About Invoice Factoring and How to Choose the Best Invoice Factoring Company for Your Business
Most people have heard of invoice factoring, but knowing exactly how it works and how to choose the right factoring company for your business can be difficult to ascertain. We've put together this brief guide to help you understand invoice factoring and to provide you with enough information to help you make the right choice for your business.Most business-to-business (B2B)companies find it very frustrating when forced to wait for customers to pay their accounts. When payment terms are over-extended, businesses of all sizes can find themselves dealing with cash flow problems. For some customers it's industry standard to offer long payment terms, but there are other customers who demand longer payment terms simply because they can. This is where invoice factoring steps in to assist businesses.
So, how does invoice factoring work? Invoice factoring is a method of keeping a business's cash flow steady without the business being forced to take on debt or sell equity.
In this article we'll look at how the factoring process works, the benefits it offers to businesses, and we'll also determine which businesses qualify for factoring.
Explaining Invoice FactoringInvoice factoring is when Accounts Receivable are purchased at a discount price. Today, invoice factoring is one of the most popular financing methods, helping thousands of businesses grow and expand. In fact, you may be interested to know that the history of the United States began with invoice factoring! Apparently, the Pilgrims used invoice factors in London to finance their voyage to Plymouth on the Mayflower. And once colonies had been established, invoice factoring remained a popular financing method among New World traders and merchants. So, as you can see, business owners have been using invoice factoring for thousands of years. Today, Invoice factoring is still considered the safest way of obtaining the funds a business needs to grow and expand.
Basically, invoice factoring converts a business's current unpaid invoices into immediate cash; solving cash flow problems caused by net payment terms of 30, 60, and even 90 days. Without reliable cash flow a business will fail to thrive because inevitably it will fall behind on rent or payroll and miss out on great opportunities to expand the business. Invoice factoring allows management to concentrate on growth by eliminating the frustrations of unpaid accounts.
The process of invoice financing is the selling of Accounts Receivable to a reputable factoring company. Invoices, which could well be outstanding for up to 4 months, are purchased by the factoring company for up to 98% of their face value.
The three participants involved in a factoring transaction include -
-The business who issues the invoice;
-The customer, or account debtor, who owes payment on the invoice; and
-The financing company, or factor, who purchases the invoice and provides immediate cash.
I've Heard Invoice Factoring Called Other Things - What Is the Proper Terminology?
It's true, the term Invoice Factoring is used interchangeably with other terms like AR Factoring, Accounts Receivable Financing, Receivables Financing, Invoice Financing, AR Financing, and Receivables Factoring; so just keep in mind that all these terms refer to the same type of funding.
How Invoice Factoring Works
Once a customer receives a product or service from a business, they receive an invoice. With invoice factoring, the business can now “sell” this invoice to their chosen factoring company. In return, the business will receive a cash advance, somewhere between 70% and 90% of the value of the invoice. Now that the business has cash in-hand they're free to cover payroll and rent, take on new work, buy new equipment, invest in new technology, and even be on the receiving end of early-pay discounts from suppliers. Once the invoice has been paid to the factoring company the business will receive the remainder of the funds, less the agreed-upon factoring fee, which is typically based on the value and term of the invoice.
Invoice factoring results in a win-win-win situation for all three parties: the business concerned receives immediate cash on the invoice submitted, the customer enjoys favorable payment terms, and the invoice factoring company earns their fee.
Comparing Invoice Factoring with Traditional Bank Financing
The difference between invoice factoring and bank financing is that invoice factoring is not a debt, and it's this fact most businesses find appealing. As a business, you sell your Accounts Receivable to the factor and you receive a cash advance – that's all there is to it. It's up to you what you do with the funds because no debt means no restrictions.
An added benefit of invoice factoring is that it's the credit quality of the business's customers that are evaluated, which suits not-yet profitable or early-stage businesses selling to the government or established companies, yet still trying to establish themselves. The factoring rate businesses pay factoring companies is much more attractive than alternative financing arrangements that don't take into account the credit worthiness of a business's customers.
Other benefits of invoice factoring include a quick and simple application process, a higher approval rate when compared with banks and other forms of financing, and a quicker time to funding. When it comes to the size of funding, factoring companies are very comparable with banks in-so-much-as they can fund up to $10 million credit lines. The streamlined approach to invoice factoring provides businesses with much needed cash in-hand so the business can grow and prosper, meet all its financial obligations in a timely manner, still have cash to invest in up-to-date equipment, source new and bigger clients, and receive discounts for bulk buys or early payment.
Applying for Invoice Factoring is a Relatively Simple Process
Most businesses are familiar with the stress of applying for a bank loan, but applying for invoice factoring is a very simple process: it takes less paperwork and certainly much less time, and is not as stressful as trying to raise equity. Invoice factoring involves a very simple application process, eliminating the stress and unnecessary hurdles placed on small businesses trying to access finance.
Because invoice factoring provides quick access to funding, businesses find themselves in a position to take advantage of great opportunities, like expansion and accepting large orders. For many businesses who have been denied access to bank finance, being accepted for invoice factoring allows the business to continue growing and expanding. Once you've been accepted for invoice factoring, the factoring company is basically underwriting your customers to the same extent that they're underwriting your business. Of course, another bonus is that funds received from factoring your invoices can increase your available bank credit.
As your chosen factoring company, we're here to help collect on your receivables, but only if you ask us to. Following your direction, our account managers will politely but firmly chase up outstanding invoices. If your decision is that you prefer we don't speak with your customers under any circumstances, we accept that too. Invoice payments are directed to a specific account created under your company's name.
How Much Cash Will I Receive Immediately?
The amount of cash you'll receive immediately is an agreed-upon percentage of the face value of your invoices. Industry advance rates typically vary from between 70% and 90% of the face value of an invoice, which means that if you're owed $10,000, depending on the agreed-upon advance rate, you can expect to receive an immediate payment of between $7,000 and $9,000.
The remaining amount of between $1,000 and $3,000, less the factoring company's fee, will be forwarded to you once your customer has paid their invoice.
How Much Do Invoice Factoring Companies Charge?
Depending on the face value of the invoice, factoring fees typically range from between 1% and 5% per month; however, our own factoring fees range from between 1% and 3% per month. Transparency is vitally important when considering factoring fees, and businesses should be aware that invoice factoring companies who make it difficult to determine their all-inclusive fees are companies to be avoided at all cost. This lack of transparency is designed to confuse customers and they use this confusion to their advantage.
If you're unsure about the information you've received on invoice factoring you must proceed very cautiously, or alternatively, try a different factoring company. The information you receive must be clear and concise, leaving no room for doubt or confusion on your part. Another aspect of invoice factoring that you should be aware of is that there are invoice factoring companies out there who advertise rates of 1% (and even lower)which may sound very attractive; however, they make up for these low fees with a range of hidden charges.
One sneaky way these companies attract customers is to charge a low monthly factoring fee, but you'll be charged for two months if the invoice should go over by just one day.We charge invoice factoring fees on a daily basis, which means that however many days outstanding the invoice may be, this number of days will be used to calculate the fee chargeable. By this we mean that you won't be charged an extra month of fees simply because your invoice was outstanding for 31 days instead of 30.
Please Explain How Invoice Factoring Can Help Grow My Business
Today, businesses are choosing invoice factoring over merchant cash advances or bank term loans simply because it's the lowest risk option there is. The fact is, the sale has been completed and the invoice confirmed, so the only thing remaining is for the customer to pay the invoice. Provided you have confidence that your customer will pay your invoice in a timely manner there's nothing to worry about. However, with a bank loan, monthly interest payments can devastate small businesses, start-ups, and even large businesses. And, with bank loans, they either amortize or the total amount is due at the end of a specific period. This kind of debt stress can be devastating for business owners, who are often placed in the position of deciding whether to make bank interest payments, pay rent, or make payroll.
With invoice factoring, because you receive cash in-hand for your invoices, there's no stress, and you're free to grow your business in whatever way you see fit. For many businesses the only negative has always been waiting to receive payment on invoices, so now there'll be no more waiting and you'll have cash in-hand to meet your own financial obligations.
What Kind of Businesses Qualify for Invoice Factoring
Fortunately, it's actually quite easy to apply for and be approved for invoice factoring. With banks and other lenders, profitability, annual revenue, and credit scores can be obstacles to being approved for finance, but these factors typically don't apply with invoice factoring companies.
There are three things that invoice factoring companies are usually looking for -
-The business must have government or other business customers;
-Business invoices must be unpledged to other loans and be due and payable within 90 days. This means that you can't have another loan where you're claiming the same invoice as collateral; however, if you do have another loan it must be subordinated (rank after)the invoice factoring company's claim to your accounts receivable;-There should be no history of serious legal or tax issues connected to your business. Note that some factoring companies use a “time in business” or minimum credit score to approve or deny applications; however, we do not.
How Can I Choose the Right Invoice Factoring Company for My Business?
You've made the decision that invoice factoring may be a good fit for your business, so what should you do next? There are so many invoice factoring companies out there to choose from, so how do you determine which one is the right fit for you? The answer to this question is – very carefully! You need to know exactly what you're looking for. To start with, you're looking for an invoice factoring company that offers more than just funding. There are many factors out there claiming to be the most technologically advanced, the fastest, and the easiest to use, but be cautious. You need to receive good customer service from your factor and be very wary of high fees. Some factoring companies are forced to charge higher fees in order to cover the losses they experience because they underwrite poor quality clients.
Excellent Customer Service is a Must!
It's very important that a good working relationship be established between the invoice factoring company and the business because, without it, businesses can be left confused as to why their credit facility has been reduced or why certain invoices have been rejected. Great customer service and a personal touch is vitally important when it comes to invoice factoring. If your questions are not being answered in an honest and open fashion, or your calls and emails are not being responded to in a timely manner, then find another factoring company.