Small Business Line of Credit
A small business line of credit (LOC) is a revolving loan. This means that you have a fixed amount of money that you can borrow on a day-to-day basis as needed. Once you have paid off your debt, your line of credit resets.
LOCs are a great financing option for companies who need to pay for short-term, daily needs, such as:
- Equipment repair
- And more
A small business line of credit offers extreme flexibility to access money as you need it.
Secured vs. Unsecured Small Business Line of Credit
Like traditional company loans, LOCs can be either secured or unsecured.
For a secured, you have to pledge assets as collateral. Since these are short-term financing solutions, lenders will typically require short-term assets, like inventory to secure the loan.
Unsecured LOCs don’t require collateral. As a result, requirements are often more strict and interest rates are typically higher.
Small Business Line of Credit Benefits
Small business lines of credit offer several unique benefits that you may not find with traditional loans, including:
- You only pay interest on the funds you use
- You don’t need to reapply for additional funding
The main advantage of LOCs is the ability to access a large sum of money on a revolving basis.
Where to Get a Small Business Line of Credit?
Most lenders that offer small company products will also offer business lines of credit. This includes:
- Credit Unions
- Alternative Lenders
- Online Banks
- The Small Business Administration
Credit limits can vary greatly. Your credit limit can be as low as $5,000 or as large as $500,000, in some cases. Your credit score is a primary factor in determining your available line of credit.
Requirements for a Small Business Line of Credit
The typical requirements for a small business line of credit are:
- A credit score of at least 680
- No foreclosures, liens, or bankruptcies
- At least two years in operation
- $100,000 in annual revenue
The specific requirements will be set by your lender, so it’s important to review lender qualifications before applying.
How to Get a Small Business Line of Credit
Business lines of credit can be a great resource for any company. If you’re interested in applying, you just need to follow a few simple steps to get started.
- Improve Your Credit Score
Like applying for a credit card, your credit score will be a major factor in determining your credit limit.
You should aim for a FICO score of at least 680 to be approved for a sizeable business line of credit with reasonable interest rates.
If your credit score is lower than this, you can still qualify for an LOC; however, your credit limit will likely be lower than you need.
- Prepare Your Documents
Preparing your documents will help ensure that the application process goes smoothly once you find a lender.
You should gather the following documents in advance:
- Personal and company tax returns
- Personal and company bank statements
- Proof of revenue
- Financial projections
- Business plan
Your lender may ask for additional documents, so, when comparing lenders, review their requirements and ask questions to ensure you have all the materials you need to apply.
- Find a Lender
Finding the right lender is all about getting quotes and comparing offers.
It’s important to research at least three to five different lenders and get pre-approved in order to see the credit limit and interest rates that you are eligible for.
Also, make sure to thoroughly review your terms so that you won’t be subjected to any unexpected fees.
- Submit Your Application
After finding the right lender, you just need to fill out and submit your application.
Be sure to stay in communication with your lender throughout the application process. They may ask for additional documents before approving your application and sending you an offer.
Once approved, review your offer one last time to ensure that you agree with the terms. If you do, you can sign the agreement and access your funds.
Alternatives to a Small Business Line of Credit
Business lines of credit are typically a short-term solution for financing, so traditional long-term options may not be a suitable alternative.
However, there are a few other options that can satisfy your short-term funding needs, including:
- Short-term products
- Personal debts
- Merchant cash advances
- Invoice factoring
These can be great resources for short-term funding. It’s important to compare your options to find the right one for your company.