Cash Buyer – The Good and Bad for Equipment Financing

“I pay for everything in cash, I never finance anything” or “I’ve never had to take out a loan, I don’t believe in it”. Every so often, I encounter this type of feedback from a business owner. The attitude usually goes along with a strong, hands-on work ethic for an owner which has built their business from the ground up. They have worked long hours, suffered through the ups and downs and sacrificed family time and vacations to make their business survive. Their belief is, if they cannot pay for something with cash then they do not need it.

I respect the energy and devotion but I also take note that the strategy seems to apply to small, family owned businesses with a small number of employees which have remained flat in their growth and have stopped expanding years ago. Expansion and reaching new markets are not typically part of their business plan and they are happy with a fixed income often servicing the same clientele they have for years.

The downside of never financing anything is the limited amount of expansion which can occur. In essence, they cannot grow beyond what is in their bank account at any moment in time. For example, a small business with $100,000 of capital desires to purchase a new $40,000 machine which will speed up production or bring them into a new market or simply replace an old machine; if they decide to pay cash that will leave them with $60,000 in cash reserves. If they encounter an emergency which requires $30,000 then that will leave them with little cash cushion in their account. They have also limited themselves in the case if another opportunity should surface at the same time they would not be able to take advantage of it like paying early for inventory to get a good discount.

The other negative of never borrowing is that your business will not have any established comparable credit so in the case when you do decide to finance anything, the likelihood of getting approved is marginal. A lender will not be able to assess your ability to pay back debt since you have never had any. Some business owners feel it should be viewed positively that you have never had to borrow but in the finance world it is not a positive. No credit history equals no loan.

The mantra in financing is ‘it is easier to finance equipment than it is money’ which is primarily true. Yes, you can get low cost capital from your bank if you have an established credit line but that line will have a limit. It is not a good move to use your credit line to finance an asset or equipment because that line should be used as either a last emergency resort or for short term borrowing. Finance rates are now in the 4-6% which can be stretched out to 5 years and sometimes longer. Many times, when expanding in a careful and planned manner, the finance payment will be less than the added revenue of your new equipment. This is true of energy and cost efficient industrial machines, solar systems and LED lighting.

Financing equipment for your business offers you the opportunity to expand, create more profit and reach new markets and clients. For those that want to know the benefits of never financing anything it is this; you will never owe anybody anything, no monthly payments, no interest and no chance of borrowing more than you can pay back but in that perceived safety there is also some risk and missed opportunity.

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Small Business Loans With A Poor Credit Score

Many small business owners struggle with obtaining business finance, and there is absolutely nothing unusual about this. Getting a business loan for small businesses, such as retailers, restaurants, garages and so on, is not as simple as one would think from the bank.

This is not to say however, that getting a business loan is not possible. It all depends on where one goes looking for the loan. Typically, there are two primary options that business owners have, approaching their local banks and going to a private funder or lender.

Banks and small business loans

Banks look at applications for small business loans from their perspective and their perspective is determined by their criteria. When we speak of criteria, there are numerous criteria and these are all non-flexible as well as stringent.

Typically, banks require high credit scores, which should be around about 700 or over. If a business applying for a loan with the bank lacks excellent credit, their application will be rejected simply based on that one criteria. In conclusion to banks and credit scores, business funding with bad credit with a bank is not a possibility.

This is not to say that there are not a number of other criteria, which banks follow carefully and take equally seriously as well. The criteria of banks have been established over the decades based on shared experience, and these criteria are across the board.

As is generally acknowledged, banks are not very keen on funding small business loans. The reasons for this are many and one of the primary reasons is that, small businesses are considered to be high risk investments from the banks perspective and experience.

Private funders and small business loans

With a private lender the situation is completely different from what a business owner will experience with a bank. Private lenders have a completely different list of criteria to provide cash advance for business owners.

As private lenders primarily offer MCA (Merchant Cash Advances), the criteria for these is simple. An MCA loan is an unsecured loan, and does not require high credit scores either. As a result it’s easy to qualify for this kind of funding.

However, many a small business owners don’t look upon MCAs from a friendly perspective, and they do have their reasons. The interest rates are higher than traditional bank loans, and most business owners want low interest rates.

The point with MCAs is however not to compete with bank financing, as they are both in quite different arenas. Apart from the fact that they are both financing for businesses, the entire process, requirements, features and all other details related to the funding are completely different.

With an MCA loan the question how to qualify for small business loans does not really apply. Only in very few cases are small businesses turned away by private lenders. Generally, most businesses receive the funding they require for their business.

MCA loans V/S bank loans

Merchant cash advances or MCA in short are generally accompanied with high interest rates. Far higher than what the bank provides, and the reason for this is these are unsecured short term loans.

There are many businesses who would never qualify for a traditional bank loan, regardless of how badly they need it or want it. If their credit scores are low, or if they are unable to provide the collateral the banks require their applications will be rejected. This is not to say that there are not a lot of other grounds on which small business loan applications are not declined by banks. Also, banks are under not obligation to provide funding to those they choose not to. This leaves many small business with no other option.

For an MCA loan a business requires nothing much in the way of credit scores and collateral. The basic criteria for an MCA loan is mentioned here, as follows. The business should be at least 12 months old and a running business. The owner of the business should not be in active bankruptcy at the time of the loan application. Finally, the gross income of the business needs to be at least $10 thousand a month.

The easy criteria makes it simple to obtain an MCA, and the drawbacks are definitely the interest rates and the duration for some business owners. However, those who capitalize on such business funding are those business who either have no choice, or those who require quick business loans. Some of the advantages are the processing time frames, which can be as little as a couple of days.

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