When it comes to getting funding for your business, there are many different options to explore. Taking out a business loan is one of the most popular options, but it won’t be the right choice for everyone.
Another, slightly different possibility is revenue-based finance. Here’s everything you need to know about how it works.
What is revenue-based financing?
Revenue-based financing is a type of business lending where you receive a lump sum in exchange for a percentage of your future revenue.
The loan is usually repaid in monthly instalments, but the amount you pay each month will be tied to how well your business is doing. This means that when your business is doing well, you’ll pay a higher amount each month and clear the loan faster. But when business is slower, your monthly repayment will be smaller and you’ll have a longer repayment term. This makes it a particularly good option for seasonal businesses like hotels.
Applying for revenue-based finance can be a lot simpler compared to other forms of funding. You won’t usually need to provide as much information and you can often connect your business bank account via open banking. You won’t usually need to provide a business plan either.
What’s more, there’s no need to secure your loan against an asset, give up equity or worry about interest rates as you’ll be charged a flat fee instead. You also won’t need to sign a personal guarantee.
How does revenue-based financing work?
Let’s say your business wants to borrow £15,000 to buy new equipment. Your lender will examine your financial history and your turnover and decide whether they are happy to let you borrow that amount. If they are, you’ll need to agree what percentage of your turnover you should repay each month.
Let’s say you agree to 5%. In your first month, you make £30,000. This means you’ll need to pay a monthly instalment of £1,500. In the second month, your turnover drops to £20,000, and so you’ll pay a smaller amount of £1,000.
The better your business is performing, the more you’ll repay each month and the shorter your loan term.
Who offers revenue-based financing?
You won’t be able to apply for revenue-based financing at your local high street bank, but there are a number of specialist providers that offer this type of funding. These include:
When do companies seek revenue-based financing options?
Companies might seek revenue-based financing if they are looking to expand, hire more staff, launch a new product or invest in a marketing campaign. They might prefer this option if they want to avoid personally guaranteeing a loan or selling equity.
Pros and cons of revenue-based finance
- Flexible repayments – you pay more when business is doing well and less when business slows
- Quick and easy to apply
- Can be cheaper than other finance options
- No need to pay interest or personally guarantee the loan
- You must have a regular income stream
- You might not be able to borrow as much as you could with other funding options
- Best for shorter-term loans – you won’t be able to borrow over a longer period of time
What are the risks of revenue-based financing?
The main risk is your business’ ability to repay the amount borrowed. If you don’t generate much revenue, paying the loan back will take a very long time. It’s therefore best to only choose this option if your business is growing and you’re confident that revenue will be high in the future.
What are the eligibility requirements for a revenue-based loan?
If you apply for a revenue-based loan, the lender will examine your business turnover and financial history to assess how much you can afford to borrow. Exact eligibility requirements will depend on the lender, but you might be able to borrow between 2 to 4 times your monthly revenue.
Your business will usually need to have been trading for at least 3 to 6 months and some providers might require your business to have an online model, such as SaaS, subscription or ecommerce. Once approved, you should receive your funding within 48 hours.
Typical eligibility requirements
- Trading for a minimum of 3 to 6 months
- Some providers may require your business to have an online model
- Minimum turnover based on the provider’s requirements, for example £10,000 per month
Alternative types of business funding available
If you’re not sure whether revenue-based funding is right for you, there are other options that are worth considering. Some of these are outlined below:
Business loans are a popular way to borrow funds. You receive a lump sum which you then repay in fixed monthly instalments over a set term. Interest will be added to your repayments.
To get the best interest rates your business will need to have a good credit rating.
Asset finance gives you access to business equipment, machinery and vehicles without the need to pay for them upfront. The two most common forms of asset finance are hire purchase and lease financing.
Business credit cards
A business credit card offers a flexible way to borrow money. Your business will be given a line of credit up to a set limit which you can use as and when required. You then repay the amount borrowed in flexible monthly instalments. If you don’t pay off the balance in full each month, you will usually pay interest. Like business loans, to get the most competitive rates, you’ll need a good credit score.
This option lets you borrow money based on what your customers owe you which means you get paid faster. The lender will advance you a percentage of the invoice value upfront, typically up to 95%. When the invoices are due, the lender collects the amount owed from the customer and then pays you the remaining balance minus any fees or charges.
With equity crowdfunding, you raise funds for your business from a number of investors. You will need to list your business on an online platform and investors can then buy shares in your company.
Angel investors are high-net-worth private individuals who invest their own funds into a small business in return for a minority stake. It might be a one-off investment or they might offer several cash injections spread out over time.
Frequently asked questions
More guides on Finder
Business loans for female entrepreneurs
Discover the best finance options available for female entrepreneurs.
Methodology for rating business loans
You’ll find star ratings on some of our business loan provider reviews. Here’s how our business loan experts came up with them.
Ecommerce business loans
Discover more about the different ways to fund your ecommerce business.
Business loan calculator UK
Use our business loan calculator to find out your monthly cost and total repayable amount.
Compare working capital finance options for your small business
What’s working capital finance? How does it work? Which type is right for your business? Our guide unpacks them to help you navigate cash flow ups and downs.
£100,000 business loans
There are a few different ways your company could get its hands on £100,000, and since the cost of borrowing will be significant, it’s worth comparing them.
How a personal guarantee on a business loan works
If you run a small business and need to borrow money, you may be asked to give a personal guarantee. We’ve looked at how it works and what risks it carries.
Compare the best invoice financing options
Invoice finance means getting paid right after you’ve issued an invoice, but it can be expensive. We look at the pros and cons, eligibility and alternatives.
Compare business credit lines
Cashflows can be irregular and hard to predict. Access credit for your SME when you need it with a flexible line of credit.
Can you use a personal loan for your small business?
Although you may be able to get a personal loan to start or grow a small business, most lenders state that their personal loans cannot be used for this purpose.