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How Much Money Can You Borrow with an SBA Loan?

SBA Loan Amounts

The maximum loan amounts available through SBA loan programs vary depending on factors like the type of loan, how the funds will be used, and your business’s credit and eligibility. Some of the most common SBA loan types and maximum amounts include:

7(a) Loans

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary and most flexible loan program. Through this program, the SBA guarantees a portion of loans made by participating commercial lenders to eligible small businesses.

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  • Maximum loan amount: $5 million
  • Average loan size: $350,000 to $400,000

504 Loans

The 504 loan program provides small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets like real estate or heavy equipment. The loan is delivered through a partnership between a certified development company (CDC) and an SBA-approved lender.

  • Maximum loan amount: $5 million to $5.5 million
  • Average loan size: $350,000

Microloans

The Microloan program provides small, short-term loans to small businesses, often in underserved communities. The loans are delivered by specially designated nonprofit intermediary lenders.

  • Maximum loan amount: $50,000
  • Average loan size: $14,000

Disaster Loans

SBA Disaster Loans provide low-interest loans to businesses to repair or replace property damaged by a declared disaster.

  • Home and personal property loans up to $200,000
  • Business physical disaster loans up to $2 million

COVID-19 Relief Options

Special SBA relief options were also made available during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

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  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans up to $10 million
  • COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) up to $2 million

So in summary, maximum SBA loan amounts can range from $50,000 for microloans up to $10 million for special COVID relief options. The most common maximum cap is $5 million for standard 7(a) small business loans.

What Factors Determine Your Max Loan Amount?

While the SBA sets maximum thresholds, the actual maximum loan amount you can qualify for will depend on:

  • Your business revenues and cash flow – Lenders will review your business finances to estimate your ability to repay the loan. Higher revenues and stronger cash flow allow you to qualify for larger loan amounts.
  • How you plan to use the money – If you have an eligible use of funds directly tied to business growth or recovery, you may qualify for larger loan amounts than general working capital needs.
  • Collateral – For some loans, the SBA requires business owners to pledge personal assets as collateral to secure the borrowed amount. Stronger collateral allows bigger loans.
  • Your personal credit score – Your personal credit history and score plays a role in determining the risk and loan sizing, especially for smaller SBA loans.

So when determining “how much money can I borrow,” it’s not as simple as looking at the SBA maximums. A qualified small business lender will assess your revenues, expenses, collateral assets, and credit to shape the appropriate loan amount for your situation.

What’s the Average SBA Loan Amount?

While maximum SBA loan sizes can reach millions of dollars, most loans are much smaller. According to the SBA, the average loan size is:

  • 7(a) loans: Between $350,000 – $400,000
  • 504 loans: Approximately $350,000
  • Microloans: Around $14,000
  • Disaster home loans: $65,000
  • Disaster business loans: $160,000

So for most small business owners, you can expect to land an SBA loan between $65,000 and $400,000 depending on your specific goals.

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How Do I Determine My Loan Amount?

As a small business owner, how much should you borrow with an SBA loan? Here are some tips:

  • Get clear on your funding needs – Create a business plan and analyze how much money you need for startup costs, equipment purchases, renovations, inventory, marketing, payroll, or operating expenses. Identify the gaps between your financing needs and available capital.
  • Consider your repayment abilities – Be realistic about your current and projected revenue and cash flow. Make sure you have adequate net operating income to cover both your business operating expenses and the loan repayment each month.
  • Align with your loan purpose – Apply for the SBA program designed to fund your purpose, whether it’s 7(a) working capital, 504 real estate and equipment, or disaster relief. This further shapes your optimal loan amount.
  • Prepare your documentation – Lenders will want tax returns, bank statements, profit and loss statements, business plans, and other files. Make sure documentation supports your requested loan amount.
  • Talk to an SBA lender – Connect with a qualified SBA lender like Lendio or SmartBiz Loans to discuss your specific situation and loan sizing options.

The bottom line is that SBA loan amounts depend first on the maximum thresholds for that loan type, second on your revenue and repayment abilities, and third on how the amount aligns logically with your business activities and purpose for borrowing.

Can I Get Multiple SBA Loans?

Small business owners are sometimes hesitant to take on debt, but SBA loans provide affordable capital to those who qualify. And yes, if your business continues to grow and requires more financing, you can qualify for multiple SBA loans of different types and purposes over time.

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However, to get approved for a second loan, you will need to provide:

  • Documentation on how the first loan was used
  • Evidence you can manage this additional repayment responsibility
  • Justification for requiring more capital

As long as you deploy the loans strategically into activities that generate revenue and profit to cover the debt service, it is certainly possible to get two, three or even more SBA loans as your small business expands.

Next Steps to Borrowing an SBA Loan

Now that you know the maximum amounts and factors that influence SBA loan sizing, here are a few quick next steps to move forward:

  • Check your eligibility – Confirm you meet the SBA requirements like time in business, credit score, size standards, use of funds, and other criteria.
  • Choose an SBA lender – Find a lender that offers the loan you need. Online lenders like Lendio and SmartBiz Loans make it easy to see your options and apply online. You can also consider traditional banks that issue SBA loans. Compare interest rates and terms.
  • Gather your documents – Put together 2 years of personal and business tax returns, personal financial statements, business formation documents, business plans, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, accounts receivable/payable aging, and other files lenders typically request.
  • Apply for financing – Complete the lender’s application forms and submit your documentation for consideration. Be prepared to explain exactly how much money you need and how you will use the capital.

With some preparation and planning, SBA loans can provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with the working capital, equipment, renovations, or disaster recovery money they need to start, grow, and build resilience. Consider your funding needs, research your options, choose a lender, compile files, and apply for the best SBA loan for your small business goals.

Resources

  • SBA Disaster Loan Assistance video: YouTube
  • How to Qualify for an SBA Loan article: NerdWallet
  • SBA Loan Requirements overview: SBA.gov

How Much Money Can You Borrow With an SBA Loan?

So you‘re looking to get some financing for your small business, huh? Well, SBA loans are a great option to consider. These loans are backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and can provide some sweet terms compared to regular bank loans. But how much cash can you actually get from one of these bad boys? Let’s break it down.

What Exactly Is An SBA Loan?

First things first – what is an SBA loan anyway? Essentially it‘s a business loan that is partially guaranteed by the federal government (the SBA). This government guarantee makes it less risky for lenders to issue these loans, allowing them to provide more favorable rates and terms for small business owners compared to regular commercial loans.There are a few different types of SBA loan programs available, but the most popular by far is the 7(a) loan. This loan can be used for nearly any business purpose – working capital, equipment, inventory, business acquisition, refinance, etc. As long as it benefits the business, you can probably use a 7(a) loan for it.

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How Much You Can Borrow

Alright, let‘s get to the nitty gritty – how much cash money can you actually get with one of these SBA loans?Well, the maximum 7(a) loan amount is $5 million. Now don’t get too excited – very few borrowers actually get loans that large. But still, several hundred thousand dollars is quite common.The actual amount you can borrow is based on a few factors:

  • Use of Proceeds – How you plan to use the money affects the allowed loan size. For example, if you’re buying real estate or constructing a new building, you may qualify for closer to the $5 million cap. But if it’s just for working capital, expect a smaller loan.
  • Your Business Value – The size and financial history of your business also determines your allowed borrowing limit. An established business with lots of assets and solid revenue may get approved for more than a startup with limited sales.
  • Your Credit Score – Your personal credit score plays a role too (typically a minimum of 680-700). If your score is on the lower side, you may need to accept a smaller loan until you build up your credit profile.

Many lenders break down SBA loan sizes into tiers, such as:

  • Up to $350K
  • $350K – $1 million
  • Over $1 million

As you can see, loan size varies widely based on your specific situation. But the SBA guarantees loans up to $5 million for those who qualify.Now for the fees…

SBA Loan Fees

There are a few fees associated with getting an SBA 7(a) loan. The main ones are:

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SBA Guaranty Fee – This is an upfront fee charged by the SBA to provide the guaranty on your loan. It‘s based on the loan maturity and loan amount, but typically ranges from 2-3.75% of the total loan.

Lender Fees – The actual lender providing your SBA loan also charges certain fees for processing your application, closing the loan, etc. These vary by lender but often range from 1-3% of the total loan amount.

Out-of-pocket fees – As part of the application process, you‘ll have expenses for things like: your business plan, financial statements, appraisals, environmental studies, etc. Budget a few thousand dollars for these costs.As you can see, there are certainly some fees involved with SBA lending. But keep in mind these can often be financed as part of the total loan package. Just factor them in when determining how much you need to borrow.

What’s the Process for Getting an SBA Loan?

Alright, enough talk about loan sizes and fees. You’re probably wondering what it takes to actually GET one of these loans…The SBA loan process involves several key steps:

1. Find an SBA LenderFirst you need to find a qualified lender who offers SBA 7(a) loans. There are hundreds of lenders across the country that participate in this program. Places like banks, credit unions, and online lenders are all options.

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2. Submit Your ApplicationAfter choosing a lender, you submit a full credit application including personal/business financial statements, your business plan, info on collateral, and details on how you’ll use the loan proceeds.

3. Get Reviewed & ApprovedThe lender will review your entire application and analyze your business’s creditworthiness and viability. If approved, they send your loan request to the SBA themselves. As long as SBA sees you as a reasonably safe investment, they will provide a guaranty on a portion of your loan (typically 50-85%). This gives the lender confidence to move forward.

4. Close the Loan & Get FundingWith SBA guaranty in hand, you work with the lender to finalize loan documents, collateral, and terms. Then bam! You close on the loan and get the funding deposited into your business bank account shortly after.While the SBA has a thorough review and approval process, they really do try to help creditworthy small business owners get access to financing. As long as you put together a solid loan request (with help from your lender), your chances of getting approved are quite good.

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What Can You Use the Money For?

We’ve covered loan sizes and the process. Now what in the heck can you actually use SBA loan proceeds for in your business? Well just about anything legitimate that benefits your operations:

  • Working Capital – Managing cash flow is critical for any small biz. SBA loans allow you to borrow money to cover operating expenses, payroll, new inventory, etc. This is the most common use of funds.
  • Equipment Purchases – From machinery to vehicles to IT upgrades, equipment is expensive. Finance the major stuff you need with long repayment terms.
  • Facility Improvements – Whether it’s remodeling your retail space, expanding your warehouse, or buying your own commercial building, SBA loans finance it all.
  • Refinancing Debt – If you have existing business debt with unfavorable rates or terms, the SBA lets you roll that into a new loan to improve cash flow.
  • Business Acquisition – Looking to buy an existing business? SBA loans help fund the purchase, providing money for assets, inventory, and even goodwill & intellectual property.

Really anything that takes your business to the next level is fair game. Just make sure to clearly explain in your application EXACTLY how the borrowed money will be put to use.

What’s the Downside to SBA Loans?

SBA loans have great rates/terms and are easier to qualify for than conventional small business loans. But there are still a few potential downsides to consider:

Collateral Requirements – For loans over $25K, the SBA expects you to secure the loan with business assets. Real estate, equipment, machinery, inventory and receivables are commonly used as collateral.

Personal Guarantees – Nearly every SBA loan requires owners with 20%+ ownership to provide a personal guaranty. This puts your personal assets at risk if the business can’t repay the loan.

Prepayment Penalties – While uncommon, some SBA loans include prepayment penalties for paying off the balance early. Make sure to review the loan terms closely.

Use of Funds Scrutiny – SBA lenders watch how you use borrowed money VERY closely during the first 12 months. Be prepared to document exactly how and where it’s being spent.

Ongoing Reporting – To keep tabs on things, SBA lenders require regular financial reporting like tax returns, profit & loss statements, balance sheets, etc. This is extra work for your management team.As you can see, increased access to financing comes with strings attached. Make sure you fully understand the requirements before committing to an SBA loan.

Ready to Apply for an SBA Loan?

And there you have it my friends! You should now have a solid grasp on SBA loans – from amounts you can borrow to exactly how the process works. Most importantly, you learned that with the right business model and determination, you CAN secure this kind of financing for your company.For a quick recap:

  • SBA 7(a) loans provide up to $5 million for qualified business needs
  • You’ll pay guarantee fees of 2-3.75% and lender fees of 1-3%
  • Approval decisions depend on your revenue, assets, credit score and collateral
  • An intensive application process examines your management capacity and business plan

If you think an SBA loan would benefit your business, the next step is connecting with lenders to explore your options. Check local banks, credit unions, and online lenders to see who offers the best rates/terms for your situation.With a sound business plan and persistence, securing an SBA loan is totally possible. These loans provide the working capital, equipment purchases, and facility expansions that small businesses desperately need. Now go crush it!

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