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The Logistics and Transportation Industry in the United States
The logistics and transportation industry in the United States is highly competitive. By investing in this sector, multinational firms position themselves to better facilitate the flow of goods throughout the largest consumer market in the world.. International and domestic companies in this industry benefit from a highly skilled workforce and relatively low costs and regulatory burdens.
Spending in the U.S. logistics and transportation industry totaled $1.33 trillion in 2012, and represented 8.5 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP). Analysts expect industry investment to correlate with growth in the U.S. economy.
A highly integrated supply chain network in the United States links producers and consumers through multiple transportation modes, including air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime transport, and truck transport. To serve customers efficiently, multinational and domestic firms provide tailored logistics and transportation solutions that ensure coordinated goods movement from origin to end user through each supply chain network segment.
This subsector includes inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply and demand planning, third-party logistics management, and other support services. Logistics services are involved at all levels in the planning and execution of the movement of goods.
Air and express delivery services (EDS):
Firms offer expedited, time-sensitive, and end-to-end services for documents, small parcels, and high-value items. EDS firms also provide the export infrastructure for many exporters, particularly small and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to operate their own supply chain.
High volumes of heavy cargo and products are transported long distances via the U.S. rail tracking network. Freight rail moves more than 70 percent of the coal, 58 percent of its raw metal ores, and more than 30 percent of its grain for the nation. This subsector accounted for approximately one third of all U.S. exports.
This subsector includes carriers, seaports, terminals, and labor involved in the movement of cargo and passengers by water. Water transportation carries about 78 percent of U.S. exports by tonnage, via both foreign-flag and U.S.-flag carriers.
Trucking: Over-the-road transportation of cargo is provided by motor vehicles over short and medium distances. The American Trucking Associations reports that in 2012, trucks moved 9.4 billion tons of freight, or about 68.5 percent of all freight tonnage transported domestically. Motor carriers collected $642 billion in revenues, or about 81 percent of total revenue earned by all domestic transport modes.
American Association of Port Authorities
American Society of Transportation and Logistics
American Trucking Associations
Association of American Railroads
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
Express Delivery and Logistics Association Industry Publications:
Journal of Commerce
Material Handling & Logistics
North American Industry Classification System For Transportation
The Transportation and Warehousing sector includes industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation. The modes of transportation are air, rail, water, road, and pipeline.
The Transportation and Warehousing sector distinguishes three basic types of activities: subsectors for each mode of transportation, a subsector for warehousing and storage, and a subsector for establishments providing support activities for transportation. In addition, there are subsectors for establishments that provide passenger transportation for scenic and sightseeing purposes, postal services, and courier services.
A separate subsector for support activities is established in the sector because, first, support activities for transportation are inherently multimodal, such as freight transportation arrangement, or have multimodal aspects. Secondly, there are production process similarities among the support activity industries.
One of the support activities identified in the support activity subsector is the routine repair and maintenance of transportation equipment (e.g., aircraft at an airport, railroad rolling stock at a railroad terminal, or ships at a harbor or port facility). Such establishments do not perform complete overhauling or rebuilding of transportation equipment (i.e., periodic restoration of transportation equipment to original design specifications) or transportation equipment conversion (i.e., major modification tosystems). An establishment that primarily performs factory (or shipyard) overhauls, rebuilding, or conversions of aircraft, railroad rolling stock, or a ship is classified in Subsector 336, Transportation Equipment Manufacturing according to the type of equipment.
Many of the establishments in this sector often operate on networks, with physical facilities, labor forces, and equipment spread over an extensive geographic area.
Industries in the Truck Transportation subsector provide over-the-road transportation of cargo using motor vehicles, such as trucks and tractor trailers. The subsector is subdivided into general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking. This distinction reflects differences in equipment used, type of load carried, scheduling, terminal, and other networking services. General freight transportation establishments handle a wide variety of general commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a containeror van trailer. Specialized freight transportation is the transportation of cargo that, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics require specialized equipment for transportation.
Each of these industry groups is further subdivided based on distance traveled. Local trucking establishments primarily carry goods within a single metropolitan area and its adjacent nonurban areas. Long distance trucking establishments carry goods between metropolitan areas.
The Specialized Freight Trucking industry group includes a separate industry for Used Household and Office Goods Moving. The household and office goods movers are separated because of the substantial network of establishments that has developed to deal with local and long-distance moving and the associated storage. In this area, the same establishment provides both local and long-distance services, while other specialized freight establishments generally limit their services to either local or long-distance hauling.
General Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized, and transported in a container or van trailer. The establishments of this industry group provide a combination of the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
General Freight Trucking, Local
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Local general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking within a metropolitan area which may cross state lines. Generally the trips are same-day return.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight trucking. General freight establishments handle a wide variety of commodities, generally palletized and transported in a container or van trailer. Long-distance general freight trucking establishments usually provide trucking between metropolitan areas which may cross North American country borders. Included in this industry are establishments operating as truckload (TL) or less than truckload (LTL) carriers.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance general freight truckload (TL) trucking. These long-distance general freight truckload carrier establishments provide full truck movement of freight from origin to destination. The shipment of freight on a truck is characterized as a full single load not combined with other shipments.
General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Less Than Truckload
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance, general freight, less than truckload (LTL) trucking. LTL carriage is characterized as multiple shipments combined onto a single truck for multiple deliveries within a network. These establishments are generally characterized by the following network activities: local pickup, local sorting and terminal operations, line-haul, destination sorting and terminal operations, and local delivery.
Specialized Freight Trucking
This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance specialized freight trucking. The establishments of this industry are primarily engaged in the transportation of freight which, because of size, weight, shape, or other inherent characteristics, requires specialized equipment, such as flatbeds, tankers, or refrigerated trailers. This industry includes the transportation of used household, institutional, and commercial furniture and equipment.
Used Household and Office Goods Moving
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing local or long-distance trucking of used household, used institutional, or used commercial furniture and equipment. Incidental packing and storage activities are often provided by these establishments. Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Local
Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Long-Distance
This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing long-distance specialized trucking. These establishments provide trucking between metropolitan areas that may cross North American country borders.
A freight broker is an individual or company that serves as a liaison between another individual or company that needs shipping services and an authorized motor carrier. Though a freight broker plays an important role in the movement of cargo, the broker doesn't function as a shipper or a carrier.To operate as a freight broker, a business or individual must obtain a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Freight brokers are required to carry surety bonds as well.
Freight broker services are valuable to both shippers and motor carriers. Freight brokers help shippers find reliable carriers that might otherwise be difficult to locate. They assist motor carriers in filling their trucks and earning money for transporting a wide variety of items. For their efforts, freight brokers earn commissions.
Freight brokers use their knowledge of the shipping industry and technological resources to help shippers and carriers accomplish their goals. Many companies find the services provided by freight brokers indispensable. In fact, some companies hire brokers to coordinate all of their shipping needs.
Often, freight brokers are confused with forwarders. Though a freight forwarder performs some of the same tasks as a freight broker, the two are not the same. A forwarder takes possession of the items being shipped, consolidates smaller shipments, and arranges for the transportation of the consolidated shipments. By contrast, a freight broker never takes possession of items being shipped thus in the absence of negligent entrustment, a freight broker is not normally involved as a party litigant in a cargo claimdispute, although as an accommodation, the freight broker may assist the shipper at their request and expense with filing freight claims.
NAICS Index Description
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, local 484110
Container trucking services, local 484110
General freight trucking, local 484110
Motor freight carrier, general, local 484110
Transfer (trucking) services, general freight, local 484110
Trucking, general freight, local 484121
Bulk mail truck transportation, contract, long-distance (TL) 484121
Container trucking services, long-distance (TL) 484121
General freight trucking, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484121
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, truckload (TL) 484122
General freight trucking, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
LTL (less-than-truckload) long-distance freight trucking 484122
Motor freight carrier, general, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484122
Trucking, general freight, long-distance, less-than-truckload (LTL) 484210
Furniture moving, used 484210
Motor freight carrier, used household goods 484210
Trucking used household, office, or institutional furniture and equipment 484210
Used household and office goods moving 484210
Van lines, moving and storage services 484220
Agricultural products trucking, local 484220
Automobile carrier trucking, local 484220
Boat hauling, truck, local 484220
Bulk liquids trucking, local 484220
Coal hauling, truck, local 484220
Dry bulk trucking (except garbage collection, garbage hauling), local 484220
Dump trucking (e.g., gravel, sand, top soil) 484220
Farm products hauling, local 484220
Flatbed trucking, local 484220
Grain hauling, local 484220
Gravel hauling, local 484220
Livestock trucking, local 484220
Log hauling, local 484220
Milk hauling, local 484220
Mobile home towing services, local 484220
Refrigerated products trucking, local 484220
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, local 484220
Sand hauling, local 484220
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), local 484220
Top-soil hauling, local 484220
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, local 484220
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), local 484230
Automobile carrier trucking, long-distance 484230
Boat hauling, truck, long-distance 484230
Bulk liquids trucking, long-distance 484230
Dry bulk carrier, truck, long-distance 484230
Farm products trucking, long-distance 484230
Flatbed trucking, long-distance 484230
Forest products trucking, long-distance 484230
Grain hauling, long-distance 484230
Gravel hauling, long-distance 484230
Livestock trucking, long-distance 484230
Log hauling, long-distance 484230
Mobile home towing services, long-distance 484230
Radioactive waste hauling, long-distance 484230
Recyclable material hauling, long-distance 484230
Refrigerated products trucking, long-distance 484230
Refuse hauling, long-distance 484230
Rubbish hauling without collection or disposal, truck, long-distance 484230
Sand hauling, long-distance 484230
Tanker trucking (e.g., chemical, juice, milk, petroleum), long-distance 484230
Tracked vehicle freight transportation, long-distance 484230
Trash hauling, long-distance 484230
Trucking, specialized freight (except used goods), long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, hazardous, long-distance 484230
Waste hauling, nonhazardous, long-distance
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Why not start considering to use Truck Factoring businesses as a way to change your motive and give yourself a more comfortable future in the eyes of your staff and your bank balance? -Best Transportation Factoring Companies
Trucking Factoring FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
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Effective Ways for Small Businesses to Avoid Cash Flow Problems
Without steady cash flow most businesses will fail to thrive, especially small businesses and start-ups. We've all heard the phrase "Cash Is King" and that's certainly true for established businesses, but for new businesses just getting started cash flow is even more important. Sadly, many new businesses fail to realize just how devastating cash flow problems can be to a business trying to establish themselves in the market. In fact, many businesses die a sad and lonely death simply because of bad cash management, and these are businesses that would otherwise have survived had they not experienced cash flow problems. Statistics show that 82% of businesses fail because they were unable to manage their cash. That's a tragic figure, especially when there are effective ways for new, small, and even large businesses to avoid these problems.
So, let's take a look at some important rules that small businesses should be aware of to ensure they never have to face liquidity.
No. 1: It's Cash That Sustains Business Growth
So many businesses don't consider cash flow an issue because they see the orders flooding in; however, many growing companies do experience cash flow problems. Increased sales generally mean increased costs to deliver orders; plus, in order to support the new volume of business other sections of a business typically need to grow. Your business may appear to be highly successful as orders continue coming in, but keep in mind that the faster your business grows the more financing it will need.
No. 2: Margins Are Just Accounting - They're Not Cash!
We know that accounting, and accountants, can be pretty creative with figures because there's nothing shareholders and board members love more than hearing about the industry-leading margins you're achieving; but your board members and shareholders are not the ones who have to find the money to meet payroll and pay your landlord. Margins don't pay your employees. Your sales may be booked down when your customer's order is delivered, but how long will it be before you receive payment? 30, 60, 90 days, or even longer? If your customers are not paying you and you're struggling to pay your expenses, your business is now in survival mode. Keep in mind that you may have great accounting margins but still have an empty bank account.
No. 3: When You're Selling B2B (Business-to-Business) Cash Flow Problems Will Likely Be Your First Issue
The more sales you make the more money you make, but when you're selling B2B it's not always that simple. Yes, you sell and deliver goods or services to another business and provide them with an invoice, and your customer will pay the invoice at a later date. But how much later? If you chase the business too hard for payment they'll probably never work with you again, so you could receive payment months later. You're not going to pass up businesses who buy with high volume, so you have no choice but to wait. So, you end up with a cash flow problem.
No. 4: Cash Flow Problems Can Occur Very Quickly
It doesn't take much for cash flow management to become a serious problem, so monitor your cash flow very carefully. Determine how much of your working capital is locked into receivables, inventories, raw materials, and so on; and know exactly how much money is required to meet both your sales targets and operating expenses. You may have made the sales but that doesn't mean you have the cash, and you may have paid for inventory but that doesn't mean it's automatically a cost of goods sold.
No. 5: Your Inventory Ties up Cash
You can't sell your goods until you've purchased or built them and, whether your goods are sold or not, your vendor still expects to be paid. This means that your inventory is locking up your cash. You could eventually make two times or even three times your money on your inventory, but margins do not equal cash.
No. 6: You Must Be Practical About Working Capital
Working capital is the figure left over when current liabilities are deducted from current assets, which means it's the money you have in your bank account available for meeting operating costs, paying vendors, and buying inventory - all the while waiting for your business customers to pay your invoices. Understanding and grasping the concept of working capital is a very necessary survival skill in business because being able to maintain sufficient cash to pay your own financial responsibilities whilst dealing with all the unknowns in business can be very tricky.
No. 7: Be Clear on What "Accounts Receivable" Actually Are
The money owed to you by your customers is called accounts receivable, which means the money that's sitting in your customer's bank account that belongs to you is called receivables. Just like inventory, the amount of money in your accounts receivable column is money you don't have. Certainly, you've done the deal and you've sent the invoice, but now you're waiting to be paid. You must remain very vigilant until such time as the invoice has been settled and the money is physically in your bank account.
8. Monitor the Health of Your Business Very Closely
Three aspects of your business that require close monitoring include -
-Inventory Turnover: Measure how long your inventory stays on your balance sheet without being converted to cash;
-Collection Days: Measure how long it takes to receive payment for services rendered or goods sold;
-Payment Days: Keep a record of how long you wait before paying suppliers.
Now, make a plan. Project these figures out to 12 or 18 months ahead then compare your plan to what actually occurs. This is a really great way of gaining some insight into your own business.
No. 9: Prepare for Financing before You Actually Need It
Don't wait until you need financing to start reaching out to finance companies. Contact companies who provide financing, especially credit line financing, and look for products where interest is not payable if the money is not used. Don't wait for your business to have cash flow issues. Waiting until you urgently need cash or a loan will subject you to higher interest rates and dodgy terms. Start the process while your business is healthy, which will allow you to negotiate finance terms from a position of strength. We strongly suggest you be proactive and find a partner ready to finance your business; a partner that's prepared to grow with you.
With a factoring service like us you don't need to wait for cash.
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Bookkeeping for Freight Brokers and the Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make
A freight broker is either a company or an individual who effects the transportation of goods by pairing up shippers with transportation services. The freight broker is not only responsible for pairing reliable and authorized transportation carriers with shippers, but also organizing the shipping needs for various organizations. Besides matching shippers with carriers, a freight broker is also responsible for ensuring each and every piece of cargo reaches its destination - and in good condition.
In addition to these tasks, freight brokers are also responsible for maintaining accurate bookkeeping records, and those who fail to keep meticulous accounting records are likely to lose money in the long run. In this post we've detailed what we believe are the most common accounting mistakes freight brokers make, and ways in which they can be avoided.No. 1: Attempting to DIY Your Bookkeeping Can Result in Costly Errors
Whether you handle the books yourself or delegate this vitally important job to an unqualified employee or even a family member, DIY bookkeeping is seldom, if ever, a good idea. Yes, initially you'll undoubtedly save some money, but your inexperienced bookkeeper's errors can ultimately become very costly to your business and result in expensive financing terms, increased bond premiums, and other unnecessary costs.
We strongly suggest you employ the services of an experienced bookkeeper who's qualified to deliver accurate accounting records, which will ultimately result in fewer errors and the job being completed quickly and efficiently.
No. 2: Postponing Important Bookkeeping Tasks Due to Heavy Workloads
It's not easy running a business, and anyone who finds themselves in this situation understands only too well just how difficult it can be to find the time to complete day-to-day time-consuming tasks. It's imperative that things like reconciling credit card and bank statements be completed each month because it's only through these reconciliations that errors can be found; plus of course it's how you determine out how much credit or cash you actually have.
As tempting as it may be to postpone these tedious tasks, you must ensure that your credit card and bank statements are reconciled every month, ideally as soon as you receive each statement. Keeping on top of statements means you can quickly identify any lost checks, missing deposits, or fraudulent charges, and be able to handle any discrepancies in a timely manner.
No. 3: Failing to Track Receivables and Invoices
Your business depends on you getting paid, and you won't be paid if you're not regularly and properly accounting for receivables. The lifeblood of your business is cash, which means the success of your business is entirely dependent upon you accounting for receivables. To put it another way, if the period of time between paying your carriers and receiving payment from customers is unnecessarily delayed by poor accounting practices, your business cash flow is going to be very strained.
If you're time-poor and realize you simply don't have time to track and collect invoices, then invoice factoring is the perfect solution for you. For just a small fee your applicable invoices will be purchased by the invoice factoring company, but the best part about invoice factoring is that you receive immediate payment! No longer will you have the time-consuming responsibility of trying to collect payments, thus saving an enormous amount of office time: plus, it leaves you free to take care of your own job, which is handling the day-to-day running of your business.
No. 4: Overlooking Liabilities Can Have Disastrous Results
When a surety inspects your business records to underwrite a bond, one of their first and most important considerations is whether your assets are sufficient to cover your liabilities. It's difficult for inexperienced bookkeepers to understand the full implications of accurate record keeping and sometimes DIY accountants record a liability but once the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it understates net income while overstating liabilities, which makes your business appear less financially stable than it actually is.
The only way to avoid these unnecessary accounting errors is to hire an experienced bookkeeper. It's always handy to have another set of eyes, whether it be a CPA or an owner, to regularly review the balance sheet and check for discrepancies in account balances.
No. 5: Miscategorizing or Creating Unnecessary Expense Categories
All too often we see inexperienced bookkeepers either creating unnecessary expense categories or wrongly categorizing expenditures, either of which can be a huge red flag. Generally, each industry uses a standard set of categories for expenses and failing to follow this set of rules can signal to a surety or loan underwriter that an inexperienced person is handling your books; meaning that they may not be well prepared.
It's really important that your business's accounting software is correctly set up, preferably with the help of an accountant or experienced bookkeeper. Additional expense categories should not be added unless absolutely necessary. If you have any queries about how to classify expenses, don't hesitate to ask for guidance from your qualified accountant or CPA.
No. 6: Submitting Invoices with Insufficient Details
Don't try to save time by skimping on invoice details. Your customers' invoices should have detailed information on each line item; for example, do you invoice per mile, by weight, or by piece? Is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges such as fees or reimbursements for fuel, these should be listed as separate line items. The only way to avoid any confusion is to ensure that charges are properly detailed on invoices.
The last thing you want is for your customers to complain about charges they don't recognize on their invoices; and missing information can cause much confusion, resulting in delays in payment. All of these problems can be prevented by ensuring that your invoices have complete, detailed, and accurate information. Don't create unnecessary problems by trying to skimp on invoice details.
No. 7: Not Learning or Understanding the Full Functionality of Your Accounting Software
Getting a business up and running can be very expensive and time-consuming, and many freight brokers simply don't have time to learn how to use their accounting software package to its full capacity. This is not a problem if all your accounting and bookkeeping tasks are being outsourced; however, if you're using the software in any way at all, perhaps even just for entering checks and running reports, we strongly recommend that you learn how to use all functions of your accounting software package.
You can save so much time and have easy access to real-time information on the financial status of your business if you have the right accounting software and you know how to use it correctly. Having this information at your fingertips can help you make the right decisions to grow your business.
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Business Is Great, but Our Company's Cash-Strapped!
There comes a time in the life of most businesses when cash flow becomes a problem, and it's not just during difficult times that this occurs. There are so many different reasons why businesses may need an injection of cash, like sudden growth, or perhaps wanting to purchase new equipment or service bigger clients. Every business at one time or another will require urgent funding to sustain or grow their business.According to research, many small and medium-sized businesses are failing, certainly not due to lack of sales, but solely because they're unable to meet their short-term financial obligations. Considering the time, money, and personal investment that goes into the creation of every business, the failure of a business to thrive has become a heartbreaking reality for many people. Why would a profitable and growing business find itself in financial trouble? The answer is very simple. When just one or more of your larger accounts hold off on paying their accounts for perhaps an additional 60 or 90 days, you've now got a cash flow problem.
Running Out of Funding Options?
When experiencing cash flow problems, business people typically depend on conventional lending sources for a corporate line-of-credit, and many find themselves applying for short-term bridging finance. And how many business owners admit to using their personal credit card to pay for business-related expenses? However, there are times when traditional methods of funding are no longer available, leaving the acquisition of extended financing a frustrating and sometimes impossible task.
Fortunately, there's a viable alternative today, one which has been around for a long time but one that many businesses are not fully aware of. There's now a way for businesses to avoid cash flow problems and continue growing their business from strength to strength, even during difficult times. Factoring, also known as Accounts Receivable Financing, Asset Based Lending (and various other terms) is an alternative form of financing, designed to help businesses through periods of expansion and business growth. Factoring has quickly become a very practical and workable financial solution for many businesses, and more and more we're seeing businesses from different industries look towards factoring to resolve their cash flow problems.
How Does Freight Factoring Work for Trucking Companies?
Basically, a business with creditworthy accounts receivables can use factoring to receive an immediate injection of cash on those receivables. Factoring companies will typically say yes when a bank says no, thus providing a business with a much-needed cash injection. The process of factoring is actually quite simple. Your trucking company needs cash, and because you have quality accounts receivables your chosen factoring company will purchase any number of those receivables and immediately provide you with cash - anywhere up to 90% of the value of your invoices. Once your customer has paid the factoring company the total amount of your invoice, the remaining balance will be forwarded to you - less the agreed-upon fees.
A good factoring company will respond quickly to its trucking company clients and provide them with personalized and professional attention. With freight bill factoring, a trucking company will always have its cash needs satisfied with cash flow. It may be true that, when compared to other means of lending, factoring is more expensive, but borrowers report that the benefits they receive far outweigh the cost.
Freight Bill Factoring Is Not A Loan
Perhaps the greatest advantage of invoice factoring is the fast turnaround time because, unlike banks, there's no loan approval process with factoring. This means that business owners of trucking companies can receive cash in-hand on the same working day! In order to be approved for freight factoring a trucking company must have creditworthy customers and have a good reputation; however, once approved for freight factoring the process of receiving funding is quite automatic. Cash advances will be made on the same day, and it's important to note here that future financing is only limited by the value and number of receivables involved.
Freight Bill Factoring Is Very Popular with Trucking Companies
In the last decade many trucking companies have taking advantage of freight factoring, mostly because it's a great alternative to bank financing. In fact, freight factoring is often recommended by trucking companies financial advisers or accountants. We know of many cases where freight bill factoring is solely responsible for trucking companies being able to accept and process orders from customers that otherwise would have declined due to a lack of financing. Freight bill factoring has saved many companies from severe financial crisis, and even bankruptcy.
It's now very clear that freight bill factoring is playing a very important role in today's business environment. This type of financing allows trucking companies to increase loads, expand their customer base, and even survive a seasonal slump. The truth is that freight bill factoring works, and it works well!
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Factoring Companies - Benefits
Factoring companies offer a wide variety of benefits to businesses. Factoring companies conduct financial business by allowing a business to sell its invoices to a factor (also known as a third party business or individual.) The price that the business charges is discounted in order to sell the invoices that are currently held, and make the cash that is immediately needed for any type of expenditures involving the business. A business that has immediate cash needs, but has no cash to pay for the expenditures that has occurred often ends up going under and eventually shutting down completely. This takes a lot of jobs away from people, and can leave you working for someone else, no longer running for your business. No one wants to take this large step down from the current place that they are in. A business owner has worked incredibly hard to get to where he or she currently is, and does not deserve to have their business become obsolete. This is where the factoring companies can be a huge help to businesses.
Keep in mind that factoring companies do not use the same process as invoice discounting. Instead, invoice factoring (also called the "Assignment of Accounts Receivable" by the FASB and GAAP) is the sale of invoices, instead of invoice discounting which involves collateral in order to ensure that the individual who took out the invoice discounting loan will pay it back. Factoring is not a loan; instead, factoring is the sale of invoices in order to get immediate cash. There is no loan in the process of factoring, and you will never have to pay the money back.
Since the invoices that are sold are also called receivables, the entire process of factoring is usually called the sale of receivables. Receivable factoring is much better than trying to take a loan out from the bank. Banks charge interest on any type of loan, and although there is usually collateral, it can put you in even more debt than you currently are. In addition, factoring companies are never going to give you a loan. When a factoring company funds your discounted receivable, he or she will choose to buy the receivable, giving you cash immediately. This cash can pull your entire business out of the hole that it is currently in. Instead of taking a loan out and getting yourself further into debt, factoring allows you to simply sell your own invoices and get back most of the money that you originally put into them. Although this may seem like a bad process since you are selling valuable invoices, it is important to do, as the invoices are completely useless if your entire business goes under. Instead of trying to take a loan out to keep all of your receivables (invoices) factoring companies benefit you directly by giving you the cash you need.
Benefits of Factoring Companies / Invoice Factoring / Receivable Factoring
When you are in a bind and really need money in order to get through the next few months, it can be very troublesome. Although the first thought in most peoples' minds would be to visit the nearest bank as soon as possible and take out some kind of loan, this is very dangerous. Although the loan may hold your business over for the next few months, it is simply delaying the same money crunch you already had. Unless your business is making an incredible amount of money, the bank loan that you took out has increased in the price that you must pay bank. Interest on a bank loan is how the banks make money and survive. Many loans have a very high interest rate, and if you are unable to pay the loan back in a short amount of time, you are going to be in more of a money crunch than you originally were in. In order to pay back the loan, you would have to make a large amount of money in a very short time, which is unlikely if you needed to take out the loan in the first place.
Rather than bothering with bank loans that will inevitably put you back in the money hole that you were in when you took it out, factoring companies are available to help you. A factoring company is a place where businesses can place their invoices for sale at a discounted price, which will allow them to receive immediate cash. As aforementioned, this money does not need to be paid back, as it is not a loan. Keep in mind, you are not selling your business. You are selling invoices in order to keep your business growing. You will be able to get more invoices in the future when your business is back up and running, but if you do not sell these invoices, you will never be back up and running.
When you are in a money crunch, don't put yourself back in the money hole that you are in by taking out a bank loan. Utilize factoring companies in order to get immediate cash that will help you get back up and running without putting a loan on your business.
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Small Business Invoice Factoring: The Clever Choice!
Many small businesses are discovering invoice factoring and quickly realizing this was a very smart business choice! Why? Because small business invoice factoring converts receivables into immediate cash!
The Ideal Alternative to Traditional Bank Loans
Small businesses are discovering that invoice factoring is the perfect, and much easier, alternative to traditional funding sources, like bank loans and cash advances. Any small business who sells to the government or other companies can use invoice factoring to enjoy the many benefits of accessing immediate cash flow. Whether you've applied for traditional funding and been refused or applied and are still waiting to hear if you've been accepted, keep in mind that small business invoice factoring is a very viable option for you.
How Does Invoice Factoring Work for Small Businesses
One of the major benefits of small business invoice factoring is that it's the credit worthiness of your customers that determines the funding decision. This means that if you're a business who sells to the government or other businesses with good credit, you're the perfect candidate for small business invoice factoring.
Applying for invoice factoring is a very simple process, and you certainly won't be forced to wait weeks, even months, for a decision as you would with traditional funding sources.
Why Small Businesses Are Choosing Invoice Factoring
Many businesses are only just learning about invoice factoring, even though factoring has been around for a long time. Any business owner who has applied for a bank loan knows only too well that, to start with, the application process can take months, and secondly, there's still no guarantee you'll be approved for finance.
According to the Small Business Administration, in the first quarter of the year 2015 small business loan approval rates at banks were 22%, and at credit unions it was 43%. The limit on business credit cards is often capped at less than $100,000, which is often not sufficient to cover unexpected expenses or large projects.
Invoice Factoring: The Smart Alternative to Traditional Lending
Today, small business invoice factoring has become the smart alternative for many business owners because factoring provides an immediate cash advance, with no restrictions placed on the money received. It's also important to note that factoring is not a debt, which means there are no limitations on how you choose to use the funds received.
Yes, small businesses can access quick money with a merchant cash advance, but there's always a high cost involved. You'll soon discover that the cash advanced will cost your business more than 70% effective annual interest. Alternatively, cash advance lenders demand daily repayments with full payment due in just a few months. The demand for daily payback can destroy a small business, but sometimes business owners are left with no choice.
So, let's take a quick look at just some of the benefits of small business invoice factoring, and once you read through this list we're sure you'll think of more benefits to your own business.
With this immediate cash advance you'll be able to -
- Employee new staff members
- Easily meet payroll
- Accept larger orders from bigger customers
- Invest in marketing and sales
- Expand manufacturing and production
- Your business will be able to weather cash flow cycles and seasonal sales periods
- Pay down any existing debt
- Take advantage of early pay discounts from your suppliers (these discounts often cover your factoring fees)
- Extend your customers' payment terms
- Provide a smooth cash flow to support daily business operations
- Overheads are lowered due to reduced administration expenses
- Your business will be self-financed during rapid growth periods, without having to give up equity.
As you can see, the benefits of small business invoice factoring are many and varied, so why not contact us today and let's talk business!
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Growing Your Trucking Company Just Got a Whole Lot Easier
There's a lot of hard work and dedication involved in growing a successful trucking business, but perhaps above everything else a disciplined approach to making the right decisions and taking the right actions is required. The aim of this post is to help both small fleet owners and owner-operators accomplish these goals.
The three key steps to building your trucking business are to grow your fleet, find profitable shippers and loads, and the successful day-to-day running of your trucking company.
The 1st Step: Growing Your Fleet
You won't be able to grow your trucking company unless you have the right equipment. But, securing finance to purchase this equipment can be very difficult, and this is where many truckers run into trouble. Today, there are several financing options for owner operators of trucking companies, and even those with less-than-stellar credit are typically able to achieve some sort of financing.
There are two more-commonly used financing options - the trucking company either leases a truck or it gets a loan to purchase a truck. There are various ways of structuring leases and loans, and each option has its disadvantages and advantages. Your final decision will be determined by its merits, your objectives, and your available resources.
We strongly urge you to consult with a CPA with expertise in trucking when considering financing. It's true that a visit to a CPA could cost around $150, but not only will they help you determine your best option, they could also save you a lot of money in taxes. In fact, it's critical that you seek a CPA's advice if you're planning on growing your fleet. This is not an expense you should try to avoid.
The 2nd Step: Finding Profitable Shippers and Loads
Possibly the hardest part of running a trucking company is finding quality shippers and loads. Many owner-operators use a loadboard to find loads, and this approach does have its advantages. Perhaps the main advantage is that the loadboard allows you to match your equipment and preferred routes with loads. Unfortunately, though, loadboards are not financially worthwhile for truckers in the long term. To start with, loadboards are highly competitive, particularly for the most popular routes, which means you'll be forced to charge low per-mile rates. Now the trucking company must become very vigilant and ensure the load they're pulling will end up being profitable. The second reason using a loadboard is not viable in the long term is that your company doesn't get to grow relationships with shippers. This means you'll always be working with new customers, which can be a time-consuming process.
The best strategy for owner operators is to only use a loadboard as a starting point, but persist with making sales calls so that eventually you'll start building relationships with direct shippers. Statistics show that trucking companies with shipping relationships are earning approximately $20,000 per truck/per month; whereas trucking companies who rely on loadboards are earning approximately $10,000 per truck/per month. That's a big difference! As you can see from these figures, building good and lasting relationships with shippers can double your revenue. Therefore, the best way to grow your trucking business is to develop solid relationships with shippers.
The 3rd Step: The Day-To-Day Running of Your Trucking Company
All too often we see small fleet owners and owner-operators struggling with the day-to-day running of their trucking company. There's a lot of paperwork and related coordination that's involved in moving loads and running a trucking office can be very exacting and tedious. But, it's a necessary task and it's an important one.
If you're determined to grow your trucking company, it's critical that you employ both time-saving and money-saving processes. Managing a small trucking fleet is entirely different to managing a single truck operation. We strongly suggest you approach experienced truckers for advice and, providing you're not in competition with them, you'll generally find that small fleet owners are more than happy to share their expertise with you.
Managing Cash Flow
Managing cash flow can be a serious issue for trucking companies. It's fairly common for new truckers to experience cash flow problems when they first get into the trucking business, and the reason for this is very simple. Cash flow problems occur because most shippers settle their accounts in 30 days, 60 days, and some even wait 90 days. In the meantime, however, you've got your drivers to pay, fuel to purchase, machinery to repair, payroll to meet, and other necessities to take care of. The delay in receiving payments due to you can cause serious problems for any business that doesn't have a large cash reserve. Simply speaking, you run out of money, and without money your company will be stuck. Until such time as your shippers pay your invoices there'll be no more loads, no mechanical repairs, no meeting payroll, and so on.
How to Resolve Your Cash Flow Problems
Fortunately, there's a very simple answer to the question of cash flow problems. Today, many trucking companies are resolving their cash flow issues by factoring their freight bills. Freight factoring has become a popular way of financing new trucking companies because factoring provides trucking companies with an advance on their slow paying invoices. The result - no more cash flow problems! Now, instead of having to wait 30, 60, even 90 days to get paid, you'll be paid by the factoring company once the load has been delivered.
Receiving upfront payment on invoices gives trucking companies the money they so desperately need to cover the day-to-day running costs of their business, with money left over to grow their business. You'll also find that fuel advances are often offered by many factoring companies. This is an add-on feature which provides the trucking company with funding when they collect a load. These funds come in very handy for paying fuel costs and other delivery expenses.
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About Invoice Factoring
Perhaps you've heard about Invoice Factoring but you're not sure how it works or how it might help your business. The purpose of this post is to provide a clear explanation of what Invoice Factoring is and how it works.Basically, Invoice Factoring is a viable alternative to traditional financing methods, providing your company with fast access to working capital. There's no large debt to repay and there are no strings attached. It probably sounds too good to be true, but we can assure you it's not! Invoice Factoring has become a lifesaver to many businesses, so let's go into this a little further to see how Invoice Factoring might help your business go from just so-so to really great!
How Invoice Factoring Works
A very brief definition of invoice factoring is that it converts your open invoices into immediate cash, which of course sounds perfect if you're experiencing a cash flow problem. Factoring saves you from having to wait the 60 or 90 days (sometimes even more) for payment by your customers. With invoice factoring you have the flexibility to factor whichever invoices you want and however many invoices you need, to ensure you have enough cash on hand to grow your business.
The following is a short description of how the process works -
Once you and your chosen factoring company have reached an agreement and set up your account, you're now free to begin submitting copies of your unpaid invoices to the factoring company. These invoices must be for products that have been delivered or for work that's been completed. With invoice factoring you simply continue invoicing your customers as usual, then fax or email a copy of the invoice directly to your factoring company.
Now here's the good part! You'll receive a cash advance within 24 hours! Once the factor has verified your invoices, a deposit of as much as 95% of the value of the invoices will be deposited directly into your bank account.
You continue working as per usual, and the factoring company works to collect on your accounts. It's now your factor's responsibility to engage in the active collection of these accounts, thus allowing you more time to focus on the big stuff, like providing your customers with excellent service and continuing to grow your business.
As a customer of the factoring company you can repeat this process with as many different clients as you want and as many times as you want. You may choose to factor all of your clients, or just the clients that are known for being slow-paying clients. The choice is yours!
The Benefits of Invoice Factoring
Once you're working with an invoice factoring company you'll have control over your cash flow, and more importantly, you'll have a working relationship with your factor that will help your business grow in lots more ways. Let's take a closer look at some of the ways a factoring company can help you grow your business -Credit Checks and Background Verification
It's important to all businesses that they work with honest, reliable customers; customers who have a solid payment history. Sales must be turned into revenue as quickly as possible. However, we know that credit checks and background verifications can be very expensive and these costs very quickly eat away at your working capital. Now, it will be your invoice factoring company who provides these checks for you, at no additional charge. This means that any issues will be addressed before they affect your business, thus ensuring that you're working with top-quality customers.
Credit Repair and Credit Building
Even if your business credit is less than perfect, you can still apply for a competitive invoice factoring program. The benefit of this to the business owner is that, not only will factoring your open invoices cover your daily operating costs, it will also help pay down any current debt in order to rebuild your credit rating. The good news is that start-ups also qualify for invoice factoring so, if you're just getting your business off the ground, factoring is the ideal financing alternative to help you hit the ground running.
Other Money Saving Opportunities
Invoice factoring can certainly save your company money, and it's not only with competitive rates. By negotiating with your suppliers for early-pay discounts or other payment incentives, you'll soon discover new ways of putting your rejuvenated cash flow to good use. And don't forget that, depending on how much you factor, you could well qualify for a volume discount, and this will further reduce your rates.
Steady and Consistent Cash Flow
When you begin factoring your invoices you'll be able to regain complete control of your working capital. Whether you're simply tired of waiting up to 90 days for money that's owed to you, or perhaps your business is subject to seasonal fluctuations, either way, invoice factoring is the ideal method for regulating your cash flow.
Now You Can Start Dreaming Big!
You may have become used to business being steady, but with invoice factoring you'll have the opportunity for business growth in many new ways .
o You'll be able to attract larger clients, with better contracts;
o Increased business marketing efforts;
o New technology investments, or upgrades;
o The ability to employ more staff;
o Training and further education programs for existing staff;
o Relocation of your business, or site expansion.
Finally, No More Debt!
One of the most attractive things about invoice factoring is that it's not like a traditional loan: it won't add additional debt to your balance sheet. In fact, it's actually the opposite; because Invoice Factoring provides you with the extra cash you need to be able to settle old debts. With factoring, it's already your money so there's no money to pay back and no interest to pay. All factoring does is help you get your money into your bank account - quicker!
Why Haven't I Heard of Invoice Factoring Before?
This is a question a lot of business owners ask. Invoice factoring certainly isn't new, but maybe it's just been overshadowed in the past by bank loans and other types of business investments. The fact is that factoring goes right back to the days of the Roman Empire, where factors assisted businessmen (usually farmers) in growing their business. Then, later, it was used in the textile and clothing industry to help pay for raw materials, to finance transactions, and accept larger purchase orders. Today, invoice factoring is used by many different types of industries, such as:
' Staffing, HR
Becoming Familiar with Factoring Terminology
Don't be discouraged because you don't understand factoring terminology. See below for an explanation of general factoring terms :
' Account Debtor:
An account debt or is your customer.
' Accounts Receivable Ageing Report:
This is the name given to a report which shows the financial figure of unpaid receivables, in addition to how long they've remained unpaid.
' Accounts Receivable Factoring; also known as Invoice Factoring:
These two terms can be used interchangeably because they mean exactly the same thing.
' Discount Rate:
This refers to the percentage of the invoice charged by the factor as a fee for advancing funds.
' Due Diligence:
This refers to the background research carried out by the factor to determine potential customers.
' Factoring Advance Rate:
This rate is a percentage of the invoice that's advanced within 24 hours to the client - this figure is generally between 80 and 95% of the total amount of the invoice.
' Factoring Broker:
A factoring broker is a third party whose position is to connect business owners with appropriate factoring companies in order to meet the business's goals and needs.
The right to retain possession of property until a debt has been discharged.
' Non-Recourse Funding:
Most businesses have experienced customers who fail to pay their invoices within the agreed payment terms, or worse, the invoice is never paid at all! Non-Recourse Funding is when the factor assumes all responsibility for unpaid invoices. Because the factoring company is accepting the risk, Non-Recourse Funding is more expensive than Recourse Funding.
' Recourse Funding:
With Recourse Funding, your company must buy back the receivables if your client fails to pay within the agreed payment terms.
This is the amount of the Accounts Receivable retained by the factor until such time as full payment has been made by the customer.
' Spot Factoring:
This refers to a one-off agreement that offers staffing companies the ability to factor just one single invoice.
Your Customers, and Factoring
It's important that we point out here that factoring is not a negative thing, and your factoring company is definitely not a collections agency. In fact, it's important to your factoring company that they maintain good relationships with both you and your customers, and it's their aim to provide the best customer service possible. It's in your factoring company's best interests that the factoring process works as smoothly as possible.
The following will give you a general idea of how factoring works :
' Once you've made the decision to start invoice factoring, your dedicated account manager will start by verifying that your debtors are indeed customers, in addition to advising them of your new remittance address. It's important to remember that it makes no difference to your clients where they send their payment: they know their invoice must be paid, so this is simply a change of address for payments.
' Your factoring account manager will be very experienced and will assure your clients that they'll be well taken care of, and that the factoring company will be managing your invoices in future by taking over your accounts receivable. And that's all there is to it! Nothing will change between your company and your customers: you'll still invoice them as usual, and they'll simply forward their payment to a new Post Office box. Your account manager will be available to help if any problems should arise.
What You Should Look For in a Factoring Company
Once you start doing your own research you'll discover that there are many factoring companies out there, but they're definitely not all equal. The following are points to consider when comparing factoring companies:
As we've explained, factoring is a little more expensive than a traditional bank loan, but some small businesses don't qualify for a bank loan, so being able to achieve some working capital is better than none at all. Do your research, and make sure you understand the overall cost of factoring, in addition to the extra smaller fees that may be charged by your factor. These extra fees may include account set-up fees, application fees, credit reports, costs to research any liens, charges for last-minute funding, or for money transfers. Not all factors charge these extra fees, and not all factors have hidden fees, which means that it's very important that you choose a factor you're comfortable with and one that you can trust.
This is a very important aspect of factoring, and one we can't stress enough. Make sure you very carefully read the fine print of your factoring contract! If you start working with a factoring company and then realize that you're locked into terms that don't suit your own particular circumstances, you're going to be extremely unhappy. These unsatisfactory terms might include how much you're able to factor each month, or being tied to a specific factoring company for the life of your business. If you sign up for a long-term contract, then change your mind, it's going to be a very expensive exercise trying to get out of the contract. Don't let this happen to you! Be very clear on how much you can factor each month, which clients are eligible for factoring, and how long you're signing up for.
At one point or another we've all had to deal with a business with poor communication skills, and we probably all agree that it's extremely frustrating. So, imagine a business with poor communication skills that's also handling your money! Naturally, when it comes to your business and your money, you need someone that's going to immediately respond to your inquiries. All factoring companies are going to say their customer service is second-to-none, but be very cautious here. Pay close attention to when and how your potential factoring company responds to your calls and emails, because this is how they'll be responding to your customers. If you're not 100% happy then move on to another factoring company, because there are certainly plenty to choose from!
' Industry Expertise
Remember that there are many factoring companies out there servicing many industries, so you should be looking for one that services your own industry. Ideally, you'll choose a factoring company that specializes in your niche, which means that they'll already understand a lot about your business. The bonus of using a factoring company with industry expertise is that they may also offer programs specific to your industry, such as fuel cards and back-office support. It's these extras that may prove very beneficial when making your final decision on a factoring company.
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Questions You Need to Ask Your Factoring Company
In today's marketplace we're seeing more and more factoring companies, and factoring fees, rates and agreement terms have become very competitive. This means that, as a potential factoring customer, this competitiveness should work to your advantage. However, there are some issues you must consider when choosing a factoring company to suit your specific requirements.
Before entering into any factoring agreement, here are some important questions you should ask -
What Are Your Terms?
As a factoring customer, you'll be looking for as much flexibility in your factoring agreement as possible. It may be that you choose a long term contract with your factoring company if it includes flexible rates or a price break. In today's competitive market, many factoring companies are agreeing to adjust their rates based on competitive offers from other factors or increased factoring volume.
The majority of factoring agreements are a one year contract, which appears to be industry standard, and this contract will renew automatically unless you provide the factoring company either 60 or 90 days notice.
What's Your Fee Structure?
The fee structure may vary depending on both the factoring company involved and your industry. Some factoring companies charge a flat fee, which is calculated as a percentage of the total value of the invoice. On the other hand, other factoring companies charge additional fees to cover costs associated with doing business, such as money transfers, software, and so on. Ensure that the factoring company you're considering working with is completely upfront and transparent with you about its terms and fees.
Are You Able to Offer Both Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring?
Recourse factoring is less expensive than non recourse factoring. With recourse factoring, you (being the client) are ultimately responsible if the factoring company is unable to collect on your customers' invoices. However, you're not necessarily required to pay the debt out of pocket if you have a recourse agreement and the customer defaults on payment. It may be that the factoring company will withhold a portion of future cash payments or payments held in reserve, with the money being placed in an escrow account until such time as the debt has been paid.
Non recourse factoring:
When you have a non recourse factoring agreement, the credit risk for the collection of customers' invoices lies with the factoring company.Therefore, we believe it's to your advantage to use a factoring company that offers both recourse and non recourse factoring, simply because you may find that some of your customers are more suitable for recourse factoring than others. In addition, you need a factoring company with a strong credit team because they can work with you to ensure you're dealing with good customers: to a certain degree this will relieve some of the pressure of being responsible for bad debt.
How Long Has the Factoring Company Been in Business?
With the marketplace becoming increasingly competitive, today we're seeing the creation of more and more factoring companies. However, many of these companies are recent start ups, with limited industry experience. Make sure you research the factoring company's history prior to entering into any factoring agreement: also research its background into providing financial services in your specific industry.
Do You Have the Capital to Grow with Me?
The fact that there's no limit to the level of financing is the major advantage factoring has over traditional bank lending. As your company continues to grow, so too should the funding of invoices grow with you. Do your research and learn as much as possible about your potential factoring company's client base and their capital structure.
Does this factoring company have a limit to the number of debtors it takes on? What's a typical account size? What's the factoring volume of their largest client? You'll probably find that factoring companies who have been serving your industry for many years will have greater capacity to finance your company as it continues to grow.
Is There Anything Else You Can Do for Me?
Obviously, factoring is more expensive than a conventional bank loan, and this is partly due to the back office services that your factoring company is able to provide. Besides collections and financing, many factoring companies will evaluate companies in your industry and provide credit information. Therefore, when looking for a factoring company for your business, make sure the one you choose offers additional services and products that can assist you in making good business decisions.
How Do We Start Factoring?
Fortunately, factoring companies are not unduly concerned about your balance sheet before they decide to work with you, unlike banks. However, they do have a process to follow when selecting new clients, so be sure you understand what the factoring company is looking for when it's considering you as a client. Are they looking at your credit ratings and/or your customers' payment histories?
Are they looking at your personal credit score?
In many cases a company will start factoring because it's looking for a quick injection of cash, so you need to know how many days the factoring company will take to review and process your application.
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The Basics of Invoice Factoring: Choosing a Factoring Company
Probably the biggest frustration for business to business (B2B) companies is waiting to get paid.Anyone involved in a seasonal business, long payment cycle, or lumpy cash flow will be able to relate to this statement. Some customers are very slow payers (of course corporate clients and governments come to mind!) and other customers demand generous terms.
Explaining Invoice Factoring
Basically, with invoice factoring your current but unpaid invoices are turned into cash - it's a financing solution for businesses. Other terms used for factoring are 'Accounts Receivable Financing', 'Invoice Financing 'and 'Receivables Financing'. Because many clients demand generous terms, it means that invoices can remain unpaid for anywhere between 30 and 90 days; while in the meantime you're left without cash and falling behind on important expenses, such as payroll, and missing opportunities to grow your business. And this is where factoring comes in: factoring reduces, and sometimes eliminates the frustration of unpaid accounts.
A receivable financing transaction usually involves three parties, and these are the company that initially issues the invoice, the customer who is required to pay the invoice (otherwise known as the account debtor), and the 'factor', which is the financing company prepared to supply the cash.
Explaining Invoice Financing
An invoice is issued to a customer after a company has delivered a service or product. This invoice will now be sold to the factor and, in return, the company will receive a cash advance: this will usually be between 70% and 90% of the invoice's value. With this cash the company finds it easier to pay employees; plus, it can now purchase supplies, materials, and inventory, and it can take on more work. Once the debtor pays their invoice the business will receive a rebate for the rest of the funds, less a fee which will be based on the value of the invoice and the term. This type of financial agreement benefits all three parties: the customer receives cash almost immediately, the debtor gets favorable payment terms, and the factoring company collects a fee.
Explaining the Difference between Traditional Bank Financing and Invoice Financing
There are, of course, both drawbacks and benefits to this type of financing for businesses. The obvious benefits of factoring are a simpler application process, quicker funding, and higher approval rates when compared to bank lending. Having access to cash allows a business to grow, to meet payroll, achieve supplier discounts for bulk purchases or early payment, and to purchase equipment in order to improve productivity.
Factoring has a very simple application process which eliminates some of the main hurdles placed on small businesses by banks. The speed of funding with factoring offers businesses the opportunity to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. In addition, the high approval rates with factoring means that many more businesses qualify, even though they may have previously been declined by a bank. Another bonus is that funds received from factoring invoices can be used to supplement bank credit, if necessary.
On the other hand, when it comes to cost, a line of credit at a bank is less expensive than factoring; this is assuming that the business will be successful in their application to the bank and that they'll have access to the finance within a reasonable timeframe. Unfortunately, these applications are not always successful (four out of five companies are refused bank loans), while others find the whole process too discouraging.
Another possible issue with working with traditional factoring companies is that some of these companies will advise your customers that their invoices have been financed: this information can cause issues for some small businesses because they prefer to maintain control over all correspondence with their clients. Other factoring companies actually take control of your account receivables. Our advice is that you look for a factoring company that's prepared to work on a non notification basis.
Receivables Financing Has Become Good Business Sense
Today we see factoring becoming quite commonplace in many industries, such as IT companies, professional services, wholesale trade, marketing, manufacturing companies and so on. Many, many industries are discovering the benefits of receivables financing.
Invoice factoring is an ideal solution for business to business companies who issue invoices payable within 15 to 90 days. Any B2B company who's experiencing rapid growth, long payment cycles, or lumpy cash flow, will benefit the most from accounts receivable factoring. On the other hand, businesses and business to consumer (B2C) companies that are paid on delivery and don't issue invoices would have no need of factoring services.
If you're interested in invoice financing and believe it may be an option for your business, see below for our tips on how to approach working with a factoring company.
How to Work with an Invoice Factoring Company
There are many advantages to invoice financing, but it can be tricky working with some traditional factoring companies. Some factoring companies don't have excellent customer service, and between confusing terms, long term contracts, monthly minimums, and hidden penalties, the experience can be quite daunting. Our aim is to ensure that you get a fair deal when working with a factoring company, and please remember that, as always, if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
You're Looking for Transparent Factoring Fees and Rates
Companies that make it difficult to work out their all inclusive fees are companies who are working for their own advantage, so when determining pricing, transparency is key. If you're getting frustrated and not receiving direct answers, we suggest you move on to another factoring company that will be respectful of your time.
Another Word of Caution: Beware of receivables factoring companies who advertise low rates, which then increase when all their hidden fees come to light. We've heard of factoring companies who charge low monthly factoring rates, but you'll be charged for two months' even if the invoice was paid in one month and one day. We also know that some factors require monthly minimums, which means that you pay for financing even if it's not required. We strongly suggest that you read our article on factoring rates and tricks so that you approach factoring with knowledge and awareness.
Understanding Penalties, and How to Avoid Them
Be aware that some invoice factoring companies out there have hidden penalties. In order to avoid these penalties, you need to know why they occur. If you believe these penalties are out of proportion or unfair, then move on to another factor. It won't be long before you'll understand what fair and reasonable terms look like.
Read the Fine Print in Your Contract
In order to guarantee their profits, most factoring companies will try to lock you into a long term contract. Obviously this is good business for the factoring company, but it may not be so good for your business. You need to know what you're signing up for, so be aware of long term contracts where you'll be charged exorbitant cancellation fees if you should decide to leave.
Also, be aware that some long term contracts include minimums, so consider this carefully: you may find yourself paying for something you're not using when you only needed the factoring company to meet occasional cash flow needs. You shouldn't be forced to remain with a service that's not meeting your needs, so it's vitally important that you carefully read the fine print.
Once you start your research on factoring you'll discover that most factoring companies operate on a notification basis, which means that when you sell your invoices to the factor, they notify your customers. They'll also ask that the funds be routed directly to the factoring company's bank account, instead of your account. This can be an issue for business owners who prefer to have control of all communications with their customers. If discretion is important to you and your business,
we strongly suggest that your accounts receivable financing company provides non notification factoring, meaning that you retain control over customer communications. If this is not an option for your factoring company, then you need to move to a companythat will provide non notification factoring.
How Much Cash Will You Receive Upfront?
You'll receive an advance upfront, which is a percentage of the face value of the invoice. This advance will probably be somewhere between 70% and 90% of the invoice's face value. For example, let's say your customer owes you $1000: your advance payment should be somewhere between $700 and $900.
Factoring Minimums Compared with Single Invoice Discounting
You'll also notice in your research that many factors require small businesses to submit all invoices from certain customers. On the other hand, 'single invoice discounting', also known as 'spot factoring', means that the business concerned determines which invoices will be sent to the factoring company for advance payment. Make sure you understand your factoring company's terms before you sign anything. Single invoice discounting or spot factoring is generally the preferred method for small businesses because it enables you to retain control over your financing by determining which invoices will be sent for factoring.
Choosing Your Factoring Company
Think about all the above criteria, and look for a business partner who will provide your business with the best combination of flexibility, features, and terms that you require. By doing a little research you'll soon find a partner and an agreement that offers you the flexibility, funds, terms, and transparency that work best for you. Your aim is to find a partner that you'll be happy to work with long term, so don't settle for anything less.
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How Factoring Saved A Staffing Agency
The Bellosa Temporary & Permanent Hiring Agency has been experiencing a major uptick in business since the unemployment crisis began. The unemployed and underemployed workers have been keeping the phones ringing. The staffing agency is also fielding a lot of calls from employers too, looking for just the right hire. Company President and Vice President, Laurie Bell and Ted Stevens, have not experienced a boom in business since they first opened the doors in 2009, during the recession. They had an idea then that this would be a profitable venture.
The mantra that Laurie and Ted live by is that there "s always going to be people searching for work and of course employers will always be on the lookout for good workers. This is especially true in healthcare staffing, the industry they specialize in. This seemed to be a safe bet for them as they embarked on this venture, but with any small business, the only way to keep the doors open is to keep pressing forward and out perform the competition.
In a relatively short period of time Laurie and Ted had built a nice sized business, they were able to hit the ground running with some brilliant marketing programs and a number of contracts from insiders. They grew rapidly, the timing couldn "t have been better and they were very lucky in this aspect. By the fall of 2011 Laurie and Ted had weathered some ups and downs but they did have some solid clients like a few big insurance companies and a university hospital close by. These clients always paid their invoices on time. But they did start to notice a decrease in accounts receivables from some smaller clients such as rehab centers and private practices.
As winter approached they recalled previous winters and holiday seasons and realized that accounts receivables usually did slow down during this time. Laurie and Ted made the decision to delay their late payments until after the New Year. This plan didn "t really appeal to them as it "s no way to start a New Year, but they seemed to have no other options.
When New Year "s had come and gone they realized that their Accounts Receivables had gone from 30 days past due to 60 days past due. Before meeting with their accountant Scott, they "d decided something had to be done, but they didn "t know what.
Sitting in the conference room with Scott they listened as pulled all the figures up on his iPad saying,â€œOkay you two, I "ve been looking over the files you sent over and I can certainly see why you "re worried about your late A/Rs but there may be a way to fix this. Do either of you know what factoring is?â€ Scott inquired.
Laurie and Ted looked at each other quizzically, and then Laurie said â€œI think it rings a bell, but I "m not really sure. Can you explain it?â€
Scott began laying out the details, â€œYou are sitting on a pile of invoices that are past due. The more time that goes by without them being paid, the bigger the bind this puts your business in. It makes it very difficult for you to grow, much less hire anyone new. If you don "t have enough cash coming in . â€
Ted interrupted with, â€œThen it could make it difficult to take on any new business because we wouldn "t be able to hire the additional personnel we need and meet our weekly payroll. We need an inflow of cash and we really can "t wait. If we have to wait any longer on these invoices we "ll be in trouble.â€
Scott jumped in saying, â€œAnd this is precisely why I wanted to discuss factoring with you. The factoring company will purchase the invoices you are sitting on that are up to 3 months late, which gives you the cash you need now.â€ He then showed him a chart on a piece of paper he placed in front of them.
Laurie began to carefully scrutinize it asking, â€œIs this the fee schedule?â€
Scott answered, â€œYes it "s all right there. The factoring company makes 1% to 3% of the total amount of each invoice they purchase.â€
â€œThat "s sounds like a good deal to meâ€, Ted said.
The three of them sat there and talked this over for a while and then Laurie and Ted made the decision to go forward realizing this was the best way to keep them afloat. They knew if they couldn "t accommodate all the new clients they were acquiring the competition would get them and they would go down, they could just not afford to turn any business away.
They now needed to fill out an application and submit it to the factoring company and they also needed to show them a few back invoices, undergo a credit check for their company. Credit checks would also need to be done on the companies owing the debts that the factoring company would be purchasing.
It didn "t take long for Bellosa "s credit to be approved and the creditors " as well. Before long the factoring company purchased the overdue invoices and Laurie and Ted got the influx of cash they needed to cover things and allow them to continue growing their business.
The next time Laurie and Ted met with their accountant Scott, there were smiles all around.Scott said, â€œI "ve taken a look at your books so I know that factoring was the right solution for you.â€
â€œIt worked perfectlyâ€, Laurie stated and went on to say, â€œThe tiny amount we paid out for this influx of cash was certainly worth it.â€
Ted chimed in with, â€œWithout a doubt! Whatever the fees were we made back and more since we were now able to hire more personnel so we could take on more business. It worked out for us and for them I would say!â€
â€œThat "s what "s great about factoring!â€ Scott exclaimed with a look of satisfaction on his face.
Best Transportation Factoring Companies Articles
Discovering Trucking Factoring
Lambert Truck and Haul has been in business since the mid1980s. They've delivered goods for nearly every major industry in the nation and for 20 plus years, business was booming as they've traversed the country in all weather for all clients. During the heady times from 2002 to 2007, Lambert was a top rated accounts receivable mastermind of the trucking industry. Few customers were ever late on bills and those clients who were, were sure to turn in their late payments within a reasonable amount of time. Cash was flowing and times were good for all.
But a short year later, in the fall of 2008, when the United States economy took a nosedive and businesses both small and large began to feel the pinch on their pocketbooks, those that used to make their demands had suddenly and largely gone silent. Business slowed down. And worse yet, Lambert had noticed during the early part of 2008 that though the bulk of their clients were always on time with payments, the few late-bloomers there were, had seemingly started to spread this illness. And as spring turmed to summer and summer into the early days of fall, John Rondstadt, CEO of Lambert felt a chill go down his spine whenever he would look at the weekly A/R reports. The numbers of clients who owed him back debt were growing.
He had gone to his administrators and asked them what the problem had been. Were they doing something wrong or different when it came to reaching out to delinquent accouts? By his bookkeepers records, this wasn't the case. He thought perhaps that he was losing clients to a competitor who offered rock-bottom prices with little to no guarantee of quality performance and the folks who owed Lambert money had jumped ship and decided to leave him holding the bag. They couldn't afford to pay him their debt, but they could afford a lesser service, maybe. But after doing the cursory research for this and talking to friends in the field, he found that alas, no, customers of Lambert hadn't gone elsewhere. They had just gone home.
The situation looked dire to John Rondstadt. He had employees to pay, goods to ship, trucks to maintain and overhead that was almost unbearable when compared against the lack of funds that were coming in. At night he would speak to his wife Linda and shake his head in frustration. "I have a bad feeling, Lin," he would say with deep woe."Well, what do you think it is?" she would ask.
John would stare off for a moment and then close eyes. He could see the fleet of trucks he had purchased over the years. He could see them traveling, bringing goods to all of his clients. But somewhere, a haze would form over his fleet and the vast number of vehicles would disappear to but a few. What could cause this ultimate death spiral of business?
"I know what it is," John said. "I've relied too long on the profits I receive from invoices alone. I've let too many of our customers go too long without paying on their bills."Rhonda could only grab her husband's hand and look at him lovingly, "It's a hard economy. It might be awhile until things get settled up."John knew his wife meant well, but he knew that he was responsible for too many people to sit idly by, waiting for the sun to peak over the clouds.
The next day John strolled into his office and was determined to sit down and make every phone call to every client who had owed Lambert money. Now, it wasn't the most efficient way to spend a day as a chief executive, what he really needed to be doing was to be overseeing all of the other intricacies of shipment and delivery and reaching out to prospective clients or retraining his sales team to do the same. Even though he was doing something to help his company, he knew he had folks on salary to do just this thing. Wasting money, wasting time - even with the best of intentions, John knew that he was in trouble.
After a half day of contacting debtors in vain - they dodged his calls or promised to call back at worst or made minimal interest-only payments at best - he was about to throw in the towel when his secretary Beverley knocked at his door."John, can I have a word?" she asked standing in the doorway.
"Sure thing Bev, come on in." John leaned back in his chair and looked expectantly at Beverely. "Well, I did a little searching this afternoon and tried to figure out a way out of this mess John." She pulled a small stack of papers from a folder and set them on the desk before him. "Have you ever heard of factoring?" Beverley asked."It sounds vaguely familiar. What is it?" he said. "Well," she began, "Its actually quite simple really. So basically, factoring invoices would enable us to get paid on the nose for loads that we haul.""Immediately?" John interrupted.
"Yes, immediately," she continued, "In a nutshell, it's pretty easy. We can have an expert account manager review our numbers and help us complete a company profile. That profile will also include investigating our accounts receivable aging reports, our existing customer credit limits and so on. Additionally, the factoring will help to determine the creditworthiness of our customers independent of their credit history with our business. It's a broad view."
"I see," John said. "And then what?""Well, after their review, and we're approved for a factoring contract, we can negotiate terms and conditions. There's a lot of flexibility depending on the business volume and credit histories. This company tells us what the cost will be to purchase factoring for our accounts receivable. We come to an agreement and the funding starts pouring out."John leaned forward and reviewed the paperwork closely.
"It sounds too good to be true, Bev," he said. "Now, now, I know, I thought the same thing. But really, they have guaranteed us experts that do all the legwork, which would free us up here to focus on our clients in good standing and marketing, all that good stuff. And they're flexible John," she underlined a paragraph on the paper before him. "How flexible?" he asked. "They personalize the factoring rates so that the amount they are willing to take on is commensurate with our needs and our client's debt. It only takes 2 to 4 days for this to be figured out.
"That sounds pretty good, seeing as we tapped ourselves out with bank loans last year to repair the fleet and money sure is tight. We need to keep business rolling as normal and every day we're going unpaid, we're closer to facing some serious problems in both the short and long term," John said.
He took a deep breath and looked at his secretary with something she recognized as hope."Exactly". I think this might just be a way out of the trouble we're in with these folks who owe us money."John thought about this and agreed with Beverley. The clients who owed them money were long standing friends and professional resources of Lambert. They didn't want to throw away these relationships because they were having trouble paying their bills now. John knew that the economy had taken a hit and he knew that it would probably be a long time before things started to look up again. That unknown amount of time, if he handled these debtors incorrectly, could spell disaster for both of them. He didn't want to lose business but he also didn't want to lose any more money.
"Well, let me think about this tonight Bev, thank you." Bev nodded, stood up and left the office feeling that she had helped her employer keep on his shirt and hers too.John sat behind his desk and looked over the details Bev had not mentioned in their meeting. What other issues could freight factoring help Lambert with? With his pencil gliding down the sheet he noticed that the factoring company could help fray the cost of fuel with fuel discount cards and fuel advances. In fact, Lambert could receive up to fifty-percent cash advances upon load pick-ups. As a man who hated binding contracts with no room to breathe, he was pleased to see that this factoring company would not make him sign a long term contract, would not make him pay any sign up fees and there was no minimum volume required.
"Well, I'll have to tell Billy about this," John muttered to himself.His son-in-law Billy had liked the idea of Lambert so much and revered his father in law for having such business acumen that only two years before, he had gathered the venture capital to begin his own transportation service company. John knew then what struggles Billy would face but he encouraged him nonetheless. With the faltering economy, if a big fish like Lambert was hurting, a little guy like Billy was about to catch his death. But, an antidote may have been found in freight factoring and John was soon to find out. A few months later after going through the entire application process and having the experts review his accounts receivable, credit history and statements, John found himself beginning to dig his way out of the hole his delinquent account holders had created for him.
They took on reasonable factoring purchase contracts and stopped spending their precious man hours scrambling to collect debt. They took that time and refocused effort to offering competitive prices in new territories. John looked back on the dismal months of life before freight factoring and almost shuddered at the thought. Had he missed the boat on this one, he probably wouldn't be in business today.
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