Tag Archive: loans

How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business LoanHow Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

It’s a question that besets many small business owners when applying for business loans: how much should I ask for? More so than deciding on which lender to approach, not having a sound estimate of how much capital you need to borrow could lead to cash flow problems—which could lead to your business shutting down. How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

How then can small business owners determine how much financing they need when approaching lenders? What factors should they take into account when calculating the ideal sum of their business loan?

Be clear on the reason for the loan

Are you launching a startup? Or do you need the loan as additional working capital to make improvements in your business? Answering yes to either question is critical when deciding on how much you need.

Denise Beeson, a small business-funding consultant who previously lent her services to a local SBA-administered Small Business Development Center, a provider of mostly free resources and training to small business entrepreneurs, in Santa Rosa, California, always asks her small business clients the previous questions whenever they come to her about wanting to apply for loans. For those with startups, she does issue a caveat: “If this is a start-up, I remind them that an SBA preferred lender does not fund startups,” says Beeson “We then discuss where they may find funding, such as peer-to-peer lending options, tapping into their personal resources, or asking family and friends.”

If the small business owner is seeking to buy a business from another, Beeson notes that the seller may fund the loan. How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

 

Also, if the small business owner is seeking working capital for myriad reasons, which might include increasing the marketing budget, making renovations, or paying off debt, Beeson says she will ask clients if they can produce documentation verifying that the debt was accrued as a result of the business.

 

Without providing the necessary paper trail needed to accompany a loan application, small business owners could hurt their chances of getting financing from a lender, insists Beeson. To prove her point, she offers the following anecdote:

 

“Recently a restaurant client was interested in an SBA loan to consolidate debt based on improvements to the premises,” she recalls. “They had almost $100,000 in debt including credit card debt that was claimed as accumulated to the business during the recession. However, when we looked at the statements, the entries were not clear when and what had been done. In addition they could not produce any paid invoices from contractors or suppliers linked to the credit card statements. Unfortunately, we could not move forward because the borrower could not provide the needed documentation to the preferred SBA lender.” How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

Consult trusted financial professionals

If you are unsure or confused about how much you should ask for when applying for a business loan, it might behoove you to visit a financial expert such as a reliable bookkeeper or a CPA that regularly deals with small business clients. By reviewing your financials, he or she can then approximate how much financing you will need, taking into account existing debt obligations and operating revenue. And a word of caution: don’t be lax or lazy when it comes to understanding your financials. Sloppy bookkeeping or a lack of knowledge about your books or tax returns will prevent you from acquiring a loan.

Take into account your other non-related business expenses

To determine how much you’ll be able to repay and the length of the loan’s duration, small business owners need to do a cash flow analysis of all their expenses, including mortgage payments or auto loan payments. By doing so, a business owner will be able to develop a more viable estimate of how much they’ll need to borrow from a lender.

 

Rohit Arora, CEO of the six-year-old Biz2Credit.com, feels this is an imperative step for all small business owners to take when deciding on how much of a loan they should apply for.

 

“A lot of business owners don’t take [their miscellaneous non-business expenses into account when deciding how much money they should borrow,” he says. “Everything boils down to your repayment capacity. So if you feel that you can borrow some money and there’s some good opportunity that will help you make money off it, that’s good. But that calculation is not a certainty.” How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

Carefully consider payment terms

After you analyze your financial situation, both on a personal and business level, you will also need to decide on how long you want to pay off your loan. By following this best practice, you will be able to produce a rational figure as opposed to an amount that you will never be able to discharge in light of your finances and debts.

Arora agrees, offering a hypothetical scenario: “Let’s say a business owner is borrowing $100,000 and they have to pay back everything in one year,” he explains. “Then the amount of repayment they have to make in terms of speed is pretty steep. Typically for small businesses, the cash flow is their bloodline.”

Similarly, Arora says small business owners need to exercise extreme caution, particularly if they’re planning on borrowing from alternative lenders. “A lot of times they want their money back pretty quickly,” he warns.

Know the lender

When figuring out how much money you need to borrow, it’s vital that you research your lending options. Which banks or lenders are amenable to small business owners in your sector? Just conjuring up a random number for a loan will not help you if the lender is not open to your industry, says Beeson, who advises business owners to also explore nontraditional lending options.

If you need to figure out how much of a business loan you should ask for, you will need to know offhand all of your business and non-business expenses. Not only is this information essential for maintaining good credit—a prerequisite for getting a loan—but it will help you come up with a realistic number that will allow you to comfortably fulfill repayment terms and not disrupt your cash flow. How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

Short-term Financing

Short-term Financing. Short-term Financing.

Short-term Financing. When businesses need a short-term cash infusion, the first option to come to mind is often a traditional bank loan with repayment terms ranging several years or more. However, short-term financing, with repayment terms of less than a year—often as little as 90 or 120 days—can be a smart tool to help build your business and fill cash flow gaps without committing to several years of repayment. Short-term Financing.

Short-term financing has a wide range of applications, says business consultant Dave Lavinsky, co-founder of Growthink in Los Angeles, California. Seasonal businesses may need short-term funds to sustain them during slow periods. Other companies might need to purchase inventory or materials for sales or orders that won’t be paid for months. In some cases, the business investment necessary to sustain growth may leave a business temporarily cash-strapped, says Lavinsky. Short-term financing can also provide the immediate funds necessary for an acquisition or expansion that will lead to additional sales, revenue, or access to capital to meet the repayment terms.Short-term Financing.

There are several types of short-term financing options. Businesses may use credit cards to finance smaller expenses over a short period of time, says Lavinsky. That can be effective, but it’s important to track the cost of interest on this type of financing, which can be high. Small business credit cards in particular are not subject to the regulations passed in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which restricted arbitrary interest rate increases and standardized payment dates and also provided other protections. However, some issuers have opted to extend these policies on their small business cards regardless of the requirement, so it’s important to read the fine print. These cards are also often issued based on the business owner’s personal credit, so late payments or high balances could damage the individual’s credit profile. Short-term Financing.

Traditional bank loans with shorter repayment terms and lines of credit are usually the most attractive option for many businesses seeking short-term financing. They may have slightly higher interest rates than longer-term loans, but cost less in the long run because the interest isn’t being paid over a longer period of time. In addition, they’re much less expensive than options like factoring, where businesses are paid a portion of their accounts receivable and hand over collection activities to the factoring firm at rates that are often “just short of loan sharks,” says Lavinsky. However, they do offer a way to get revenue in-house quickly, he says. Short-term Financing.

Qualifying for bank loans requires a track record in business of at least a couple of years, as well as demonstrated ability to repay, says Lavinsky. Be prepared to provide financial documents like profit and loss statements for the past two or more years, cash flow analyses, and others, as well as documentation of assets, inventory, cash on hand, or other assets the business owns that might be used as collateral. If you have contracts with or orders from large clients that show an ongoing relationship, that might be useful, as well. Depending on the amount of the loan and your business track record, you might be asked for a personal guarantee, where you pledge your personal assets as collateral to satisfy the loan. Short-term Financing.

To avoid needless delays in the decision-making process, discuss your loan package with your bank representative to ensure it’s complete before submitting it. And while credit markets have been tighter in recent years, the 2012 Federal Reserve Bank of New York Small Business Borrowers Poll found that 63 percent of loan applicants in 2011 were able to get at least part of the credit they sought, although only 13 percent were approved for the full amount of the loan or line of credit they sought. Short-term Financing.

“I’ve always been of the mindset that a company that commits itself to raising capital will raise the capital,” Lavinsky says. “Don’t give up.” Short-term Financing.

Bad Credit Car Loans by Tim Jacquet

Bad Credit Car Loans by Tim Jacquet.

Bad Credit Car Loans by Ti

Bad Credit Car Loans by Tim Jacquet. Auto loans for bad credit are offered to people who have acquired bad credit by late and/or missed payments. A bad credit auto loan helps to re-establish the credit history of borrowers. Bad credit auto loans can be used to buy a used vehicle. Sometimes, these loans can be used to finance a new car. Bad credit auto loans are short-term loans, and their repayment period extends from 48 to 60 months.

Bad Credit Car Loans -The first step in the process of applying for a bad credit auto loan is to determine your FICO score, also known as credit score. Credit bureaus such as Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Bradstreet can determine your credit score. A credit score of 650 and below is regarded as bad credit. Borrowers with poor credit are usually offered high interest rate auto loans. The next step is to search for a trustworthy lender. The Internet is a good source to locate lenders dealing in bad credit auto loans.

Financial institutions, banks, credit unions, dealers and brokers extend bad credit auto loans. All of them employ a kind of risk based valuing approach in offering bad credit auto loans. A co-signed loan is one of the best options for a bad credit auto loan. If borrowers fail to repay the loan, the co-signer undertakes the responsibility to pay back the loan. In order to secure bad credit loans through dealership, borrowers have to pay premium prices.

The last step is the comparison and evaluation of interest rates and fees charged by various lenders. Auto loan quotes from multiple lenders can be used to select the most competitive interest rates. Bad Credit Car Loans by Tim Jacquet.

Is There Life After Bankruptcy?

Is There Life After Bankruptcy?
How to rebuild business credit and get loans after declaring bankruptcy

By Morin Bishop

Declaring bankruptcy is no picnic, and recovering your credit rating after bankruptcy isn’t easy either. But it can be done. Just ask Mike Palladino. The 35 year-old electrician from Quincy, Massachusetts, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2002, well before the 2005 bankruptcy law kicked in making it harder for people to discharge debts. Palladino, who ran his own business as a general contractor, was injured when a power tool mangled his hand. Several surgeries and months of recuperation saved the hand, but his business went south, and he ended up maxing out his credit cards to pay for living expenses. “I didn’t want to declare bankruptcy,” he says, “but I really had no choice. There was a long period when just I wasn’t making any money and was up to my neck in bills.”

The bankruptcy discharged Palladino’s credit card balances and many of the debts that he’d run up trying to keep his struggling business afloat, though he still had to pay the IRS for taxes he’d been unable to pay during his illness. But his credit was in tatters and his prospects for rebuilding his contracting business looked bleak. “A contractor works on credit,” he explains. “You need it to buy materials and pay workers and subcontractors it’s hard to do that when no one is willing to let you borrow from them.”Palladino’s problem was one familiar to anyone who has declared bankruptcy. In a time when one’s credit rating is almost a public validation and the gateway to coveted possessions like credit cards, car loans and mortgages a bankruptcy can be like a ghost haunting your credit history and depriving you of the financial means to improve your life.

But even a bankruptcy the ultimate black mark on your credit isn’t an insurmountable obstacle to financial recovery. With apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald, there are second acts in American life, and most definitely in credit ratings.

Small Steps First:

Pay Every Bill On Time
“You really don’t have any leeway here,” says Jim Shea, a Baltimore based CPA and financial planner. “You are trying to show that your prior financial missteps are firmly behind you and the best way to do that is to meet every obligation utility, cable, cell phone, rent bill, etc. on time.” Not every utility or cable company reports late payments to credit reporting companies, Shea notes, but some do. So there’s no reason to risk anything negative ending up on your credit report.

Shea says that by paying your bills on time you demonstrate a renewed image of responsibility and trustworthiness. Letting bills slide, on the other hand, tells potential lenders that you aren’t serious about financial responsibility or that you may still have financial problems you haven’t addressed. “If you are trying to rebuild your credit, anything that makes you seem still unreliable works against you,” Shea says. “And nothing works harder against you than repeated late payments on your credit report, especially in the wake of a bankruptcy.”

Obtain a Secured Credit Card
You might think that after a bankruptcy particularly one caused by credit debts it would be a good idea to avoid credit altogether. But that would be exactly wrong. In fact, to repair a damaged credit history, you need to replace it with a good credit history. Of course, lenders are naturally wary of extending credit to someone whose credit history suggests the possibility that they won’t be repaid. In order to rebuild your credit, you may have to convince lenders that you can be trusted, and that may require handing over a deposit before credit will be granted.

A secured credit card is a credit account whose limit is backed up by a deposit. That is, you deposit, say $500, at your bank and they provide you with a credit card with a spending limit of $500. In almost all other respects, a secured credit card functions like a normal, unsecured credit card; you can make charges on the card up to the maximum spending limit (usually the amount of the deposit) and you repay the balance, which is subject to interest charges, with periodic (usually monthly) payments. The deposit protects the bank in the event you cannot repay the money charged on the card. In many cases, a secured credit card may be the only line of credit obtainable in the wake of bankruptcy, but if used wisely keeping spending in check and making payments on the card’s balance on time it can help generate a new track record of financial responsibility.

Secured credit cards are good way of creating a new, post bankruptcy history of good creditworthiness, says Gerri Detweiler, author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook, but they often come with strings. “Even though the line of credit is secured by a deposit, you’re still a bad risk in the eyes of the bank, and so secured cards usually come with higher interest rates,” she explains. “So you have to be careful about not incurring penalties like late payments, because the fees and interest payments can eat up a portion of the available credit.”

Detweiler advises shopping around to get the lowest fees and rates on secured cards. It’s also important to make certain that the bank reports the secured credit card’s usage to the major credit reporting bureaus. “Using the card is useless if it doesn’t reflect positively on your credit score,” she says. Since not every bank reports secured card usage, it’s worth asking.

A secured line of credit can be a major step on your path back to creditworthiness. “Generally, people who have a secured credit card say that within seven or eight months they start receiving new offers for unsecured credit cards,” Detweiler says.

Check Your Credit Report
Just because the bankruptcy court cleared your debts doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been expunged from your credit report. According to a recent article in BusinessWeek, in a number of cases some financial institutions failed to report debts that had been discharged by bankruptcy courts to the credit rating firms, even though they are legally required to do so. If the debt is not reported as cancelled by the lending institution, it will remain delinquent on your credit report, potentially sabotaging your efforts to build new credit or obtain life insurance or even employment.

In order to make sure that the bankruptcy court’s orders have been accurately carried out, you should examine your credit report on at least an annual basis. You can obtain a copy of your credit report without charge once every twelve months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting firms (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). Copies of your credit report can also be requested online (at annualcreditreport.com) or by contacting the credit reporting firms directly.

Credit information (late or missed payments, delinquencies, etc.) remains on your credit report for seven years; a bankruptcy will linger there for ten. Note that the three major firms do not always compare information, meaning that the information on one report may differ from that compiled by a different firm. In order to ensure that all the information in your reports is accurate, you should obtain a report from each of the three firms.

Of course, making sure that bankruptcy debts have been discharged isn’t the only good reason to look at your credit report. Errors in reporting by financial institutions can lead to inaccurate and potentially damaging inaccuracies that can drag your credit down. Taken with the threat of identity theft, checking your credit report periodically is a good idea, regardless of your credit status.

Landing a Loan
Once, a bankruptcy was a nearly insurmountable obstacle to obtaining a loan. Many banks would not even consider lending money to someone until the bankruptcy had cleared from their credit report a ten year wait. “That’s not true anymore,” says Jim Shea. “Banks are much more eager to lend money today and more willing to work around difficulties.” Also, she notes, bankruptcy simply isn’t the damning black mark it once was. “That said, most lenders will want to wait at least a year after the bankruptcy and see some evidence that you’ve put your financial house in order before they even consider a loan,” Shea says. Hence, rebuilding a credit history using secured credit cards will go a long way to helping you get a bank loan.

Even if banks are willing to lend you money after your bankruptcy, those loans will likely come with higher interest rates and fees a reflection of your damaged credit rating. Many banks may request the loan be secured either by collateral a physical asset you own or by a co-signer, someone with good credit who will agree to pay off the loan in the event you default. “Many people find it embarrassing to ask a friend or relative to co-sign a loan for them and it’s a big thing to ask anyone to do but for a lot of people who’ve gone through a bankruptcy, and don’t have many assets left it’s the only way they are going to get a loan,” Shea says.

Building On Success
Once you have begun rebuilding your credit, the best course of action is to stick to it. “It’s really pretty simple,” says Detweiler. “If you have a couple of credit cards and pay them on time along with all your other bills then your credit will recover in time.” Detweiler notes that paying bills early has no effect on credit since only late or missing payments get reported to the credit bureaus. She also recommends keeping purchases small and avoiding carrying balances on the cards while rebuilding credit. “High balances lower your overall credit rating. The goal is to keep the cards active and create a history of on time payment,” she advises. “Just make sure the payment arrives by the due date.”

Massachusetts contractor Mike Palladino followed this advice. He obtained a secured credit card and convinced his brother to co-sign for several loans. “It wasn’t easy and money was really tight for awhile, but within two years, I had my business back up and running,” he says.

Morin Bishop is editor -in- chief of Priority magazine