Information for the city of Birmingham
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city's population was 212,237 according to the 2010 United States Census. The Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047 according to the 2010 Census, which is approximately one quarter of Alabama's population.Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading.
Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, United Kingdom; one of the UK's major industrial cities. Many, if not most, of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. In one writer's view, the city was planned as a place where cheap, non unionized, and African American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining.
Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies.In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. Since that time it has also obtained a campus of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is also home of the private Birmingham Southern College. Between these two universities and Sam University, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferencesFrom Birmingham's early days onward, the steel industry has always played a crucial role in the local economy.
Though the steel industry no longer has the same prominence it once held in Birmingham, steel production and processing continue to play a key role in the economy. Steel products manufacturers . In recent years, local steel companies have announced about $100 million worth of investment in expansions and new plants in and around the city. Vulcan Company, a major provider of crushed stone, sand, and gravel used in construction, is also based in Birmingham.In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by investments in bio technology and medical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and its adjacent hospital. The UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center providing health care and breakthrough medical research. UAB is now the area's largest employer and the second largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 18,750 as of 2011.
As of 2009, the finance & banking sector in Birmingham employed 1,870 financial managers, 1,530 loan officers, 680 securities commodities and financial services sales agents, 380 financial analysts, 310 financial examiners, 220 credit analysts, and 130 loan counselors. City Center in downtownThe telephone company that is now owned by ., which was formerly and before that , which had its headquarters in Birmingham, has a major nexus in Birmingham, supported by a skyscraper downtown as well as several large operational center buildings and a data center.The insurance companieshave their headquarters in Birmingham, and these employ a large number of people in Greater Birmingham.Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies,each with more than $500 million in sales per year, are located in Birmingham. The Birmingham metropolitan area has consistently been rated as one of America's best places to work and earn a living based on the area's competitive salary rates and relatively low living expenses. One study published in 2006 by Salary.com determined that Birmingham was second in the nation for building personal net worth, based on local salary rates, living expenses, and unemployment rates.A 2006 study by web site bizjournals.com calculated Birmingham's "combined personal income" (the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a year) at $48.1 billion.Birmingham's sales tax, which also applies fully to groceries, stands at 10 percent and is the highest tax rate of the nation's 100 largest cities.Although Jefferson County's bankruptcy filing was the largest government bankruptcy in United States history, Birmingham remains solvent
Information for the state of Alabama
The state has invested in aerospace, education, health care, banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the state's gross domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming conglomerates.
Occupations outside of agriculture were widespread by 2008. Employment in that year was 121,800 in management occupations; 71,750 in business and financial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences; 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in fire fighting, law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in office and administration support; 20,510 in farming, fishing, and forestry; 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair; 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and material moving.
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Companies of all different sizes, including start ups, use factoring; and today factoring has become common business practice across many industries. -Birmingham Factoring Companies
ARE YOU ASHAMED OF YOUR CASH FLOW
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Effective Ways for Small Businesses to Avoid Cash Flow Problems
Without steady cash flow most businesses will fail to thrive, especially small businesses and start-ups. We've all heard the phrase "Cash Is King" and that's certainly true for established businesses, but for new businesses just getting started cash flow is even more important. Sadly, many new businesses fail to realize just how devastating cash flow problems can be to a business trying to establish themselves in the market. In fact, many businesses die a sad and lonely death simply because of bad cash management, and these are businesses that would otherwise have survived had they not experienced cash flow problems. Statistics show that 82% of businesses fail because they were unable to manage their cash. That's a tragic figure, especially when there are effective ways for new, small, and even large businesses to avoid these problems.
So, let's take a look at some important rules that small businesses should be aware of to ensure they never have to face liquidity.
No. 1: It's Cash That Sustains Business Growth
So many businesses don't consider cash flow an issue because they see the orders flooding in; however, many growing companies do experience cash flow problems. Increased sales generally mean increased costs to deliver orders; plus, in order to support the new volume of business other sections of a business typically need to grow. Your business may appear to be highly successful as orders continue coming in, but keep in mind that the faster your business grows the more financing it will need.
No. 2: Margins Are Just Accounting - They're Not Cash!
We know that accounting, and accountants, can be pretty creative with figures because there's nothing shareholders and board members love more than hearing about the industry-leading margins you're achieving; but your board members and shareholders are not the ones who have to find the money to meet payroll and pay your landlord. Margins don't pay your employees. Your sales may be booked down when your customer's order is delivered, but how long will it be before you receive payment? 30, 60, 90 days, or even longer? If your customers are not paying you and you're struggling to pay your expenses, your business is now in survival mode. Keep in mind that you may have great accounting margins but still have an empty bank account.
No. 3: When You're Selling B2B (Business-to-Business) Cash Flow Problems Will Likely Be Your First Issue
The more sales you make the more money you make, but when you're selling B2B it's not always that simple. Yes, you sell and deliver goods or services to another business and provide them with an invoice, and your customer will pay the invoice at a later date. But how much later? If you chase the business too hard for payment they'll probably never work with you again, so you could receive payment months later. You're not going to pass up businesses who buy with high volume, so you have no choice but to wait. So, you end up with a cash flow problem.
No. 4: Cash Flow Problems Can Occur Very Quickly
It doesn't take much for cash flow management to become a serious problem, so monitor your cash flow very carefully. Determine how much of your working capital is locked into receivables, inventories, raw materials, and so on; and know exactly how much money is required to meet both your sales targets and operating expenses. You may have made the sales but that doesn't mean you have the cash, and you may have paid for inventory but that doesn't mean it's automatically a cost of goods sold.
No. 5: Your Inventory Ties up Cash
You can't sell your goods until you've purchased or built them and, whether your goods are sold or not, your vendor still expects to be paid. This means that your inventory is locking up your cash. You could eventually make two times or even three times your money on your inventory, but margins do not equal cash.
No. 6: You Must Be Practical About Working Capital
Working capital is the figure left over when current liabilities are deducted from current assets, which means it's the money you have in your bank account available for meeting operating costs, paying vendors, and buying inventory - all the while waiting for your business customers to pay your invoices. Understanding and grasping the concept of working capital is a very necessary survival skill in business because being able to maintain sufficient cash to pay your own financial responsibilities whilst dealing with all the unknowns in business can be very tricky.
No. 7: Be Clear on What "Accounts Receivable" Actually Are
The money owed to you by your customers is called accounts receivable, which means the money that's sitting in your customer's bank account that belongs to you is called receivables. Just like inventory, the amount of money in your accounts receivable column is money you don't have. Certainly, you've done the deal and you've sent the invoice, but now you're waiting to be paid. You must remain very vigilant until such time as the invoice has been settled and the money is physically in your bank account.
8. Monitor the Health of Your Business Very Closely
Three aspects of your business that require close monitoring include -
-Inventory Turnover: Measure how long your inventory stays on your balance sheet without being converted to cash;
-Collection Days: Measure how long it takes to receive payment for services rendered or goods sold;
-Payment Days: Keep a record of how long you wait before paying suppliers.
Now, make a plan. Project these figures out to 12 or 18 months ahead then compare your plan to what actually occurs. This is a really great way of gaining some insight into your own business.
No. 9: Prepare for Financing before You Actually Need It
Don't wait until you need financing to start reaching out to finance companies. Contact companies who provide financing, especially credit line financing, and look for products where interest is not payable if the money is not used. Don't wait for your business to have cash flow issues. Waiting until you urgently need cash or a loan will subject you to higher interest rates and dodgy terms. Start the process while your business is healthy, which will allow you to negotiate finance terms from a position of strength. We strongly suggest you be proactive and find a partner ready to finance your business; a partner that's prepared to grow with you.
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Bookkeeping for Freight Brokers and the Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make
A freight broker is either a company or an individual who effects the transportation of goods by pairing up shippers with transportation services. The freight broker is not only responsible for pairing reliable and authorized transportation carriers with shippers, but also organizing the shipping needs for various organizations. Besides matching shippers with carriers, a freight broker is also responsible for ensuring each and every piece of cargo reaches its destination - and in good condition.
In addition to these tasks, freight brokers are also responsible for maintaining accurate bookkeeping records, and those who fail to keep meticulous accounting records are likely to lose money in the long run. In this post we've detailed what we believe are the most common accounting mistakes freight brokers make, and ways in which they can be avoided.No. 1: Attempting to DIY Your Bookkeeping Can Result in Costly Errors
Whether you handle the books yourself or delegate this vitally important job to an unqualified employee or even a family member, DIY bookkeeping is seldom, if ever, a good idea. Yes, initially you'll undoubtedly save some money, but your inexperienced bookkeeper's errors can ultimately become very costly to your business and result in expensive financing terms, increased bond premiums, and other unnecessary costs.
We strongly suggest you employ the services of an experienced bookkeeper who's qualified to deliver accurate accounting records, which will ultimately result in fewer errors and the job being completed quickly and efficiently.
No. 2: Postponing Important Bookkeeping Tasks Due to Heavy Workloads
It's not easy running a business, and anyone who finds themselves in this situation understands only too well just how difficult it can be to find the time to complete day-to-day time-consuming tasks. It's imperative that things like reconciling credit card and bank statements be completed each month because it's only through these reconciliations that errors can be found; plus of course it's how you determine out how much credit or cash you actually have.
As tempting as it may be to postpone these tedious tasks, you must ensure that your credit card and bank statements are reconciled every month, ideally as soon as you receive each statement. Keeping on top of statements means you can quickly identify any lost checks, missing deposits, or fraudulent charges, and be able to handle any discrepancies in a timely manner.
No. 3: Failing to Track Receivables and Invoices
Your business depends on you getting paid, and you won't be paid if you're not regularly and properly accounting for receivables. The lifeblood of your business is cash, which means the success of your business is entirely dependent upon you accounting for receivables. To put it another way, if the period of time between paying your carriers and receiving payment from customers is unnecessarily delayed by poor accounting practices, your business cash flow is going to be very strained.
If you're time-poor and realize you simply don't have time to track and collect invoices, then invoice factoring is the perfect solution for you. For just a small fee your applicable invoices will be purchased by the invoice factoring company, but the best part about invoice factoring is that you receive immediate payment! No longer will you have the time-consuming responsibility of trying to collect payments, thus saving an enormous amount of office time: plus, it leaves you free to take care of your own job, which is handling the day-to-day running of your business.
No. 4: Overlooking Liabilities Can Have Disastrous Results
When a surety inspects your business records to underwrite a bond, one of their first and most important considerations is whether your assets are sufficient to cover your liabilities. It's difficult for inexperienced bookkeepers to understand the full implications of accurate record keeping and sometimes DIY accountants record a liability but once the payment is made they forget to reverse the liability. This is a serious error because it understates net income while overstating liabilities, which makes your business appear less financially stable than it actually is.
The only way to avoid these unnecessary accounting errors is to hire an experienced bookkeeper. It's always handy to have another set of eyes, whether it be a CPA or an owner, to regularly review the balance sheet and check for discrepancies in account balances.
No. 5: Miscategorizing or Creating Unnecessary Expense Categories
All too often we see inexperienced bookkeepers either creating unnecessary expense categories or wrongly categorizing expenditures, either of which can be a huge red flag. Generally, each industry uses a standard set of categories for expenses and failing to follow this set of rules can signal to a surety or loan underwriter that an inexperienced person is handling your books; meaning that they may not be well prepared.
It's really important that your business's accounting software is correctly set up, preferably with the help of an accountant or experienced bookkeeper. Additional expense categories should not be added unless absolutely necessary. If you have any queries about how to classify expenses, don't hesitate to ask for guidance from your qualified accountant or CPA.
No. 6: Submitting Invoices with Insufficient Details
Don't try to save time by skimping on invoice details. Your customers' invoices should have detailed information on each line item; for example, do you invoice per mile, by weight, or by piece? Is the charge a flat fee? If there are additional charges such as fees or reimbursements for fuel, these should be listed as separate line items. The only way to avoid any confusion is to ensure that charges are properly detailed on invoices.
The last thing you want is for your customers to complain about charges they don't recognize on their invoices; and missing information can cause much confusion, resulting in delays in payment. All of these problems can be prevented by ensuring that your invoices have complete, detailed, and accurate information. Don't create unnecessary problems by trying to skimp on invoice details.
No. 7: Not Learning or Understanding the Full Functionality of Your Accounting Software
Getting a business up and running can be very expensive and time-consuming, and many freight brokers simply don't have time to learn how to use their accounting software package to its full capacity. This is not a problem if all your accounting and bookkeeping tasks are being outsourced; however, if you're using the software in any way at all, perhaps even just for entering checks and running reports, we strongly recommend that you learn how to use all functions of your accounting software package.
You can save so much time and have easy access to real-time information on the financial status of your business if you have the right accounting software and you know how to use it correctly. Having this information at your fingertips can help you make the right decisions to grow your business.
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Business Is Great, but Our Company's Cash-Strapped!
There comes a time in the life of most businesses when cash flow becomes a problem, and it's not just during difficult times that this occurs. There are so many different reasons why businesses may need an injection of cash, like sudden growth, or perhaps wanting to purchase new equipment or service bigger clients. Every business at one time or another will require urgent funding to sustain or grow their business.According to research, many small and medium-sized businesses are failing, certainly not due to lack of sales, but solely because they're unable to meet their short-term financial obligations. Considering the time, money, and personal investment that goes into the creation of every business, the failure of a business to thrive has become a heartbreaking reality for many people. Why would a profitable and growing business find itself in financial trouble? The answer is very simple. When just one or more of your larger accounts hold off on paying their accounts for perhaps an additional 60 or 90 days, you've now got a cash flow problem.
Running Out of Funding Options?
When experiencing cash flow problems, business people typically depend on conventional lending sources for a corporate line-of-credit, and many find themselves applying for short-term bridging finance. And how many business owners admit to using their personal credit card to pay for business-related expenses? However, there are times when traditional methods of funding are no longer available, leaving the acquisition of extended financing a frustrating and sometimes impossible task.
Fortunately, there's a viable alternative today, one which has been around for a long time but one that many businesses are not fully aware of. There's now a way for businesses to avoid cash flow problems and continue growing their business from strength to strength, even during difficult times. Factoring, also known as Accounts Receivable Financing, Asset Based Lending (and various other terms) is an alternative form of financing, designed to help businesses through periods of expansion and business growth. Factoring has quickly become a very practical and workable financial solution for many businesses, and more and more we're seeing businesses from different industries look towards factoring to resolve their cash flow problems.
How Does Freight Factoring Work for Trucking Companies?
Basically, a business with creditworthy accounts receivables can use factoring to receive an immediate injection of cash on those receivables. Factoring companies will typically say yes when a bank says no, thus providing a business with a much-needed cash injection. The process of factoring is actually quite simple. Your trucking company needs cash, and because you have quality accounts receivables your chosen factoring company will purchase any number of those receivables and immediately provide you with cash - anywhere up to 90% of the value of your invoices. Once your customer has paid the factoring company the total amount of your invoice, the remaining balance will be forwarded to you - less the agreed-upon fees.
A good factoring company will respond quickly to its trucking company clients and provide them with personalized and professional attention. With freight bill factoring, a trucking company will always have its cash needs satisfied with cash flow. It may be true that, when compared to other means of lending, factoring is more expensive, but borrowers report that the benefits they receive far outweigh the cost.
Freight Bill Factoring Is Not A Loan
Perhaps the greatest advantage of invoice factoring is the fast turnaround time because, unlike banks, there's no loan approval process with factoring. This means that business owners of trucking companies can receive cash in-hand on the same working day! In order to be approved for freight factoring a trucking company must have creditworthy customers and have a good reputation; however, once approved for freight factoring the process of receiving funding is quite automatic. Cash advances will be made on the same day, and it's important to note here that future financing is only limited by the value and number of receivables involved.
Freight Bill Factoring Is Very Popular with Trucking Companies
In the last decade many trucking companies have taking advantage of freight factoring, mostly because it's a great alternative to bank financing. In fact, freight factoring is often recommended by trucking companies financial advisers or accountants. We know of many cases where freight bill factoring is solely responsible for trucking companies being able to accept and process orders from customers that otherwise would have declined due to a lack of financing. Freight bill factoring has saved many companies from severe financial crisis, and even bankruptcy.
It's now very clear that freight bill factoring is playing a very important role in today's business environment. This type of financing allows trucking companies to increase loads, expand their customer base, and even survive a seasonal slump. The truth is that freight bill factoring works, and it works well!
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Factoring Companies - Benefits
Factoring companies offer a wide variety of benefits to businesses. Factoring companies conduct financial business by allowing a business to sell its invoices to a factor (also known as a third party business or individual.) The price that the business charges is discounted in order to sell the invoices that are currently held, and make the cash that is immediately needed for any type of expenditures involving the business. A business that has immediate cash needs, but has no cash to pay for the expenditures that has occurred often ends up going under and eventually shutting down completely. This takes a lot of jobs away from people, and can leave you working for someone else, no longer running for your business. No one wants to take this large step down from the current place that they are in. A business owner has worked incredibly hard to get to where he or she currently is, and does not deserve to have their business become obsolete. This is where the factoring companies can be a huge help to businesses.
Keep in mind that factoring companies do not use the same process as invoice discounting. Instead, invoice factoring (also called the "Assignment of Accounts Receivable" by the FASB and GAAP) is the sale of invoices, instead of invoice discounting which involves collateral in order to ensure that the individual who took out the invoice discounting loan will pay it back. Factoring is not a loan; instead, factoring is the sale of invoices in order to get immediate cash. There is no loan in the process of factoring, and you will never have to pay the money back.
Since the invoices that are sold are also called receivables, the entire process of factoring is usually called the sale of receivables. Receivable factoring is much better than trying to take a loan out from the bank. Banks charge interest on any type of loan, and although there is usually collateral, it can put you in even more debt than you currently are. In addition, factoring companies are never going to give you a loan. When a factoring company funds your discounted receivable, he or she will choose to buy the receivable, giving you cash immediately. This cash can pull your entire business out of the hole that it is currently in. Instead of taking a loan out and getting yourself further into debt, factoring allows you to simply sell your own invoices and get back most of the money that you originally put into them. Although this may seem like a bad process since you are selling valuable invoices, it is important to do, as the invoices are completely useless if your entire business goes under. Instead of trying to take a loan out to keep all of your receivables (invoices) factoring companies benefit you directly by giving you the cash you need.
Benefits of Factoring Companies / Invoice Factoring / Receivable Factoring
When you are in a bind and really need money in order to get through the next few months, it can be very troublesome. Although the first thought in most peoples' minds would be to visit the nearest bank as soon as possible and take out some kind of loan, this is very dangerous. Although the loan may hold your business over for the next few months, it is simply delaying the same money crunch you already had. Unless your business is making an incredible amount of money, the bank loan that you took out has increased in the price that you must pay bank. Interest on a bank loan is how the banks make money and survive. Many loans have a very high interest rate, and if you are unable to pay the loan back in a short amount of time, you are going to be in more of a money crunch than you originally were in. In order to pay back the loan, you would have to make a large amount of money in a very short time, which is unlikely if you needed to take out the loan in the first place.
Rather than bothering with bank loans that will inevitably put you back in the money hole that you were in when you took it out, factoring companies are available to help you. A factoring company is a place where businesses can place their invoices for sale at a discounted price, which will allow them to receive immediate cash. As aforementioned, this money does not need to be paid back, as it is not a loan. Keep in mind, you are not selling your business. You are selling invoices in order to keep your business growing. You will be able to get more invoices in the future when your business is back up and running, but if you do not sell these invoices, you will never be back up and running.
When you are in a money crunch, don't put yourself back in the money hole that you are in by taking out a bank loan. Utilize factoring companies in order to get immediate cash that will help you get back up and running without putting a loan on your business.
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"How a Factoring Company Saved This Owner of a Trucking Company Business"
Transportation industry plays a vital role in the economic scene. As people's lives become more and more sophisticated as time goes by, making the most out of the limited resources is the concern of all. Say for example the proper use of land to get optimum profit and convenience or what is known as the zoning. It is defined as the process of planning for land use to allocate certain kinds of structures in certain areas. This method separates the manufacturing sites from the sources of its raw materials, the employees and employers to their respective offices. This made the transportation industry play a vital role in the economic scene. It is a primary necessity for businesses of any size and of any type. It does not just transport raw materials to the manufacturers but also bring finished products into our every door.
Investing in a business which plays a vital role in the current economic scene is a thing that every investor should not think twice about. But business does not work that easy. The big question is, how you are going to survive the most challenging phase of establishing a business - the start. Starting a business requires a capital. If you now have enough money for capital, you can now start your business and since you are investing in a very promising type of business, finding customers is not a problem. The problem is, what if you found bad ones. Even if your customers are also managing a business and expecting cashflow, which does not guarantee that they would pay you up to date because some businesses are just ill-managed. For the business to survive, the most important thing that you would be doing is funding your operational cost - make payrolls, fuel, maintenance - it should rely on cashflow, but since things like mentioned above is very common, some business owners would resort for a loan. But that does not solve the problem of getting your receivables paid on time. As a business owner, you cannot afford the time it takes to collect the receivables, while trying to make your business grow.
Mr. Paul, an owner of a small trucking company experienced the same kinds of problems and shared how he managed to survive. "I just released my head from the stress of how am I going to get my receivables, and focused on making the business grow"¦"
Mr. Paul just got his retirement fee from a big trucking company for almost forty years and was thinking on how to double his money in the shortest time possible. Seeing a small trucking company as a business of great potential and is a business that he knows. When he was still driving a truck, he was fascinated by how much money the company is making. He has also never experienced a delay in his salary. When he decided to invest his retirement fee in establishing a small trucking company, everything was just according to what he expected. He started with a single truck from his home. He started with just a few clients, the ones he knew already and never missed one deadline and kept freight damage as minimal as possible. Because of his outstanding services he started to get referrals and had more work than he can handle. From then, he started to expand, bought more trucks, hired more personnel. Using the knowledge he acquired from the company that he had served for a very long time, and dedication to his work, his little business grew in a rate that he had never imagined. The business is now requiring a more strategic plan and when Mr. Paul thought that everything was going very well, he encountered problems that he failed to foresee.
He had customers that made him wait for weeks or even months before paying. Since his little business is rapidly growing, his operational cost is also growing . This is a problem that he never knew and never observed in his entire career as a driver of a trucking company since he was never in an administration role. He was at the verge of breaking down, his business is losing money, growing too fast, not big enough has to rely cashflow to keep up to his fast growing business. He had to make his payroll, pay his suppliers, maintenance and fill his orders. Mr. Paul thought of going to bank and apply for a loan but was denied. "Maybe because I had a bad personal credit...haha"
Mr. Paul thought of declaring bankruptcy because of the stress that he never imagined he will be handling. He had to think of how to manage his business and at the same time, how will he keep the business alive by thinking of a solution on how is he going to deal with his receivables.
"You know that time, I, I, I just don't know what to do... I felt that as the business kept growing and growing, I become more and more incompetent. Then suddenly, a hero came along... Just at the nick of time. "
Then a close friend of his introduced him to a factoring company and everything turned out just fine. So what is this factoring company then? What does it do? How did it save Mr. Paul's business?
Well, this is how it works, Mr. Paul sells his invoices or receivables to a factoring company at a discount and not in an amount where he can no longer make a profit. The factoring company will then be the one collecting the invoices of Mr. Paul's business from his customers. Say for example, Paul still has 100 dollars to collect from one of his customers. He then sells it to the factoring company at a lesser price, say 90 dollars. The factoring company will now be the one who is going to get the 100 dollars collectible from Paul's customer.
The factoring company immediately gave Mr. Paul the cashflow he needed. He now has instant customer credit checks. He can rest well and likes doing business with companies that pay their bills on time. Save him from the stress of thinking how to deal with his collectibles, thus saving time and money. He can now focus on growing his business and keeping his customers happy. Increase his sales and cashflow.
The Factoring Company not just saved Mr. Paul's start-up business but made it a big company now. It has helped Mr. Paul's business, why don't you let it help yours?
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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 easy 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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Benefits Of A Factoring Company Over A Traditional Bank Loan
Anyone who owns a business knows that there are times when the money goes out of your business much faster than it is coming in. This can put a company in a financial bind, making it difficult to purchase raw materials, pay their employees, or even keep the utilities on. The simple truth is that every company needs to have ready cash in order to keep their business running on an even keel and in order for it to grow. There are a number of different ways that a company can get the money they need to keep their business running and moving forward, but not all of these ways offer businesses the same freedom and benefits. This article will talk about two popular, but different types of financing available to business. The Traditional bank loan, and getting your financing through a factoring company.
Bank loans are an extremely traditional way for a business to get financing. While these loans are handy they are not available to every business. For example, a fairly newly established business simply may not have the assets to readily get a loan from a bank, even if they do, the standard collateral for a business loan is the business itself, which means that if you cannot make your loan payment, you risk losing your entire business. In addition, while you apply for a certain loan amount, that is all the financing you are entitled to. Once the loan is paid off, you can then apply for another loan if the need arises.
Factoring companies do not give loans, and the money you get from the factoring company does not put you in debt. Rather the financing you receive from a factoring company is based on money your business has all ready earned, but have not yet received. Factoring companies actually purchase your account's receivable or at least part of them for a percentage of their total worth, Normally around 80%-95%. The amount of money you can receive is based on the amount of money you have earned and the accounts receivable you are willing to "sell." Once you have set up factoring account it continues as long as you wish it too and the amount of money available to you even can grow as your business grows, giving you the ready cash you need to meet your own obligations.
Benefits of a Factoring Company Vs. A Bank Loan
While not every business can take advantage of factoring account financing (you have to have a business that has account receivables) for those that can use this type of financing there are several distinct benefits.
1. You Won't Incur Debt.
Since the factoring company actually buys your accounts receivable you don't actually incur debt like you do with a bank loan. This has many benefits including the fact, that this type of financing won't affect either your business credit rating or your personal credit rating. Should the unforeseeable happen and your business fails, you won't have to worry about anyone coming after your personal as well as your business assets to pay off a loan. With a bank loan, the debt goes onto your credit report, and even one late payment can adversely affect your businesses credit, and even the ability to get insurance and may even reflect upon your personal credit rating.
2. No Collateral Required.
Another benefit of using a factoring company instead of a traditional loan is that you aren't required to provide collateral to the factoring company in order to secure financing, because the company "buys" the accounts receivables; not loans you money based on them. In addition, while the factoring company does run a credit check on your customers whose accounts receivables are offered for financing, the state of your credit is not an issue. This makes it easier for fledgling businesses to get the financing they need through a factoring company (as long as their accounts receivables are in good order) then from a bank, who may not feel that you have been in business long enough to be worth the risk of issuing you a loan.
3. Receive Your Money Faster.
With a Factoring company you can actually get the money you need faster. Once the Factoring company assures itself that the customers in your accounts receivable are likely to pay their debt, the money is usually in the account within 24 hours. With a bank, there are vasts amounts of paperwork, then the loan has to be underwritten, which can take months before you actually see the loan if it is approved.
4. Interest is Paid Up Front.
Unlike a bank loan that continues to build interest that you have to pay the entire time you have your business loan with a factoring company, you don't have to continue to pay interest as they take it right off the top, deducting it from the total amount of accounts receivable. So not only are you relieved of those monthly loan payments, but you also don't have to worry about the building up of interest, as every penny in the account is yours to spend on the business.
As you can see, there are several benefits that makes considering financing through a factoring company over a traditional bank worthwhile. However, there are also a couple of other benefits that a factory company can offer your business is far beyond the scope of the bank. The most important benefits is that once you sell your accounts receivable to the factory company, you don't have to take time away from running your business to collect the money owed from reluctant to pay customers. The factoring company takes over that chore, since it is now their money to collect. Factoring companies are very good at collecting these debts, saving you the time and effort that you need to devote to your growing company.
In addition, since the factoring company evaluates the credit quality of your customers prior to purchasing the accounts receivable you gain valuable information into which customers are likely to pay and which ones are not so likely to pay.
While a Factoring company is not the only way for your business to obtain the money it needs to keep growing, it does offer a type of financing well worth considering.
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Questions You Need to Ask Your Factoring Company
In today's marketplace we're seeing more and more factoring companies, and factoring fees, rates and agreement terms have become very competitive. This means that, as a potential factoring customer, this competitiveness should work to your advantage. However, there are some issues you must consider when choosing a factoring company to suit your specific requirements.
Before entering into any factoring agreement, here are some important questions you should ask -
What Are Your Terms?
As a factoring customer, you'll be looking for as much flexibility in your factoring agreement as possible. It may be that you choose a long term contract with your factoring company if it includes flexible rates or a price break. In today's competitive market, many factoring companies are agreeing to adjust their rates based on competitive offers from other factors or increased factoring volume.
The majority of factoring agreements are a one year contract, which appears to be industry standard, and this contract will renew automatically unless you provide the factoring company either 60 or 90 days notice.
What's Your Fee Structure?
The fee structure may vary depending on both the factoring company involved and your industry. Some factoring companies charge a flat fee, which is calculated as a percentage of the total value of the invoice. On the other hand, other factoring companies charge additional fees to cover costs associated with doing business, such as money transfers, software, and so on. Ensure that the factoring company you're considering working with is completely upfront and transparent with you about its terms and fees.
Are You Able to Offer Both Recourse and Non Recourse Factoring?
Recourse factoring is less expensive than non recourse factoring. With recourse factoring, you (being the client) are ultimately responsible if the factoring company is unable to collect on your customers' invoices. However, you're not necessarily required to pay the debt out of pocket if you have a recourse agreement and the customer defaults on payment. It may be that the factoring company will withhold a portion of future cash payments or payments held in reserve, with the money being placed in an escrow account until such time as the debt has been paid.
Non recourse factoring:
When you have a non recourse factoring agreement, the credit risk for the collection of customers' invoices lies with the factoring company.Therefore, we believe it's to your advantage to use a factoring company that offers both recourse and non recourse factoring, simply because you may find that some of your customers are more suitable for recourse factoring than others. In addition, you need a factoring company with a strong credit team because they can work with you to ensure you're dealing with good customers: to a certain degree this will relieve some of the pressure of being responsible for bad debt.
How Long Has the Factoring Company Been in Business?
With the marketplace becoming increasingly competitive, today we're seeing the creation of more and more factoring companies. However, many of these companies are recent start ups, with limited industry experience. Make sure you research the factoring company's history prior to entering into any factoring agreement: also research its background into providing financial services in your specific industry.
Do You Have the Capital to Grow with Me?
The fact that there's no limit to the level of financing is the major advantage factoring has over traditional bank lending. As your company continues to grow, so too should the funding of invoices grow with you. Do your research and learn as much as possible about your potential factoring company's client base and their capital structure.
Does this factoring company have a limit to the number of debtors it takes on? What's a typical account size? What's the factoring volume of their largest client? You'll probably find that factoring companies who have been serving your industry for many years will have greater capacity to finance your company as it continues to grow.
Is There Anything Else You Can Do for Me?
Obviously, factoring is more expensive than a conventional bank loan, and this is partly due to the back office services that your factoring company is able to provide. Besides collections and financing, many factoring companies will evaluate companies in your industry and provide credit information. Therefore, when looking for a factoring company for your business, make sure the one you choose offers additional services and products that can assist you in making good business decisions.
How Do We Start Factoring?
Fortunately, factoring companies are not unduly concerned about your balance sheet before they decide to work with you, unlike banks. However, they do have a process to follow when selecting new clients, so be sure you understand what the factoring company is looking for when it's considering you as a client. Are they looking at your credit ratings and/or your customers' payment histories?
Are they looking at your personal credit score?
In many cases a company will start factoring because it's looking for a quick injection of cash, so you need to know how many days the factoring company will take to review and process your application.
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The Advantages of Trucking Factoring for Trucking Companies
Around the country, many owners of small trucking companies are running into the same problems when trying to expand their business. While the trucking business can be quite lucrative, it can take many weeks or even months to finally get paid on hauling invoices. This puts trucking companies in a real bind by having to play catch-up while trying to pay bills and salaries of their drivers.
We caught up with Jason Kind, an owner of a small trucking business that he created just a few years ago. Like many trucking owners, Jason was trying to expand his company to meet the needs of his clients, but was running into money issues that were holding him back. We asked him about his situation, the challenges he faced and how Trucking factoring played a real role in helping his company to expand without being burdened by paying back high interest loans.
Jason, it's good to have you with us.
Jason Kind: "Thanks, I appreciate being here."
Tell me a little about your trucking company and how it got started.
JK: "I had been driving trucks for years when in 2011 I decided to start my own trucking business. I went through the loan process, purchased a couple of trucks and got started. At first, it was really exciting because I had made a few connections as a driver and I picked up some early business. It seemed like everything was starting to snowball as I was getting requests from other businesses, but I was running into a cash problem."
It seems rather strange that being successful was causing you to be short on cash?
JK: "I know. You see in the trucking business we charge invoices which means that it could take weeks or even months before the cash would roll in. A typical invoice takes anywhere from 45 to 60 days before the payment comes through. Here I was getting offers from other businesses and I didn't have the cash on hand to buy trucks and hire drivers."
So, what did you do?
JK: I'll admit I was at my wit's end because I thought by the time I had the cash to expand that the interest would dry up first. I didn't want to take out another loan because I would just be putting off that debt until later and I had nothing to sell or any additional way to make more money. It was around that time when I heard from one of my friends in the trucking business about Trucking factoring."
What exactly is Trucking factoring?
JK: "Well, Trucking factoring is a way for trucking companies like mine to get paid quickly for the loads we are hauling. Instead of having to wait weeks or even months sometimes to get paid for hauling, Trucking factoring lets us get money right away for the work that we've done."
How does Trucking factoring work?
JK: "Well, there are companies out there who are willing to purchase the invoices that trucking companies like mine get when we perform a job. I managed to find a good, reputable company that actually purchases the invoices we get after performing a job along with other bills that we charge in our business. In return, they pay us cash that I not only use to cover my payroll, fuel costs and expenses, but I was able to put back enough money to purchase another truck a lot more quickly than if I had simply waited for the invoices to be paid."
It seems like you stumbled on a pretty good deal when it comes to Trucking factoring. Are there any other benefits that you've enjoyed by using this service?
JK: You bet, because the invoices act as the means to pay the company. It is not a loan where I have to pay back any money. The Trucking factoring company simply takes a very small percentage off each invoice or bill as their fee and I get the rest in cash right away. It's really worked out for me because not only was I able to get the cash needed to expand my business I was able to pay off my original loan a lot more quickly as well.
In fact, I was able to leap onto new business offers more quickly because the Trucking factoring allowed me to start purchasing new trucks and hire drivers months before I could even consider doing that simply waiting on the invoices.
This Trucking factoring sounds almost too good to be true, surely there must be a catch somewhere?
JK: I'll admit, I was a little skeptical at first, but it's all pretty easy. The Trucking factoring company I use didn't even charge me a sign up fee nor did they sign me to any long term contract. I just took a few minutes with them to set everything up and when I turn in an invoice, they pay me cash right on the spot.
You said you didn't have to sign any long term contracts. Are there a minimum number of invoices or amounts that you have to turn in each month?
JK: Actually, no. When I first started with them I was turning in practically all of my invoices so I could generate some cash up front. Now, when I need some cash to pay off bills or make quick purchases, I go to the company with my invoices. Some months I've turned in quite a few invoices, other months not so much.
It really sounds like you found a great deal in Trucking factoring?
JK: You bet. I have even used their fuel advances and discount cards to help me save money which really helped out in the first year of my business. I've had other trucking owners call me up and ask me how I was able to expand my company as fast as I did. I tell them all the same thing, if you have invoices, then Trucking factoring is the way to get fast cash without having to take out loans or put yourself in a deeper hole.
Jason's business continues to grow and Trucking factoring was a big reason why he was able to expand so rapidly. If your trucking business is short of needed cash with invoices that have yet to be paid, then you should consider Trucking factoring as a way to put money into your hands right away.
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How Factoring Saved A Staffing Agency
The Bellosa Temporary & Permanent Hiring Agency has been experiencing a major uptick in business since the unemployment crisis began. The unemployed and underemployed workers have been keeping the phones ringing. The staffing agency is also fielding a lot of calls from employers too, looking for just the right hire. Company President and Vice President, Laurie Bell and Ted Stevens, have not experienced a boom in business since they first opened the doors in 2009, during the recession. They had an idea then that this would be a profitable venture.
The mantra that Laurie and Ted live by is that there "s always going to be people searching for work and of course employers will always be on the lookout for good workers. This is especially true in healthcare staffing, the industry they specialize in. This seemed to be a safe bet for them as they embarked on this venture, but with any small business, the only way to keep the doors open is to keep pressing forward and out perform the competition.
In a relatively short period of time Laurie and Ted had built a nice sized business, they were able to hit the ground running with some brilliant marketing programs and a number of contracts from insiders. They grew rapidly, the timing couldn "t have been better and they were very lucky in this aspect. By the fall of 2011 Laurie and Ted had weathered some ups and downs but they did have some solid clients like a few big insurance companies and a university hospital close by. These clients always paid their invoices on time. But they did start to notice a decrease in accounts receivables from some smaller clients such as rehab centers and private practices.
As winter approached they recalled previous winters and holiday seasons and realized that accounts receivables usually did slow down during this time. Laurie and Ted made the decision to delay their late payments until after the New Year. This plan didn "t really appeal to them as it "s no way to start a New Year, but they seemed to have no other options.
When New Year "s had come and gone they realized that their Accounts Receivables had gone from 30 days past due to 60 days past due. Before meeting with their accountant Scott, they "d decided something had to be done, but they didn "t know what.
Sitting in the conference room with Scott they listened as pulled all the figures up on his iPad saying,â€œOkay you two, I "ve been looking over the files you sent over and I can certainly see why you "re worried about your late A/Rs but there may be a way to fix this. Do either of you know what factoring is?â€ Scott inquired.
Laurie and Ted looked at each other quizzically, and then Laurie said â€œI think it rings a bell, but I "m not really sure. Can you explain it?â€
Scott began laying out the details, â€œYou are sitting on a pile of invoices that are past due. The more time that goes by without them being paid, the bigger the bind this puts your business in. It makes it very difficult for you to grow, much less hire anyone new. If you don "t have enough cash coming in . â€
Ted interrupted with, â€œThen it could make it difficult to take on any new business because we wouldn "t be able to hire the additional personnel we need and meet our weekly payroll. We need an inflow of cash and we really can "t wait. If we have to wait any longer on these invoices we "ll be in trouble.â€
Scott jumped in saying, â€œAnd this is precisely why I wanted to discuss factoring with you. The factoring company will purchase the invoices you are sitting on that are up to 3 months late, which gives you the cash you need now.â€ He then showed him a chart on a piece of paper he placed in front of them.
Laurie began to carefully scrutinize it asking, â€œIs this the fee schedule?â€
Scott answered, â€œYes it "s all right there. The factoring company makes 1% to 3% of the total amount of each invoice they purchase.â€
â€œThat "s sounds like a good deal to meâ€, Ted said.
The three of them sat there and talked this over for a while and then Laurie and Ted made the decision to go forward realizing this was the best way to keep them afloat. They knew if they couldn "t accommodate all the new clients they were acquiring the competition would get them and they would go down, they could just not afford to turn any business away.
They now needed to fill out an application and submit it to the factoring company and they also needed to show them a few back invoices, undergo a credit check for their company. Credit checks would also need to be done on the companies owing the debts that the factoring company would be purchasing.
It didn "t take long for Bellosa "s credit to be approved and the creditors " as well. Before long the factoring company purchased the overdue invoices and Laurie and Ted got the influx of cash they needed to cover things and allow them to continue growing their business.
The next time Laurie and Ted met with their accountant Scott, there were smiles all around.Scott said, â€œI "ve taken a look at your books so I know that factoring was the right solution for you.â€
â€œIt worked perfectlyâ€, Laurie stated and went on to say, â€œThe tiny amount we paid out for this influx of cash was certainly worth it.â€
Ted chimed in with, â€œWithout a doubt! Whatever the fees were we made back and more since we were now able to hire more personnel so we could take on more business. It worked out for us and for them I would say!â€
â€œThat "s what "s great about factoring!â€ Scott exclaimed with a look of satisfaction on his face.
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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.
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