel Investors.” There were miscellaneous variations if you’d like to read the rest of it – it’s quite interesting for a table of numbers.

By the Numbers:

That’s business success.  The numbers when it comes to business failures are much more consistent. 82 percent of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems. That’s a big deal, my friend. That offsets a whole lot of other business loan statistics.

Why Do Entrepreneurs Take Out Business Loans?

We’ve talked before about different sorts of business loans and what requirements various business financing lenders are most likely to have. Both are worth revisiting if you’re considering a small business loan. For now, we’ll recap a few general things, then talk about where you go from here.

Most small businesses take out loans for one of four general reasons:

This one makes plenty of sense. If your business is brand new, you probably haven’t made much money with it yet. Duh.
If you use traditional lenders, you’ll most likely need to either establish a long, solid personal credit history or be able to offer up sufficient collateral, as well as provide a fully documented business plan. Online business lenders have specific requirements as well, but tend to be somewhat more flexible and eager to earn your business – although interest rates may reflect the increased risk they’re willing to take on you.

What a great problem to have. You need more space and more equipment. You need more people. Growth is great, but remember that it has to be the right growth at the right time in the right way. Work with the lender of your choice to discuss manageable debt – low enough that you’re confident about timely repayment, but high enough to finance the meaningful growth you need.

Another good problem, although this one can reflect the seasonal nature of your business as much as actual sustained growth. Maybe your business includes a retail or rental element, or maybe your service requires a ready supply of parts or equipment. Either way, flexible financing can help you meet customer needs quickly and effectively, which in turn means you keep needing more.

This can mean a range of things. From bill consolidation at the business level to ensuring the underlying structure of the business and your business plan are solid. It might also include, however, your long-term goal to have established credit down the road should you ever require substantial financing for growth, updates, or any other major need.

If you’ve started your own business, you’re clearly not afraid of hard work. You’re apparently not adverse to risk, either. It’s possible, therefore, that in previous years you’ve taken risks which haven’t worked out, despite your best efforts. Or, maybe you haven’t always been the person you are now, and your credit history reflects that. Sometimes we can do EVERYTHING right and life still hits us with unexpected expenses and challenges which impact our credit rating and our cash flow. That can make it tricky when it’s time to figure out how to finance a business.

Small Business Loans

Small business loans now, which you consistently and intentionally repay according to whatever agreement you’ve worked out with your lender, can be useful for current practical needs while helping you build or rebuild your credit – individually or as a business – towards the future.

I’ve spoken with numerous entrepreneurs whose local banks or credit unions were entirely sympathetic, but simply unwilling to work with them on a small business loan without co-signers, collateral, or other impracticality in place to protect the institution’s interest. That’s fair. They’re businesses, too, and businesses have to minimize risk in hopes of making a profit.

It’s because of circumstances like yours, however, that organizations like Loanry exist. It’s the 21st century, and we have more options than ever before when it comes to the music we choose to listen to, the way we access movies, TV shows, or other forms of episodic programming, the cell phones we buy, the electronic devices we use, the social media platforms we prefer… we can even pick and choose from potential mates through and endless array of dating apps and services.

If you wouldn’t take the very first match that comes up on DearGodPleaseDateMe.com, why would you not look at all of your options to learn which small business loans might be right for you? That would be unnecessarily careless and a tad irresponsible, don’t you think?

All Types of Business Loans

I’m not suggesting you simply Google all business loans and then take your chances with the top search result or highest-paid banner ad which appears. That would be even worse than not looking online at all, in my humble opinion. But, as it turns out, we can help in that department. (I know – what a coincidence!) See, we’ll ask you for some basic information about yourself and what you’re looking for, then connect you with verified lenders we think best match your needs.

Then, you talk to them. They talk to you. See if you hit it off. See if the vibe feels right. Maybe some magic happens and you decide to borrow and they decide to lend and a long-term relationship develops. Or maybe it doesn’t – no worries, there are plenty more out there. That’s the great thing about the freedom such a variety of lenders give you. Instead of you going around, hat in hand, trying to persuade guys in suits or tense blondes in pencil skirts that you really do have a great business idea, you become the customer. Lenders compete for your business by trying to offer you the best terms they can manage. All we do is help you connect with the right people to get started.

How Well Do Businesses Do After They’ve Borrowed All That Money?

If you’re looking for business loan statistics related to the success and failure rates of different sorts of businesses, we can only really talk about these in general terms. Like so many things related to small business or economics, the terminology and methods of measuring success or failure vary so widely from source to source that it’s difficult to speak in great detail without jumping the proverbial rails a bit. There’s also no central federal source tracking each and every small business broken down by what I’d consider the most convenient definitions. We could go state-by-state, but of course they don’t all classify things the same way.

How Rude, But We do Know Typical What Types of Companies Succeed…

Nevertheless, generally speaking, the most successful new small businesses in recent years are small-print-and-lots-of-paperwork driven:

  • accounting and bookkeeping,
  • payroll services, tax preparation,
  • real estate lessors (owners who lease their property),
  • real estate sales and services,
  • various management services, etc.

A close second are those related to medical care:

  • dental offices,
  • medical or diagnostic laboratories, and
  • range of health practitioners above and beyond traditional family medicine

Home care is particularly hot right now, presumably in part due to the rapidly growing population of those at retirement age and beyond.

Not doing as well are new oil and gas extraction companies, other petroleum parts and sales, software publishers, beverage manufacturing or wholesalers of alcoholic beverages, electronic component makers, and new grocery stores. You probably noticed one thing many of these have in common – LOTS of people are trying them in recent years. I can’t speak to the petroleum industry, but everyone knows someone who thinks they’ve written the next great app, game, business program, or extension. Everyone knows a half-dozen guys who think they’re the next Sam Adams or have home-brewed the next MmmHops.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pursue any of these fields if one of them is your calling and your passion. That’s not my call. Just be aware that if your product or service is something many, many other people offer and think they do better than anyone else, it’s going to be a tough gig even by the standards of small business ownership.

Should I Worry?

Despite what you may have heard, most small businesses DO make it past the first year. Four out of five establishments which started in 2016 were still around in 2017. A comparable 78.6% of businesses begun since 2005 survived at least a year.

The tricky part seems to be passing the five-year mark. About half of all businesses fail before they reach this one. Making it longer than five years is by no means a guarantee of anything, but your odds improve dramatically the longer you’re in operation. It may be a steep learning curve. But if you can juggle and adapt for the first few years, your chances get better and better of being around in twenty.

Both Forbes and CB Insights have straightforward, useful pieces on why small businesses fail. I won’t dive into them here since we’re mostly focused on small business loan statistics, but I will mention one of the biggest discussed in both articles…

Lack of cash flow. Insufficient funding. Not enough money to work with in order to become self-sustaining.

Hmmm… THAT sounds like it involves business loan statistics, doesn’t it? (Hint: Yes, it does.)

Don’t let any of this scare you off. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But do go forward with your eyes open. And if there’s anything we can answer, reach out to us anytime.

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