Invoice factoring is when a business chooses to sell their open receivables for immediate cash to a factoring company. The business does not have to wait for the customer to pay because immediate working capital is provided through the invoice factoring. This money can be used to easily grow the business, meet payroll, bring the bills current or maintain the daily expenses.
Eliminating the Wait
The immediate cash provided through invoice factoring enables the business to operate efficiently and to achieve growth. This is different than a loan and invoice factoring does not create a debt. The cash received by the business is based on the payment and credit history of their clients as opposed to the business itself. This often benefits businesses unwilling to increase their debt or unable to qualify for a traditional loan.
The Steps for Invoice Factoring
Invoice factoring is also referred to as receivable factoring or accounts receivable financing. The process is straightforward. The first step is entering into an agreement with one of the factoring companies. The business continues creating invoices in the same way. The difference is they are sent to the factoring company instead of the customers. Once the invoice is purchased by the factoring company, an advance is deposited directly into the bank account for the business within 24 hours. The typical advance is ninety percent. After the invoice has been paid by the customer, the remaining balance minus a small fee is paid by the factoring company.
Loans and Lines of Credit
When most businesses require working capital, they go directly to the bank. This process is more difficult than it seems. The process for receiving a business line of credit or a business loan can take several weeks or several months. Both credit lines and bank loans add debt to the balance sheet for the business. The credit established by the business is used by the bank to qualify them for a credit line or a loan. If the company has credit that is not perfect or no credit at all, they will not be able to get enough cash from a bank to maintain or expand their business.
Even if the company should qualify, the bank will place a limit on the amount of money the business can access. This can make it more difficult for the business to grow. Invoice factoring is fast and easy. It takes as little as fifteen minutes for the business to be approved for factoring. The factoring line is not based on business or personal credit. It is based on the credit of the customers. This provides a lot of room for growth with $50,000 to $20,000,000 factoring lines.
Invoice Factoring Agreements
The factoring agreement is the foundation of the relationship. This is the agreement between the factoring company and the client. This agreement generally includes the factoring discount or fee, the volume commitment, the length of service and the advance rate.
The Length of the Agreement
The specific program dictates the contract terms. A contract can be written for a period of three months, six month or for several years. There are also contracts that run on a monthly basis. These often meet the needs of the business best. It is important to ask questions when speaking with the factoring company. The contract should be ready thoroughly before the business signs.
The Factoring Volume
The majority of agreements incorporate a volume contract. When the business makes a commitment for a specific number of invoices, they will receive the lowest rates and the maximum advance to assist with their cash requirements.
Factoring Company Advances
In most situations, the advance from the factoring company is seventy percent or higher of the amount of the invoice. The amount advanced is dependent on numerous variables including the pay trends, the creditworthiness of the customers and the volume. Some companies are offering very competitive advance rates.
The Factoring Fees
The basis for the factoring fees include the customer pay trends, the industry, the size of the invoices and the volume. Some factoring companies have a factoring fee in addition to fees for support and administrative services. Others simply charge a flat fee. It is important to read any fine print in the contract to understand the exact charges. It is also a good idea to ask questions.
The Types of Factoring Companies
There are a lot of factoring companies in North America. The key to a successful relationship is choosing the right one. The factoring company must meet the businesses needs while providing services that make the relationship valuable.
Factoring Generalist vs Factoring Specialist
Since invoice factoring is available in numerous industries, the companies became divided into either generalists or specialists. A factoring generalist is a factoring company providing multiple industries with financing. Generally speaking, their client portfolio has been spread throughout numerous industries. Most of their clients are the smaller businesses. A factoring specialist concentrates on a specific industry. A good example is a factoring company specializing in staffing. Most of their invoices will be from the trucking industry. In most cases, their portfolio consists of small to medium businesses in one industry.
Non-Recourse vs Recourse Factoring Companies
A factoring company is either a non-recourse or recourse company. Understanding the difference is important when choosing the right company for the business. The most common type is a recourse factoring company. This type of company is able to sell back the invoice if the payment is not made in the period of time the agreement specifies. This time frame is usually a minimum of ninety days.
Non-recourse factoring companies are uncommon in the industry of accounts receivable financing. Numerous factoring companies advertise themselves as being non-recourse. Despite this, the fine print on the contract states many reasons why the invoice is unable to be exempt. When the company is actually non-recourse, they will take all of the credit risks regarding the invoice collection being sold by the business. In comparison to recourse factoring, the credit reviews are more stringent and the fees are a lot higher.