Business owners and companies may experience financial hurdles which may require a business loan to bridge any cash flow gaps. Additionally, one can use business loans as starting capital or as funds to expand their business. Small business owners have also utilized cash flow loans as they may provide prompt solutions, especially in a financial crisis. However, cash flow loans have pros and cons that business owners ought to evaluate when securing the loan.
What Is a Cash Flow Loan?
Unlike traditional business loans, which require collateral assurance, cash flow loan lenders use profits, cash flow, and bank statements as parameters to give out loans. New business owners may present a business plan when pledging for a loan. That’s why cash flow loans are referred to as “unsecured loans.”
The more a business experiences heavier cash flow, the higher the cash flow loan’s limit. This is because lenders depend on one’s financial history and insights into a business’s future income. Other metrics such as transaction frequency, seasonal sales, expenses, and Yelp reviews may also apply when acquiring a loan.
Some traditional business loans may take weeks or even months before the borrower gets the final decision. However, in a cash flow loan, borrowers and lenders can reach a consensus within 24 to 72 hours. Payment may occur in different forms, such as paying a fixed amount over a designated period or paying a percentage of each sale made.
Pros of Cash Flow Loans
Larger Loan Funds
Most lenders utilize computer algorithms that censor factors such as transaction frequency, profits volume, sales, and expenses to determine the borrower’s financial status. As such, borrowers with an appealing financial history and one whose future income seems promising can qualify for larger loan funds.
Moreover, as a business owner’s cash flow escalates, there is a possibility of increasing the cash flow loan limit. Some companies and businesses have recorded up to five times the amount a traditional loan would grant. In some cases, higher cash flow loan limits may be accompanied by a lower interest rate.
Doesn’t Tamper with Business Shares
Some banks and traditional lenders may use the company’s shares as collateral when pledging for a loan. This may be a risky attempt for borrowers as lack of adherence may tamper with business control. Cash flow loans are dependent on one’s cash flow, among other integral aspects, which may be pragmatic in mitigating loss of business control.
Although the interest rates may be higher than other forms of lending, borrowers still cling to their shares and maintain business control. It may also be an inexpensive form of equity to engage a cash flow lender than bringing in an investor.
Collateral is Insignificant
Cash flow loans are unsecured loans as lenders do not require physical or tangible collateral such as land, commercial property, among other assets. They analyze the borrower’s financial standing, history of their transactions, and future financial prospects. This may allow even new business owners to acquire cash flow loans.
Additionally, some cash flow lenders may give out business loans to borrowers with a low credit score. Less documentation is required as these loans use lending-edge technology to examine the borrower’s creditworthiness. This is as opposed to conventional bank loans, which require asset collateral assurance.
Flexible Repayment Duration
A lender may customize the cash flow loan scheme in consideration of the borrower’s needs. They also have a longer repayment term of about five to seven years. Based on a borrower’s agreement with the lender, there are several methods that one can use to repay the loan.
One can decide to pay the loan monthly, where a certain percentage of your sales is granted to the lender. Additionally, borrowers may opt for balloon payment to pay an initial small amount of fees and the lion’s share towards the end of the payment duration.
Cons of Cash Flow Loans
Elevated Interest Rates
Due to the risk margin that cash flow loan lenders may face, they tend to set higher interest rates as compared to other types of lending schemes. They may also incorporate additional fees which cover loan processing. Borrowers may also encounter late payment penalties and extra charges in case one’s account has insufficient funds for a designated payment.
This may require personal scrutiny and assessment on whether one can meet the stipulated interests and fees thresholds. If a company or business does not have the capability of covering such costs with their profits, losses may be incurred.
Involvement of a Personal Guarantee or Lien
Though cash flow loan lenders claim that collateral is not paramount, a personal guarantee may be required in case one defies the payment. Personal guarantees are involved in security and attenuating the risk of a lender losing their loan funding.
Additionally, borrowers may be required to sign a lien that states that one’s business will cover the loan as collateral. This may cause the lender to have possession of the business until the debt gets cleared. In some instances, the borrower may be at a higher risk of losing the business.
Self-Activating Renewals and Payments
Cash flow loan lenders mitigate loan payment risk by taking funds directly from the borrower’s bank account. Depending on the borrower and lender agreement, payments may be acquired daily, weekly, or monthly.
If one does not have sufficient funds to make the payment, extra fees may be imposed. Also, there are some instances when a business does not flourish to the extent that the borrower will make such frequent payments. This may result in one looking for extra options to borrow money to pay for the cash flow loan.
Most people and agencies that claim to offer cash flow loans are not actual lenders but brokers. Although middlemen may be effective to the actual lenders, the borrower may perceive extra costs and charges. This is because brokers aim at bringing more borrowers, which boosts their commission with the lending platform.
These brokers ensure that they charge extra costs in an attempt to make bucks. As a result, the borrower incurs the total cost. Nonetheless, such information cannot be disseminated as it may interfere with the brokers’ activities as well as the lending platform’s income.
How to Determine if a Cash Flow Loan is Right for You
A cash flow loan may seem to be a lucrative funding opportunity for business owners. However, there are a few points of consideration that borrowers can explore before acquiring the loan.
Assess the Business Financial Stand
Based on business owner’s records, they may determine whether the cash flow loan will deteriorate or enhance business profits. Borrowers can scrutinize their revenues and expenses to determine their average cash flow. By doing this, they may be able to evaluate whether the business loan will be profitable.
Analyze the Operating Activities
Factors such as initial production cost and duration taken for customers to make payments are imperative considerations when pledging for a cash flow loan. Additionally, the amount of money receivable at one time should matter when borrowing cash flow loans. Generating precise cash flow statements may help you ensure that you are on the better side of handling a cash flow loan.
Review Existing Loans
In case a borrower has an existing loan, renegotiating terms can be necessary when pledging for a cash flow loan. This will help them plan for their payment terms and make other necessary payments.
Have a Spot on Business Plan
Having a precise business plan can help a borrower manage the business loan without numerous complications. This is because of the sound fund usage, timely payments, and maintenance of a robust cash flow.
Alternatives to a Cash Flow Loan
There are other nitty-gritty techniques that business owners and companies can incorporate to ensure a healthy balance in finances. Such include:
Renegotiating Payment Terms with Creditors
Some situations may require getting back to the creditors and negotiating for terms that will favor business maneuvers. Borrowers may request for lengthening the payment duration, which may be enhanced timely financial planning. Also, requesting a balloon payment scheme may help the borrower have plenty of time to huge profit margins.
Adjusting Business Strategies
Incorporating new business strategies and improving the existing ones may boost business growth. Such include improving products and services to ensure that customers are pleased outright. This is because customers are the main pillar in business success. Innovation of new products to steer the business ahead of the competitors.
Other contemporary measures such as boosting technology and information management can enhance profit margins. Bringing in new and experienced professionals may uplift the business status.
Some expenses in a business may cause a financial drain, while their absence would have an insignificant impact. That is why periodic review on expenses is paramount to ensure that profit margins spike continuously.
For example, some renovations, trips, and purchases in a business may have no tangible value to enhancing profits. Hence, conducting expense reviews may ensure that such unexpected costs are cut off.
Acquiring Asset-Based Business Loan
Although cash flow loans are easy to acquire, an asset-based business loan can provide an upper hand in business success. This is because they have lower interest rates and have fewer covenants. Borrowers also have more room to negotiate as they have tangible assets as collateral. Compare the best business loans to get the most appropriate vendors and loans for businesses.