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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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Immediate payment for your invoices help you avoid financial trouble.
Freight Broker Factoring
It is important that you understand the difference between recourse and non recourse Transportation Factoring prior to choosing your Transportation Factoring company, -Freight Broker Factoring
HOW I IMPROVED MY PROFITS IN ONE EVENING
Freight Broker Factoring Articles
The Best Kept Secret in Financial Services: Freight Bill Factoring!
If you're an existing owner of a trucking business, or perhaps you're planning on starting a trucking business, then you may be interested in Freight Bill Factoring. Freight Bill Factoring helps trucking businesses, both large and small, achieve their overall business goals; but before making any final decision you must fully understand how Factoring works.
Freight Bill Factoring has become very popular with trucking businesses and is often referred to as the financial backbone of the trucking business. If you're not familiar with Freight Bill Factoring, you may not know that factoring is a financing alternative for business owners: it gives them immediate access to additional financing capital they may otherwise not have access to. The process of Freight Bill Factoring is actually quite straightforward: it involves a factoring company purchasing bill of ladings at a discounted rate. This process is a win-win situation for both the trucking company who receives immediate funds and for the broker who pays for the invoices.
Freight Bill Factoring Is Not New!
Freight bill factoring is not a new idea; in fact, it has a long, rich tradition. Most civilizations that have engaged in commerce have also engaged in factoring in one form or another. For example, business relationships during the colonial period in North America were required to make cash payments in advance against Accounts Receivable in order for the business to continue with its commercial operations, prior to their users being paid for their goods. So, they were engaged in factoring!
Factoring Specialists Have Many Services to Offer
Of course, factoring has become a lot more sophisticated over the years, and today it's focused on financial management, credit worthiness, and on collections. However, the basic concept of purchasing Accounts Receivable has stayed the same. In addition, the modern factoring company of today can do a lot more than just funding: a factoring specialist can assist clients by evaluating and setting credit limits, verifying customer's credit worthiness, and professionally managing Accounts Receivable collections. Right across North America we see factoring companies existing in all forms and serving business sectors and industries of all types; and today, many large financial institutions even have their own factoring divisions. Generally, though, factoring companies are smaller, independently owned enterprises.
Banks Step Out as Factoring Steps In
Factoring has become very popular with trucking businesses because, as most business owners can verify, commercial lenders have become increasingly inflexible, with stricter regulations and ever-changing lending criteria. This inflexibility has forced both small and medium sized businesses to search for alternative financing sources, and this is where factoring has stepped in. Factoring is a simple, workable, solution-based process, providing an alternative for trucking businesses when traditional means of financing are not available. Factoring is proving to be a great financial remedy, particularly as banks and other lenders are becoming less friendly to small business owners.
Factoring Companies Operate Worldwide
The volume of factoring around the world has today exceeded the trillion-dollar mark! Factoring companies operate on every continent and, in the last four years, worldwide factoring transactions have increased by 60%. And that's why we say that Freight Bill Factoring is the best kept secret in financial services!
Immediate payment for your invoices help you avoid financial trouble.
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Why Do Companies Choose Factoring?
We know that factoring is the ideal way for a business to access instant cash on their company's receivables, but there are other important benefits as well. Factoring can be a very handy financial instrument for many businesses.
Listed below Are Six Key Benefits of Factoring
No. 1: Back Office Solutions
Anyone running a business knows just how time consuming and expensiveit can be collecting payments from customers. When you employ a factoring company they'll take over that role for you using their own collection specialists: it's their job to follow up with customers until such time as your account has been paid in full. In addition, some factoring companies use online accounts, which means that you'll have the ability to track your customers' payments in real time.
Handing this time consuming part of your business over to the factoring company frees up your time to do what you do best - running your business, looking for new business opportunities, and providing your customers with excellent customer service.
No. 2: Better Quality Customers
Some factoring companies have their own rating systems for companies involved in your industry, in addition to having access to credit data on companies that could well become your new customers, and days pay information. Others create their own rating systems for companies working in your industry, which allows you to make calculated, informed decisions about both existing and new customers.
No. 3: Instant Access to Cash
When a company provides goods or services on credit it usually has to wait somewhere between 30 and 90 days for customers to pay on their invoice, and this very often leads to cash flow problems for the business. And that's the beauty of factoring! When you use a factoring company you'll typically receive an advance on an invoice within 24 hours. This immediate injection of cash allows businesses to purchase additional equipment, employ new staff, and cover other business expenses.
No. 4: Growing Your Business
Because factoring provides instant access to cash, it offers you the flexibility to grow your business at a faster pace. In addition, factoring is very simple to set up. A factoring account can be created within a matter of days, whereas a traditional bank loan can take weeks. And, there's no limit to the amount of funding a factoring company can provide, unlike bank loans. Of course, this is assuming the factoring company you choose to work with has a strong capital structure. Over a period of time, the volume of factoring can increase within months - from thousands to millions of dollars.
No. 5: Funding for Start Ups
Start Ups quite often require financing to get their business up and running; but because they have no cash flow statements or balance sheets, and no business history, they're highly unlikely to qualify for cash flow or asset based lending.
Factoring is not concerned about these requirements because it's main interest is in the credit history of your customers. Before a factoring company offers you financial assistance it will examine your customers' credit scores, their payment patterns, and general financial health. Typically, the factoring company will not be interested in how long your company has been operating.
No. 6: Factoring Is Not a Debt
Factoring does not become a debt to your business because it's not a loan. Your business receives financial support from the factoring company as and when you accumulate invoices, and the matter is settled once your customers have paid in full. It's true that if you're utilizing recourse factoring, you, as the factoring client, assume the risk if your customers default on payment; however, factoring companies usually allow businesses to work off that amount by retaining a portion of reserve payments or future cash payments.
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Everything You Need to Know about Invoice Factoring
You've probably heard about invoice factoring, but like many business owners you may not be entirely sure how it works or whether it could help your own business. In this article we'll try to answer all your questions about what invoice factoring is, how it works, and whether it could help you grow your business.The following definition of invoice factoring may sound too good to be true, but let's look anyway! "Invoice factoring is a viable alternative to bank financing and other traditional types of financing, but it's not a debt, and there are no strings attached." For anyone who's approached traditional lending sources for financing and been refused or left hanging for weeks or months, yes, this probably does sound too good to be true, but it's actually not! Invoice factoring can provide the working capital you need to help your business grow and prosper, so read on then decide for yourself.
How Invoice Factoring Works
With invoice factoring you no longer need to wait 60, 90, or even 120 days to receive payment from your customers, because invoice factoring converts these invoices into immediate cash in-hand. It's up to you to determine which invoices, and how many invoices, you wish to factor, following this simple process -
- Once you've been accepted for invoice factoring by your factoring company, you can begin submitting your unpaid invoices. These invoices must be for products that have been delivered or work that's been completed. The process to follow is to fax or email a copy of the invoice directly to the factor, while at the same time invoicing your customer as usual.- Within 24 hours you'll receive a cash advance from your factoring company. Your invoices will be verified by the factor and you'll receive a cash advance of up to 95% of the invoice, which will be paid directly into your bank account.- Now that you've received this cash advance, you continue on with your work while the factoring company works to collect on the invoice on your behalf. Your factor will be highly experienced in collecting on invoices, thus allowing you to do what you do best, which is to continue providing excellent customer service and focusing on other important aspects of growing your business.- It's entirely up to you how many invoices you factor and how many clients you choose for the factoring process. You may decide to factor all your invoices, or it may be that you have one client that's always late in paying and you'd prefer the factoring company to only collect on that one invoice. It's your decision!
The Benefits of Invoice Factoring
The major benefit of invoice factoring is that, as the business owner, you're controlling your cash flow. Of course, there are other advantages of using a factoring company which can help your business grow and prosper.
No. 1: Your Factoring Company Will Provide Background and Credit Verification
It's very important to the viability of your business that you work with reliable customers in fact, it's the only way to turn your sales into revenues and to develop a solid payment history. But, we all know just how expensive it can be to run background and credit checks, and this simple exercise can dig deep into your working capital.
No problem! These checks will be provided to you by your invoice factoring company at no additional charge to you, which will provide reassurance that you are in fact working with quality customers. It also means that any issues that may arise can be addressed before they negatively affect your company.
No. 2: Your Factoring Company Can Assist with Credit Building and Repair
Perhaps your business credit is not ideal, but the good news is that you could still qualify for an invoice factoring program. The benefit of invoice factoring for a business with less-than-perfect credit is that, not only will you have available cash to meet your daily operating costs, you'll also be able to rebuild your credit rating by paying down current debt. Factoring companies are also well-equipped to assist start-ups, so if you're just getting your business up-and-running, invoice factoring is the perfect way to maintain regular cash flow.
No. 3: Invoice Factoring Opens Your Business to Great Money-Saving Opportunities
With invoice factoring, your business can utilize this rejuvenated cash flow to not only save money by offering competitive rates, but you'll now be able to negotiate early pay discounts and other incentives with your suppliers. And, depending on how many invoices you decide to factor, you could eventually qualify for a reduction in rates by receiving a volume discount.
No. 4: Invoice Factoring Provides Steady Cash Flow
In order for any business to grow and prosper it's vitally important to have a steady cash flow. And that's the beauty of invoice factoring: instead of late-paying customers controlling cash flow, the business owner regains control of the working capital. Perhaps you're simply tired of waiting for invoices to be paid, or maybe you're in an industry with seasonal fluctuations; whatever the reason you're struggling with cash flow, invoice factoring can help you regulate and take control of your business once again.
No. 5: Invoice Factoring Allows You to Dream Big Again!
Having a steady business is one thing, but having a growing business is what every business owner dreams of. Now that you've been accepted for invoice factoring and you have a steady cash flow, there are many ways you can use this cash to grow your business.
- You can increase your marketing efforts and get your name out there;
- You can negotiate bigger and better contracts with bigger clients;
- You can invest in technology upgrades;
- You can employ experienced personnel, or provide training programs for existing staff;
- You can upgrade or replace outdated equipment; and
- You can relocate your business or invest in expansion.
No. 6: Invoice Factoring Is Not a Debt to Your Business
It's very important to note that invoice factoring is not a debt, so there will be no more debt added to your balance sheet. In fact, it's exactly the opposite, because invoice factoring provides cash in-hand, so you can pay off old debts. The money is already yours, so there's no money to pay back or interest to add on. All invoice factoring does is get money that's owed to you into your bank account - faster.
I've Never Heard of Invoice Factoring
Many businesses know very little, or nothing at all, about invoice factoring, which is strange because invoice factoring is certainly not new. Perhaps it's because we typically think of bank loans and other traditional types of lending when looking to grow our business; however, factoring goes right back to the Roman Empire. Back then, businessmen, particularly farmers, used factors to grow their business, and in more modern times factoring was used to finance transactions in the clothing and textile industry, helping businesses accept larger purchase orders and pay for raw materials. Today, invoice factoring is used by almost every industry you can think of, like -- Construction
- Staffing, HR
- Media and Marketing.
Understanding the Language of Invoice Factoring
Invoice factoring does appear to have its own language, so let's clarify some of the terminology -
- Your customers are known as Account Debtors.
- The report showing the total amount of unpaid receivables in addition to the amount of time they've remained unpaid is known as an Accounts Receivable Ageing Report.
- The two terms Invoice Factoring and Accounts Receivable Factoring can be used interchangeably because they mean the same thing.
- The percentage of the invoice charged by the factor as a fee for advancing funds is known as the Discount Rate.
- When your factor conducts background research to assess potential customers this is known as Due Diligence.
- The cash that's advanced to the business, typically within 24 hours and usually ranging between 80% and 95% of the total invoice amount, is known as the Factoring Advance Rate.
- The third party who connects a business with the right factoring company, to meet their business goals and needs is known as a Factoring Broker.
- The right to maintain possession of property until such time as a debt has been discharged is known as a Lien.
- It can occur that a customer fails to pay their invoice on time, or they may never pay their invoice. Non-Recourse Funding is where the factor assumes full responsibility for funds lost. Because the factoring company accepts this responsibility, non-recourse funding is therefore more expensive.- With Recourse Funding, your business will be required to buy back the receivables if your client fails to pay within the agreed-upon terms.
- The amount of money withheld by the factor until full payment has been received from your customer is known as the Reserve.
- Staffing companies may choose to enter a one-time agreement in order to factor a single invoice. This is known as Spot Factoring.
How Does Invoice Factoring Affect Your Customers?
It's important to point out here that your factoring company is not a collection agency and that factoring is not a bad thing. The aim of your factoring company is to maintain a good working relationship with both you and your customers, which means that your customers will receive great customer service. Both you and your factoring company have one common goal, and that is to ensure the payment process of your invoices is as seamless as possible. See below for how factoring typically works -
- You've decided to start factoring, so the first step is for your Account Manager to verify with your debtors that they are indeed your customers and to inform them of a change of address for remittances.
- Your customers must pay their invoices anyway, so a change of remittance address should not affect them in any way.
- Your account manager is a professional when it comes to collecting on invoices, so they will simply advise your clients that they will be managing your invoices in future and taking over your accounts receivable.
- And that's all there is to it! Nothing should change between you and your customers. They'll still receive an invoice from you; but their payment will now be sent to a new Post Office box. Your Account Manager will always be on hand to resolve any issues that may arise.
How Do I Choose the Right Invoice Factoring Company for My Business?
When you start looking for factoring companies you'll discover that there are many different companies out there, but they're certainly not all the same.
When making comparisons we suggest you consider the following points -
1: Factoring Fees
It's true that factoring fees can be more expensive than traditional bank loans, but sometimes the decision businesses are faced with is to simply have access to some working capital or have no working capital at all. What should you be aware of? You need to know the overall factoring cost, in addition to any smaller (or hidden) fees your factor may charge. These fees might include -
- Account Setup Fees
- Application Costs
- Credit Reports
- Costs to Research Liens
- Money Transfer Fees, or
- Last-Minute Funding.
Choose a factor that you believe you can trust and one that you feel completely comfortable with; because you're also looking for great customer service. Remember also that factors may charge for different things, and there may be hidden fees.
2: You Need Flexibility, so Carefully Check Your Proposed Contract
It's very important that you carefully read the fine print of your contract, prior to signing on the dotted line. It would be so disappointing to sign a factoring contract only to realize that you didn't completely understand the terms and now you're locked into a contract that's not clear on how the factoring company charges or how many invoices you can factor per month - or even worse - that you're now legally bound to this factoring company for the long term. Yes, long-term factoring contracts do exist, but be prepared to pay a lot of money if you try and break the contract. Make sure you know exactly how long you're signing up for, which of your clients are eligible for factoring, and how much per month you can factor.
3: With Invoice Factoring, Communication Is Key
Great customer service is very important with any business, and the most important part of great customer service is good and easy communication. And now we're talking about dealing with a company that's handling your money, so you can see how important good communication is! The last thing you need from a factoring company who's handling your money is being forced to wait for days for someone to respond to your phone call or email communication. Any factoring company you talk to is going to say their communication and customer service is really great - but be very cautious. How well did your potential factoring company respond to your initial queries? Then ask yourself: is that how you'd want them to deal with your customers? Remember there are plenty of factoring companies out there, so if the answer to these questions is not an unequivocal â€˜yes', then find someone else.
4: Look for a Factoring Company That Has Industry Expertise
Yes, there are factoring companies out there that cover general factoring, but ideally, you'll choose someone who specializes in your own industry; someone who has a good working knowledge of the type of business you're running. Once you start looking for the right factoring company for your business you'll see that there are many factoring companies that specialize in specific industries, which means they already know a lot about your business model. And, if they have a lot of expertise, they'll probably be able to offer specific programs that relate to your industry, like fuel cards, or back-office support. These little extras can be just what you need when deciding whether or not to factor your invoices.
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Important Points to Remember When Choosing Your Factoring Company
Now that you've decided that factoring would be a solid business decision for your company, the next step is to find the perfect factoring company for you. Once you start looking you'll discover that there are many factoring companies (or 'factors') in the marketplace, and this is the perfect situation for you as a potential factoring client.
But it can also be confusing, because now you have to find the right factoring company to suit your business's needs. To assist you in making the right decision we've listed below the main issues that should be considered when choosing a factoring company.
Factoring Fees and Terms
Before making your final decision and entering into a factoring agreement, check out the fees applicable and the terms of the contract. Both of these can vary a lot, depending on the factoring company and the industry it's serving. When you start your research you'll discover that some factoring companies charge a flat fee: this fee is, in effect, a certain percentage of the total value of the customer invoices you sell to them; whilst others have additional charges to cover the general costs of doing business - such as, money transfers, shipping, collateral, and so on.
Ensure that the factoring company you're considering working with is transparent and upfront with you about its fee structure. In addition, you may want to consider a long term contract with your factoring company if it includes flexible rates or a price break. If you're receiving competitive offers from other factoring companies or you have increased factoring volume, you'll discover that many factoring companies will be prepared to adjust their rates. A one year contract is the industry standard for most factoring agreements. Generally, unless you give your factor a 60 or 90 day notice, your factoring contract will automatically renew.
What's the Difference between Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring?
It's important that you understand the difference between recourse and non recourse factoring prior to choosing your factoring company, because you need to know what the best fit would be for your company and your customers. So, with non recourse factoring, all of the credit risks for the collection of the invoice belong to the factoring company; while recourse factoring means that, with you being the client, you'll ultimately be responsible if the factoring company is unable to collect payment on your customers' invoices.
There are benefits to recourse factoring, and perhaps the main benefit is that it's less expensive than non recourse factoring. If you have a recourse agreement and the customer defaults on payment, it doesn't automatically mean that you'll be asked to settle the debt out of pocket. Generally, what happens is that the factor will hold back a portion of either future cash advances or payments being held in reserve, with the money being placed in an escrow account awaiting settlement of the debt.
Our suggestion is that you find a factoring company that offers both recourse and non recourse factoring, because not all of your customers will be good candidates for recourse factoring. An experienced factoring company working with a strong credit team can also behelpful in ensuring you're working with good customers: this will relieve some of the pressure of being stuck with bad debt.
Experience and Capital: The Two PreRequisites
Your company should be looking for a factoring company with experience in your industry, including the capital structure to fund your business as it continues to grow. Once you start researching factoring companies you'll discover that there are a lot to choose from; however, many of these are recent start ups with limited experience. Prior to signing any factoring agreement, do your research and look into the history and background of the factoring company concerned, especially its ability to provide financial services in your area of expertise.
The idea with factoring is that, as your company grows, the funding of your customer invoices will grow with you.Research the factoring company's client base and their capital structure. What's a typical account size? What's the factoring volume of their largest client? Is the factoring company limited to how many debtors it can handle? In general, factoring companies that have been serving your industry for many years will usually be able to offer your business the best deal.
Additional Factoring Services
There are many more benefits to factoring than simply increasing your company's cash flow. Because the factoring company will be handling the collection of your customer's invoices, your company will be saving time and resources. A good factoring company will also be able to evaluate companies in your industry and provide credit information. In short, your factor will ensure that you experience excellent customer service. You'll be matched with your own representative who'll be able to address any questions or concerns you may have about your factoring account.
So, when researching factoring companies, look for a factor who not only offers additional products but provides a high level of customer service that will help your business grow by assisting you in making smart business decisions.
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The Difference between Accounts Receivable Financing and Factoring
Today, it's not as easy for businesses to access finance as it was in past years, and more companies are being forced to look for alternative, non banking financing options in order to access the capital they require to help their business grow.
Two of the more popular tools available to cash strapped business owners are Accounts Receivable Financing (A/R Financing) and factoring. Some business owners believe these two are the same, but there are, in fact, some small yet significant differences.
What Is Factoring?
Factoring is when a commercial finance company, also known as a factor or factoring company, purchases a business's outstanding accounts receivable. At that time, the factor will typically advance the business somewhere between 70% and 90% of the invoice's value. Then, once the invoice is collected from the customer, the remaining balance - minus a factoring fee - is released to the business. The factoring fee could range from between 1.5% and 5.5%. It's calculated on the total face value of the invoice and depends on how many days the funds are in use and other aspects, like the collection risk.
When a business has a factoring contract they can usually choose which invoices they want to sell to the factor: it's not generally an all or nothing process. Once the factor has purchased an invoice they become responsible for managing the receivable until the account has been paid. Essentially, the factor becomes the business's accounts receivable department and credit manager, analyzing credit reports, performing credit checks, mailing invoices, and documenting payments.
What Is Accounts Receivable Financing?
Accounts Receivable Financing is more similar to a traditional bank loan, however there are some key differences. Bank loans are secured with collateral; which might be real estate, the business owner's personal assets, or plant and equipment; whereas Accounts Receivable Financing is backed by the business's assets related to the Accounts Receivable. When a business has an Accounts Receivable financing agreement, a borrowing base is established at each draw against which the business is able to borrow money: this would typically be between 70% and 90% of the qualified receivables.
Between 1% and 2% is typically charged as a collateral management fee against the outstanding amount, and interest is only calculated as and when the money is advanced. An invoice must be less than 90 days old in order to count towards the borrowing base, and the finance company must deem the business credit worthy. There may also be other conditions to fulfil.
So, you can see that there are many similarities between Accounts Receivable financing and factoring; however, one is the sale of an asset (receivables or invoices) to a third party, while the other is actually a loan. In many ways, though, they do act similarly. Below we've listed the main features of each so you can determine which would be the best fit for your company.
Accounts Receivable Financing
' Generally, Accounts Receivable Financing is not as expensive as factoring;
' It can be easier to move from this type of financing to a traditional bank line of credit once a business becomes bankable again;
' Typically, a minimum of $75,000 per month is required in sales to qualify, so this type of financing may not be available to small companies;
' Due to the fact that the business will be required to submit all of its Accounts Receivable to the finance company, this type of financing can be less flexible than factoring.
' It's quite easy to qualify for factoring, and factoring is the ideal solution for start ups and financially challenged companies;
' Because businesses can decide which invoices they want to sell to the factor, factoring offers more flexibility than Accounts Receivable Financing;
' The company is able to track total costs on an invoice by invoice basis because factoring has a simple and straightforward fee structure.
Today we see both Accounts Receivable Financing and factoring as traditional sources of financing; effective when traditional bank financing is not an option. Factoring can carry a business through a period when an immediate cash input is required.
Somewhere between 12 and 24 months most companies are generally able to repair their financial situation and once again become bankable. However, some companies in certain industries continue factoring their invoices indefinitely.An example of this is the trucking industry, which relies heavily on factoring for cash flow injections.
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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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Healthcare Staffing Factoring
The healthcare field is arguably one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. With the baby boomers, the largest section of our population, reaching retirement age the need for expanding healthcare services has never been more pronounced.
At the center of this growth are healthcare staffing agencies that hire for hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices and a wide range of medical facilities. However, while business is booming the ability for these staffing agencies to expand is inhibited by the customer invoice system. Fortunately, there are healthcare staffing factoring companies around to help them in their time of need.
We asked the owner of a local healthcare staffing agency, Joy Reed, to talk to us about how factoring companies helped expand her business and provide a much needed boost at a critical time for her company.
"Hello Joy and welcome. I was hoping you would tell us a little about how healthcare staffing factoring companies helped your business, but I suppose we should begin by how you got started in this business?"
Joy Reed (JR), "Thanks for having me. I actually have been a part of several start-up businesses in my recent career and was looking for a field that would show a lot of promise. It was pretty clear to me that medical staffing was a big need in the healthcare field so I set about to start my own business. I had experience in starting up businesses before, so I drew up a business plan, took out a loan, rented the offices and hired a staff to get started."
"So, you did what most people do in starting up a business. How did it do?"JR: "I actually got off to a pretty good start. I had made a few contacts and managed to get some business right away. This was really helpful because as you might know our clients use invoices for payments and it can take up to 90 days before we actually get the cash in hand. Around four months in we were facing a real crossroads as new opportunities opened up for our business, but we didn't have the cash on hand to take advantage."
"I'm a little confused. You say you were doing well, but you didn't have the ability to expand your business?"
JR: "That's right. The problem was back to the invoices that were making up wait up to 3 months before we had the cash. I really wanted to expand my staffing business to handle the new opportunities I was being presented, but I couldn't because I was still waiting on the invoices to finally turn to cash. So I was asking my accountant about what could be done when the suggestion of a healthcare staffing factoring company was introduced."
"Tell us a bit more about factoring companies."
JR: "Basically, factoring companies purchase the invoices right on the spot so you can have cash on hand immediately instead of waiting up to three months. For healthcare staffing factoring companies, they will then collect the money from the business when the invoice is read to be fully paid. It really worked out for me because I was able to get cash quickly to add new personnel and even expand my offices to include another section of the building I was renting in."
"I understand that factoring companies are there for many different kinds of businesses, including medical staffing. Was it difficult to get set up with a factoring company?"
JR: Actually, it was pretty easy once we found a company that met our needs. I just filled out a short form and they looked over a few of the invoices I had to see what companies that I worked with. It really didn't take long at all before they agreed to cash some of the invoices and I got the money I needed to expand."
"Could you tell me a little more about the advantages of using a factoring company like this?"
JR: "Sure, I was not only able to hire a couple of new people and rent additional space, I've been able to cash my invoices when unexpected bills come up or if I need to make a purchase quickly for a new piece of equipment. This has come in really handy recently when I decided to move to a new location and needed some cash on hand to make the transition. The factoring services are really quite good with reasonable rates and fast service."
"What's the differences in using factoring companies over getting a new loan?"
JR: "It is frankly much better than getting a loan because with factoring there is nothing to pay back. We are basically getting our own money from the invoices we've earned up front and paying only a small fee. With a loan, I would not only have to pay it back but with interest as well. Factoring for us has really been a godsend when it comes to making decisions about how to expand my business. I'm no longer tied down to waiting 2 to 3 months to get paid when I can take what my business has earned and get cash immediately."
"I take it that you are happy with how healthcare staffing factoring has worked out for you?"
JR: "You would be correct. I cannot imagine how my business would have expanded at that critical time without factoring companies to buy my invoices. This is a great service that has helped me in my time of need and now my medical staffing business is bigger than ever. I'd recommend factoring companies to anyone running a business that relies on invoices if they need to get cash quickly."
There is little doubt that Joy Reed has been quite happy about the services she received working with a factoring company. Perhaps factoring is right for you and your needs, be sure to search for the type of factoring business that works in your field so that you can get the right services in helping your company to succeed.
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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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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.
You Can Find More Information at http://factorreceivables.net/
and at craigwinters,com/