What is Asset-Based Lending (ABL) and How Does a Business Qualify?
Asset-based lending is not as big a mystery as it sounds. Simply put, this method of financing has been around as long as businesses have existed. Businesses borrow money from a lender based on the value of a specific asset. In some instances, the asset may be accounts receivable (invoices), equipment, or real estate.
Why ABL Often Focuses on Invoices
Perhaps one of the best things about ABL is that business owners can obtain the funds they need to maintain their operations without worrying about how their past income will impact their borrowing ability. The most common form of this financing (ABL) is accounts receivable financing — using future invoices as a way of obtaining cash immediately.
While physical assets such as real estate or equipment are also used as collateral for loans, the fact is invoice factoring is often the best option for a company to secure the capital it needs while not taking on any debt.
Vetting Still Matters
There is often a great deal of confusion about how invoice factoring works. Keep in mind, if your business is primarily consumer based — that is you sell products directly to the public and have no B2B relationships that involve accounts receivable, you are unlikely to be able to use factoring. However, if your primary business base is selling goods or services to other businesses, you can typically work with a factoring company to secure funding.
When you work with a company who will provide funding based on your accounts receivable, the strength of your customers becomes the most important factor. The creditworthiness of your customer base may impact the following:
- Amount to be advanced — typically, a factoring company will allow you to collect an advance of between 50 and 75 percent of the face amount of an invoice.
- Which invoices may be used — the less creditworthy a client, the less likely a factoring company will be to advance you funds.
Advantages Associated With ABL
One of the best reasons to consider using your invoices to generate working capital because your company is not taking on any additional debt. Your company gets the cash they need to continue paying the costs associated with your business including meeting payroll expenses, rent of facilities, and purchasing new materials to fulfill orders when you need it most. Fortunately, many small, and medium-sized businesses can use asset-based lending since it is one of the most flexible forms of financing in terms of qualifications.
Industries Using Invoice Factoring
Perhaps one of the reasons invoice factoring is so popular is there are numerous industries who benefit from using these services. For example, a staffing company would have issues obtaining loans because while their main role is to fill temporary positions at companies, they typically have few physical assets. Additionally, these companies have irregular cash flow — a staffing company is generally paid only after a contract with a client is in process. This means they may face cash flow issues and the additional challenge of obtaining a bank loan.
Subcontractors, contractors, electricians, and other companies who may have long-term contracts with a business to do work but have few physical assets also can benefit from invoice factoring. The stronger the client base, the easier a company can use factoring to their advantage.
Every company has different financing needs. In some instances, a company may be able to improve their cash flow by using invoice factoring. Depending on the industry you are serving, you may need other services including letters of credit, logistics assistance, or construction financing. Instead of trying to explain your business to a local bank, or struggling with financing because your business has seasonal cash flow challenges, contact Capstone Capital Group and let us help you find the right financing options for your needs.