A:A line of credit is a revolving credit facility that provides a pre-determined capital limit that can be accessed as needed. Unlike a traditional term loan, all or part of the line can be accessed at any time up to the pre-determined limit. Interest is only paid upon the amount actually used. You can read more about a business line of credit in our Business Owners’ Guide to a Business Line of Credit.
A:Technically factoring is not a loan; it is the purchase of future receivables. A third party, known as a factor, purchases a company’s invoice(s) or purchase order(s) at a discount giving a business owner access to a percentage of that invoice or purchase order upfront, instead of when the invoice is paid. The balance, minus the agreed upon fees or discount, is paid to the business owner once collected by the factor. For example, if you had an invoice for $10,000, using a factor (or factoring that invoice) would allow you to access a percentage now, and the balance, minus the factor’s fee when the invoice was paid. Every factor is a little different, but let’s say the factor paid you $8,000 now and the factor’s fee was 6%, the transaction would look like this: $8,000 today + $2,000 – $600 (factor fee) when the invoice was paid Basically, you sold the $10,000 invoice for $600 to access the capital now, instead of later. You can read more about factoring in our Business Owners’ Guide to Factoring.
A:The SBA 504 loan program is designed to provide approved small businesses with fixed-rate and long-term used to acquire fixed assets like real estate and equipment. The maximum loan amounts vary depending upon how closely the business purpose supports things like community development initiatives like job creation. A 504 loan cannot be used for working capital or to purchase inventory, or consolidating previous debt.
A:The SBA 7(a) loan program is the most common SBA loan program. The maximum loan amount is $5 million. The SBA does not set a minimum loan amount. A 7(a) loan can be used for most typical business purposes, but may not be used for refinancing existing debt, to buy out a partner, to reimburse funds invested by a business owner, to repay delinquent state or federal withholding taxes, or any other purpose not consistent with sound business practices.
A:It’s common practice for lenders to require a personal guarantee from the business owner(s) to protect the lender should the business default on the loan. Lenders do this to mitigate the risk of lending to small businesses, and the guarantee is often a requirement by the lender before offering a loan. In the event of a default, a personal guarantee gives the lender additional options to collect the debt.
A:A bankruptcy in your past doesn’t necessarily preclude you from getting a small business loan, but it might make it more challenging. Not all lenders have the same requirements after bankruptcy, but it’s unlikely a borrower would qualify within the first year. Many lenders will require at least one year of improving credit history following the disposition of a bankruptcy.
A:Collateral is any asset or assets, which can be offered by a borrower to secure a loan. Should a borrower default, the lender can take possession of the asset, or assets, to satisfy the loan. You can read more about collateral in our Business Owners’ Guide to Term Loans.
A:That all depends upon the type of loan you’re looking for. To qualify for an SBA loan you’ll need a business plan. While other lenders might not require a formal business plan, they will ask questions about loan purpose, how this loan might positively impact profitability, etc. Whether or not a lender requires a business plan, it’s a good idea to go through the exercise so you can articulate why you are looking for a loan and the benefit you expect to gain from the capital.
A:No. The SBA does not make loans. They do offer a loan guarantee program available through participating banks, credit unions, and other lenders depending upon the loan program. You can read more about SBA loans in our Business Owners’ Guide to SBA Loans.
A:A personal credit score is a reflection of how someone repays their mortgage, auto loans, or other personal obligations and is typically demonstrated in a score from 300 to 850. The higher the score the better. A business credit profile reflects how business owner meets their business financial obligations. While there is no universal business credit score, some of the bureaus score different business behaviors to represent creditworthiness. The three primary personal credit bureaus are: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. The three primary business credit bureaus are: Dunn & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. Learn more about business credit and personal credit in our Business Owners’ Guide to Business Credit and our Business Owner’s Guide to Personal Credit.
A:Timing for receiving approved funding depends on many factors. Each lending partner has its own approval processes, and results in differing funding timelines. The typical time to fund can be anywhere from 24 hours to 1 week.
A:The SBA works with participating lenders in every state who follow SBA lending criteria for small business loans. SBA loans are often for approved purposes and demographics; and may include lower interest rates for qualifying borrowers. Unlike a traditional term loan from the bank, the SBA’s credit and collateral requirements are not as stringent and are a potentially a good choice for startups that qualify. You can read more about SBA loans in our Business Owners’ Guide to SBA Loans.