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Commercial Lending: Everything You Need to Know about Business Loans

Most people agree that it is easy to get a credit card or personal loan. The consumer culture in our nation has created an environment where financing for everything from a shopping spree to real estate is easily accessible for the majority of the population. Consumer debt is rising and it is common for people to feel that debt is a normal part of living. Even though personal loans are easy to come by, it might be a bit tricky if you are looking at options for commercial lending.

There’s no question that you need to manage the cash flow for your company. As a business owner, it can be a challenge to ensure that the money is available at the right times throughout the year. If you are struggling with cash flow right now, then you might be looking at options for a business loan to help you get through a dry spell.

How Will You Use a Business Loan?

What are the reasons why you should consider a business loan? Commercial lending can be beneficial for a variety of expenses:

  • Buying a real estate property for office space
  • Investing in more inventory of the upcoming busy season
  • Purchasing equipment that is necessary for the office or storeroom
  • Preparing for the future in case the cash is needed unexpectedly
  • Construction or remodeling costs
  • Business acquisition
  • Start-up expenses for a new company

These loans can be of various sizes, depending on the needs of your company. If you find that you need a business loan, then it is essential that you choose a reputable lender and understand the financing terms before jumping into the agreement. A poor choice with your business loan could cause financial stress and strain on your company in the future.

Don’t Wait for Commercial Lending

It is common for business owners to hold off on commercial loans until they are in a critical time when the cash flow is needed. But there’s no reason to wait for the application! Cash flow ebbs and flows depending on the season and economic changes, so you need to be sure that you have the money available before you reach a critical situation.

The timeframe for commercial lending takes a little longer compared to personal loans. Additionally, you need to have a good financial profile to be approved for the loan. For example, if your business is already burdened with debt, then it might be difficult to get approval on your applications. Instead, apply for the financing when your business is in good financial health so that the credit is available in the future when it is needed.

The right financing can be the saving grace that serves your business needs in the future. It is important that you are working with a great accountant every step of the way, so there are no surprises with cash flow, future costs, and more.

A Few Things You Need to Understand about Business Loans

The best thing that you can do is learn about your options so that you can get the financing that is needed. A little bit of information can go a long way to help you avoid common problems that might arise with financing. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind:

  • Time Frame: It usually takes a little longer to receive approval for a business loan. Even though most consumers can be approved for a credit card or line of credit on-the-spot, the business loan application process is a little more involved. Be prepared so that you have plenty of time to prepare for future financing needs. Sometimes, commercial lending can take as long as 60 to 90 days until the loan is closed and the money is available. The complexity and timeframe vary depending on the type of loan that you are getting.
  • Complicated Application: This application process is a bit more complicated than filling out some paperwork and waiting for approval. Be ready for an extensive screening and piles of documentation that might be required. Common paperwork requests include several years of tax returns, AR/AP reports, financial statements, and documentation for collateral that will be offered. You might also need to show a business plan so that the lender can understand how the money will be used for business needs.
  • Payback Ability: As with all types of financing, the lender wants to see that your company will have the ability to pay back the money that is provided. Your lender will be evaluating your cash flow to determine how you will be able to handle the required payments. The Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) will be evaluated, which looks at the operating income of the company as well as the current and anticipated debt obligations that need to be paid in the future.
  • Financing Fees: Anytime commercial lending is offered, you can expect that fees will need to be paid. Ask about the fees that need to be covered up front, or if these costs will be bundled into the loan. Understanding the fee structure will help you know the amount of money that you are spending for the financing that is offered. Don’t forget to ask about pre-payment penalties in case you decide to pay off the loan early.
  • Collateral Requirements: When you are getting a personal credit card, there isn’t usually a need to offer collateral. But, the lender often requires collateral for bigger business loans. If you are providing collateral and the applicable documentation, it is common for the lender to require that the loan is 80% of the value of the collateral. So, you will need to come up with 20% cash before you can be approved for the financing. Banks calculate this Loan to Value (LTV) to minimize risk in case you default on the loan.
  • Structure of the Loan: The timeframe and payment requirements vary depending on the type of loan that is acquired. It is important that you understand your options and compare the payment details before settling on financing for your company. For example, some loans are less than 5 years and have an aggressive payment schedule. Other loans can be spread out over 20 or 25 years if needed. Additionally, you should look at options for fixed or revolving loans based on the way the money will be used.

Types of Business Loans

What type of financing is needed for your business requirements? These are a few options that you might consider:

  • Line of Credit: Small businesses often obtain a line of credit so that funds are available on an as-needed basis. Usually, there is a cap on these funds. This type of loan can be an excellent solution for managing unexpected costs and ongoing cash flow.
  • Working Capital Loan: Sometimes daily operations need to be financed, and you might consider this type of loan for these anticipated costs. These loans are ideal when you need to manage the fluctuations that occur due to seasonal changes or other variables that affect your cash flow throughout the year. This type of loan is usually unsecured.
  • Small Business Loan: Whether you are getting a start-up off the ground or you are looking at options to expand, a small business loan might be the right solution. The structure of the loan will vary depending on the lender, and might be secured or unsecured. Interest also varies depending on the terms of the loan.
  • Small Business Administration Loans: If you are searching for a low-interest loan, then don’t overlook the benefits of a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. The SBA guarantees the amount, making it possible for the lender to offer the most favorable terms when it comes to interest rates and repayment schedules. These loans are usually between $30,000 and $5 million.
  • Accounts Receivable Financing: This money is available based on the amount of Accounts Receivables on your books. When your customers send payments, then that money goes to pay down the AR line.
  • Business Credit Cards: Sometimes the simplest solution to qualify for a loan is by getting a business credit card. But, you need to use this strategy as a short-term solution because the credit cards usually have high interest rates and can pose a liability to your company. If you are going to spend money on a small business credit card, then look for perks like cash back or 0% interest for 6 to 9 months. These bonuses will help to offset the cost of the card.

Do you have questions about your business cash flow or financing options? At Easier Accounting, we’re here to help you create the right financial strategy for your company. If you are considering commercial lending, then we can help you with the reporting and documentation that is needed so that you can qualify for the financing that is required.

Our team specializes in ongoing services for small business accounting and bookkeeping. Easier Accounting is a leader in the industry and offers flexible packages to accommodate the needs of every company. Call today to see how we can help with your business efforts: (888) 620-0770