If you need extra cash flow or capital to expand your business, a business loan could be the ticket. But before you get started on the application process, compare a range of business loans to ensure you find the best loan for your needs.
Businesses can either be lent a lump-sum payment or a revolving line of credit, which is repaid, with interest, over an agreed term (generally anywhere from three months to five years).
Business loans come as either secured or unsecured loans and typically allow businesses to borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000, though some lenders will allow you to borrow up to $1,000,000. Most business loans come with a fixed interest rate and you will need to make repayments on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
SharpShooter Funding Business Loan
Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
Max. Loan Amount: $300,000
Interest Rate: Starting at 5.49%
Requirements: Annual business revenue of $60,000
Borrow up to $300,000
Online loan application
SharpShooter Funding Business Loan
SharpShooter Funding offers loans up to $300,000 for small business owners who have been business for at least 100 days and can show a minimum of $5,000 in monthly deposits ($60,000/year).
Secured business loans You will need to use an asset, generally a residential or commercial property, as security against the loan. In return, you will usually receive a lower interest rate, have the ability to borrow a larger amount and are more likely to be approved by the lender.
Unsecured business loans You do not need to use an asset as security on an unsecured loan. As an unsecured loan represents more of a risk to the lender, you will generally be offered a higher interest rate and may be less likely to be approved for a loan, depending on the strength of your application. Unsecured loans can be beneficial for business owners who do not own an asset of value, or would prefer not to risk their personal or company property. Many online business loans are unsecured.
Quick guide to business loans
Am I eligible for a business loan? What’s the best loan for my business? How do I compare business loans? How do business loan applications get approved? We take you through your business loan application to help you get it across the line.
Is your business eligible for a loan?
Age of the business
You’ll usually need to have been operating for at least six months to one year for most unsecured business loans offered by online lenders and banks (although some online lenders will work with businesses that have been operating for a minimum of 100 days). If you’re looking for startup financing, you’ll need to turn to a lender specializing in it – or search for grants.
Your business will need to bring in a minimum amount of revenue each month or year in order to be eligible for a loan. Revenue requirements can range from as low as $5,000 a month to as high as $100,000 a year.
Most lenders will require that you meet a minimum personal credit score requirement in order to be eligible for a business loan. While many lenders will expect you to have a fair to good credit rating of around 650, some will work with borrowers that have scores as low as 450.
What’s the best loan for your business?
The best loan for your business will vary depending on a number of factors, such as:
How much money the business needs
The nature and structure of your company
Whether you need one large lump sum or a series of smaller cash injections
What your business is buying/spending the money on
Your personal circumstances/the circumstances of any other owners or directors
Your business’s revenue
Every business is different and will therefore have different needs and requirements. Luckily, nobody understands your business better than you do – all you need is to understand your options. That’s what we’re here for.
How can you compare business loans?
Do you meet the eligibility criteria?
You can find details of the eligibility criteria involved with each loan product by reading the descriptions in the comparison table or by clicking the “read more” button. Checking whether you meet the minimum eligibility criteria before you apply is the first step in your comparison process. This will help you to narrow down choices that are the most suitable for you. If you do not meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a loan, do not apply for that loan.
How much will the business loan cost?
If you know what loan you need, the next step is deciding what your business can afford. Look at your incomings and outgoings to see what you could comfortably repay without putting too much strain on the business. If it’s a loan for a start-up, you’ll need to rely on cash flow projections.
Compare business loan interest rates and fees
Once you’ve determined what you can afford to borrow, you should compare the rate and any fees or charges for a variety of business loans to find the one that represents the best value for your business.
Do the repayment terms meet your business’s needs?
Lenders offer repayment terms of varying flexibility. Some will allow you to repay daily, others weekly and some will require you to repay your loan monthly. Work out which will best meet your business’s needs in terms of your cash flow.
How do lenders judge your business loan application?
Lenders use a variety of criteria to see if you fit their risk profile and ensure your business can repay the loan.
Age and turnover of the business
Start-up financing is usually harder to find and be approved for, so if your business is established, you will find it easier to get a loan. The business turnover is also considered and lenders usually have a minimum requirement for monthly or annual turnover. They may also use your turnover to determine what the business can afford to repay.
The lender will assess the company directors’ personal credit scores as part of the application process, and if the business is established, the lender may also check the business’s credit score. Assessing credit scores allows lenders to determine how risky your business is to lend to.
Credit card volume
If you receive credit card payments in your business, lenders may use the volume of these payments to judge your ability to repay the loan. The assumption among some new lenders is that you will use this volume to repay the loan.
Similar to credit card volume, lenders may factor your accounts receivable value into their asset ratios to help them make a decision.
Lenders will check what company structure you have and how long you have been in the existing structure. If you have recently undertaken a restructure or are applying for financing in the middle of restructuring, lenders may not want to finance you at this time.
Does your business have an existing debt with another lender? This will be considered as part of your application.
For various business loans, including for example a revolving line of credit, your business will usually need to be profitable to be approved.
Other questions you may have
What should I avoid when applying for a business loan?
There are a number of mistakes that applicants make when applying for a business loan, from choosing the wrong loan option to submitting an incomplete application.
In terms of the type of loan, it’s always a good idea to try to think realistically about what would best suit the business in terms of financing volume, flexibility and repayments.
When it comes to submitting the documents, you should always understand what you’ll need to provide to the lender before beginning your application. Omitting or forgetting to submit vital information or documents may lead to an application being delayed or rejected altogether.
Why was my application rejected?
There are a number of reasons why a lender may reject a business loan application. It’s important to ask for feedback from your lender if they do reject your application. This feedback will give you insight into what you did wrong, which you can improve on for the next time you apply. If the lender is unable to provide this feedback, you may want to review your application and see if you can spot any red flags yourself.
Is my personal credit file checked or my business credit file?
The lender will specify which credit history they will need to check, but generally, the lender will want to verify the company directors’ personal credit histories. Your business’s financials may also be checked using accounting information that you supply as part of the application process.
The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) offers loans up to $1,000,000 that are 75% backed by the government. To apply, you’ll need to head to your bank, credit union or financial institution.
Must be an eligible business to qualify for the program
Can use the funds to purchase assets for your business
Comes with a 2% registration fee, plus the lender may charge any fees that they would typically charge for a conventional loan of the same amount.
Business overdrafts are attached to your business banking account and allow you to overdraw up to a specified limit on that account. You only pay interest on your outstanding balance.
A pre-determined limit that you can overdraw up to on your business bank account
Suitable to manage a business’s day-to-day cash flow fluctuations
Usually comes with an application or other fee and interest is typically paid monthly when the overdraft funds are used
This type of financing allows you to fund the purchase of goods from domestic or international suppliers.
Fill large orders without putting a stop to your cash flow
You’ll be charged interest on the amount provided for each trade as well as fees
Frequently asked questions
It depends on the type of financing you’re looking for. Bank loans can be difficult to qualify for if you’re a young business or don’t have excellent credit. Online loans can have more relaxed eligibility requirements.
The most competitive rates still tend to go to businesses that have been around for a few years and whose owners have excellent personal credit.
Business loans are generally limited to covering legitimate business expenses. Most loans don’t have many more restrictions aside from that.
However, commercial, equipment and vehicle loans are designed to cover the cost of one particular item. You often can’t use part of your equipment vehicle loan for working capital — the same way you can’t use part of your mortgage to pay for a vacation.
Yes. It’s called an unsecured business loan. However, even many unsecured business loans require a personal guarantee from the business owner, which means that you’re responsible for covering the loan amount if your business fails.
This technically isn’t collateral, because it doesn’t name any specific assets. However, it’s a risk you’re taking on as a business owner.
The owner’s personal credit score can be an indication at predicting whether the business is a risk to lend to.
Many business loans — even unsecured loans — also require a personal guarantee from at least one business owner, meaning that you’re responsible for paying off the loan if your business defaults.
It might be possible, but there are not many options. If you have a partner who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you might have a better chance of qualifying for more competitive rates if you apply with them.
Elizabeth Barry is Finder's global fintech editor. She has written about finance for over six years and has been featured in a range of publications and media including Seven News, the ABC, Mamamia, Dynamic Business and Financy. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Communications and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Technology Sydney. In 2017, she received the Highly Commended award for Best New Journalist at the IT Journalism Awards. Elizabeth's passion is writing about innovations in financial services (which has surprised her more than anyone else).
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